Biden wishes communion denial had not become media event

US Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden says a priest’s decision to deny him communion because of his views on abortion is “private matter”.

He says he wishes the priest (Robert Morey) hadn’t taken the issue to the press.

Biden, who is a life-long Catholic, says Morey’s move to inform the press is “not a position that I’ve found anywhere else, including from the Holy Father, who gives me communion”.

He said that he was “prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception,” but added that to impose that belief upon others through the application of law would be “inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

“There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that’s existed.

“Back in ‘Summa Theologia,’ when Thomas Aquinas wrote ‘Summa Theologia,’ he said there was no–it didn’t occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How can I tell you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view that is based on a matter of faith? And that’s the reason I haven’t,” Biden said.

When asked to give his views on the denial of communion, the archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, said he thinks there was most likely a better way to handle the issue than going to the press.

“If only saints could receive Holy Communion, we wouldn’t have anybody at Mass, including myself,” he said.

Dolan said he would have used a more personal approach rather than making a quick decision.

He also said he’s never denied someone from receiving communion, as it’s “never come up.”

Nonetheless, he thinks Morey had a good point in refusing the sacrament as abortion is a concern of “critical substance” within the church.

“We’re talking about life and death in the church. You personally, out of integrity should not approach Holy Communion, because that implies that you’re in union with all the church beliefs,” he added.

He said he admires people who hold back from receiving communion if they are not fully following the teachings of the church and Jesus.

However, he noted that the Eucharist is “medicine for the soul” and said all should feel welcome.

While the decision to offer communion is made by an individual priest, the choice to deny an official communion based on their public positions is controversial.

Pope Francis has confirmed the Church’s continued opposition to abortion but has also suggested that communion should not be withheld from practicing Catholics based on their specific beliefs.

“The Eucharist … is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,” he wrote in 2013


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