I wasn’t going to belabor the Joe Biden issue beyond my previous post—and guest essay in Newsday—regarding the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) commissioning a document on the Eucharist amid the pro-abortion President’s very public Catholicism and reception of the sacraments.
But now the Biden administration is acting on the President’s campaign promise to do away with the Hyde Amendment—which, since 1976, has prohibited (with some exceptions) federal funding for abortions.
Our Catholic president intends to force American taxpayers to be involved in providing abortions by paying for them.
So I have a question for my fellow Catholics who have been publicly—in some cases harshly—criticizing the bishops for even considering whether support for the grave moral evil of abortion renders a Catholic politician unworthy to receive the body and blood of Christ. (And let’s be clear: “worthy” does not mean “sinless,” which would preclude us all. It means repentant — as opposed to obstinately persisting in grave sin.)
Are you equally offended by President Biden’s determination to force all of us—you, me, all our fellow Catholics and millions of pro-life Americans—to actually participate in the killing of unborn children through our tax dollars?
If it is wrong, in your view, for bishops to deny Communion to Mr. Biden—and again, whatever recommendations might come from a USCCB document, such denial may only come from his diocesan bishop, or the bishop of a diocese where he presents himself for Communion—is it not an even greater wrong for this Catholic to use his presidential authority to force his fellow Catholics to take part in this grave moral evil?
I wrote last week that a bishop’s denial of the Eucharist to a public figure is done for the purpose of saving souls—not only the soul of that public figure, but also the souls of others whom he or she might lead into grave sin. So what about a Catholic figure who doesn’t just lead others into committing a grave moral evil, he forces us into it?
This is even more scandalous given that Joe Biden, throughout his 36 years in the U.S. Senate and even as Vice President, always supported the Hyde Amendment. He even reiterated that support in the early stages of his 2019 presidential campaign—before immediately caving under an onslaught of pro-abortion criticism. He suddenly discovered that abortion is a “right” which cannot be “dependent on someone’s zip code” (by which he meant their income level).
There are two problems with this formulation: first, Biden’s presumption that just because there is a legal “right” to something, the government must fund it for those who cannot afford it.
While Joe Biden and many others may not like it, there is a right to gun ownership in America—a right that is actually in the Constitution, unlike the “right” to abortion. Does that mean the government should be buying a gun for every American who cannot afford one?
Second, Joe Biden’s current assertion of a “right” to abortion directly contradicts his having previously, and repeatedly, stated the exact opposite:
“I do not view abortion as a choice and a right,” he said in 2006, shortly before launching another of his presidential campaigns. But that long-held view changed in 2019, when he saw his last chance for the presidency being jeopardized by the pro-abortion extremists who have completely taken over the Democratic Party.
Critics of the bishops cite an individual’s right of conscience in making “moral decisions.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1782) Of course, the very next section of the Catechism requires a conscience to be informed by enlightened moral judgement. But let’s put aside for now whether Mr. Biden’s promotion of unrestricted abortion can possibly meet that requirement.
Let’s also leave aside whether Joe Biden’s sudden discovery, in the heat of a presidential campaign, of a “right” to taxpayer funded abortions that he never recognized before, is a matter of conscience or political expedience.
What of his violation of our right of conscience? The Catechism emphasizes that a person “must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience.” Yet President Biden wants to use the coercive powers of government to force all of us who are pro-life to act contrary to our consciences by facilitating abortions.
As I wrote last week, I will not lobby the bishops to withhold the Eucharist from anyone. That judgement is entrusted by God to them, not to me; and frankly, I have all I can do to try to prepare myself to worthily receive the body and blood of Jesus, without presuming to judge the worthiness of others.
But I will prayerfully support any bishop who, acting in his role as a shepherd of souls, determines that he must withhold the Eucharist from public figures who persist in promoting a grave moral evil, and leading—or forcing—others into that same evil.
That is what is at issue with pro-abortion Catholic President Joe Biden.