Washington Cardinal will allow Biden Holy Communion

Cardinal-designate Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, says he wants to collaborate where possible with the Biden administration.

At the same time, he says he’ll also respectfully point out situations where President-elect Joe Biden’s policies diverge from Catholic teaching.

“I have always seen myself as someone who is charged with being in dialogue and in conversation, so I hope that my conversation with the new administration reflects that …,” he says.

Gregory says said he wants to work with the incoming U.S. administration to look for “where we can find things that we can do together for the betterment of the American community, for the people of the archdiocese in general.

I want to be one who engages people in conversation.”

One of the areas both Americans and the American Church are divided over is abortion.

In this respect, Joe Biden has drawn conservative Catholics’ ire.

Conservative Catholics are criticising his support of abortion rights.

But Biden says while he is personally opposed to abortion, he cannot impose his view on others.

This has led some U.S. conservative bishops to say Biden should be denied the sacrament of communion.

Biden’s position on abortion rights created a “difficult and complex situation,” says U.S. bishops’ conference head, José Horacio Gómez.

He has arranged for a working group to study its ramifications.

Gregory, however, says he would not prevent the new president, who goes to Mass every Sunday, from receiving communion in the archdiocese.

“The kind of relationship that I hope we will have is a conversational relationship where we can discover areas where we can cooperate that reflect the social teachings of the church, knowing full well that there are some areas where we won’t agree,” he says.

“They are areas where the church’s position is very clear,” particularly its opposition to the president-elect’s support for legal abortion.

Gregory said he planned to approach the President on areas of agreement and disagreement in a respectful way.

“He’s not going to be on speed dial, and I hope I’m not on his speed dial,” Gregory told Al Roker of the Today Show in February.

“But there will be moments when I will be able to speak to him about faith, about the works that he is trying to accomplish that we can be supportive of, but also areas where we’re not going to agree. But I’m going to always try to do it in a respectful way.”

America’s first African-American cardinal is no stranger to political controversy.

He clashed with President Donald Trump earlier this year, criticising the former president’s visit to a Washington shrine after protesters were cleared away with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The reason for the clearance? So Trump could be photographed in front of a historic Washington church holding a Bible.

In response, Gregory said he found it “baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated.”

In Gregory’s view, Catholic institutions – parishes, schools, hospitals, social justice and service activities, should be models reflecting gospel teachings.

Gregory hopes to use his new title to be a bridge builder between the African-American Catholic community and the worldwide Church. He says he will be “inviting all of us to engage in a more fruitful dialogue on racial and social justice issues.”


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