Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas: It’s time for bishops to ban Joe Biden from Holy Communion in their dioceses in advance of his ever setting foot in their territory.
“My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right.” With that presidential response to the Texas heartbeat law, the “devout” and rosary-clutching Joe Biden finally tore away the fig-leaf he had been wearing for decades. Not long after, Nancy Pelosi, another self-proclaimed “Catholic,” echoed his remarks.
Even worse, the advocate of the perpetual mask unmasked himself, going so far as to say that pro-lifers are “un-American.” Like all the pseudo-devout “Catholic” hypocrites before him – the Cuomo Clan, Geraldine Ferrara, Ted Kennedy, etc. – Old Joe once used to beguile his audiences with the sophism that he accepted Church teaching that human life begins at conception and so was “personally opposed” to abortion but couldn’t impose that on the country. Now, he says he doesn’t believe even that – “respects” those who do, but is quite willing to impose the abomination of abortion even on states seeking to reject it.
A little clarity is in order.
First of all, the Church does not teach that human life begins at conception; science does. You can read it in any textbook of embryology. Having lectured us ad nauseam for a year about the need to “follow the science,” if Biden were sincere he should take his own advice. Because the Church takes science seriously, she teaches that life in the womb is to be held sacred and inviolable.
Second, those same pro-abortion politicians have never hesitated to say that their Catholic convictions impel them to oppose capital punishment – and to seek to abolish it.
For years now, the hierarchy has been embroiled in a debate regarding the application of canon 915, which holds that those “who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin” are not to be admitted to Holy Communion. No one can doubt that a public official who professes to be Catholic and yet promotes the abortion agenda is living in a state of “grave sin.”
Some bishops, however, have tried to duck controversy with a fig leaf of their own by suggesting that withholding the Holy Sacrament would cause an even more serious problem, “weaponizing the Eucharist,” as they put it. The real story, however, is that the manifestly unworthy politico is the one who is “weaponizing the Eucharist” by daring to approach the altar, thus ignoring Paul’s warning that those who “eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.” (1 Corinthians 11:29)
Not a few of those same bishops have strenuously opposed the advancement of a document of the episcopal conference on “Eucharistic consistency.” Let’s hope those hierarchs now recognize their foolishness.
To be specific, we should take a look at Biden’s actual situation. Since Biden lives at the White House, the Archbishop of Washington could invoke canon 915. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, however, clearly stated that he has no intention of doing so. And in response to Biden’s recent remarks, Gregory could only mutter that the president is “not demonstrating Catholic teaching.”
Biden’s domicile in the Diocese of Wilmington (Delaware) offers another possibility. The recently installed Bishop William Koenig had a staunch pro-life reputation in the Diocese of Rockville Centre (from whence he hails). When questioned about his attitude toward his most famous parishioner, Bishop Koenig averred: “I certainly pray for him every day.”
Pressed further, he said: “I would certainly be open to having a conversation in the future with him.”
Pressed even further, he declared: “As a bishop, I’m called to teach the fullness and the beauty of the Catholic faith.” It remains to be seen whether this Ordinary, unlike his predecessor, means business on this issue.
So, too, does Pious Joe’s pastor, Monsignor John Hopkins, at St. Joseph on the Brandywine. The parish bulletin regularly encourages parishioners to urge their Congressional representatives to preserve the Hyde Amendment. A brief – and strange – note emerged in the media after one presidential visit to St. Joseph’s: Biden emerged from the church after only 20 minutes.
Now, no matter how fast a priest speaks or how short his homily, no Sunday Mass with a Gloria and Credo can be completed in that time. Has Holy Joe already been told not to approach the altar and so leaves just before Communion? Such conjecture should be pursued for confirmation.
And another line of investigation worth pursuing: rather than attending a public Mass in the District: Is he importing one of his Jesuit friends to celebrate a private Mass at the White House and at Camp David?
Privately, some bishops (and not a few other clerics and many pro-lifers) are calling for Biden’s excommunication. Normally, this would fall to his proper Ordinary (in this case, the Bishop of Wilmington). However, the situation is complicated by the fact that Biden is a head of state, which means that only the pope could level that penalty. We know what that means.
So, where does that leave us? I would suggest that a procession of bishops engage in a preemptive strike: Ban Biden from Holy Communion in their dioceses in advance of his ever setting foot in their territory. This would be a largely symbolic action, but symbols are important.
When this firestorm over double-talking Catholic pols first surfaced, Cardinal Francis Arinze, the indomitable Nigerian and former prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, happened to be on a U.S. lecture tour. He was approached by a reporter and asked his opinion about the fracas.
He responded, “Why are you asking me?”
“Because you are the head of Catholic worship for the whole world.”
“No, don’t ask me. If you have a parish school, go the second-graders preparing for their First Holy Communion. Ask them if someone who wants to kill babies should receive Holy Communion. Ask them. They’ll tell you.”
Indeed, ask a second-grader.
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Father Peter Stravinskas holds doctorates in school administration and theology. He is the founding editor of The Catholic Response and publisher of Newman House Press. Most recently, he launched a graduate program in Catholic school administration through Pontifex University.
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