Rare moment of criticism; Washington DC Cardinal’s takes on President Biden

rare moment of criticism

Cardinal Wilton Gregory says US President, Joe Biden is not demonstrating Catholic teaching with his recent comments on abortion. Gregory’s comment is a rare moment of criticism by the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington DC.

Discussing a new Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks, Biden recently said he did not agree that life begins at conception.

“I respect those who believe life begins in the moment of conception — I respect that… (I) don’t agree, but I respect that,” Biden said.

Biden’s new comments on September 3 represent a departure from his previous statements on the matter and follow those made by Jen Psaki, Biden’s White House press secretary on September 2.

The New York Post reports Psaki snapped at a EWTN male reporter who asked: “Why does the president support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?”

The press secretary then said Biden believes “it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice”.

Reporter Owen Jensen followed up: “Who does he believe, then, should look out for the unborn child?”

“He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions, and up to a woman to make those decisions with her doctor,” Psaki shot back.

“I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. The president believes that right should be respected.”

As a presidential candidate, Biden said 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 the law would be “inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

“The Catholic Church teaches and has taught that life, human life, begins at conception,” Gregory said, according to the Washington Times.

“So the president is not demonstrating Catholic teaching.”

“Our Church has not changed its position on the morality of abortion. And I don’t see how we could, because we believe that every human life is sacred,” he later added.

While stating that the church teaches human life begins at conception, Gregory noted that he served as an auxiliary bishop with the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who emphasised the “consistent ethic of life, which says that life issues are linked.”

Gregory then also criticized the death penalty, saying: “We’ve discovered over time, it’s not always equally applied.

“The poor, people of colour, immigrants are more susceptible to having death penalty sentences handed down than the wealthy affluent who can afford the best legal defence available.”

In June, US Catholic bishops voted 168-55 for the drafting of a “teaching document” that many of them hope will rebuke Catholic politicians, including Biden, for receiving Communion despite their support for abortion rights.

Gregory did not hint at any ecclesiastical consequences for Biden on Wednesday.

Previously 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.”

In Biden’s 36 years in the Senate and eight years as Vice President to President Barack Obama, Biden has reversed himself a number of times on the issue of abortion.


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