President Joe Biden attended church in his hometown on Saturday a day after Catholic bishops across the United States challenged him for his support for the right to abortion.
Biden and First Lady Jill Biden spent time at St. Joseph’s at Brandywine Church in Wilmington. They also visited the church cemetery where the president’s first wife, Neilia, son Beau and granddaughter Naomi are buried.
Biden, 78, is a devout Catholic who attends mass at least once a week, and he supports the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming a woman’s right to abortion.
The American bishops agreed to draft a statement on the meaning of Holy Communion on Friday that could potentially be used to deny this sacrament to the American leader.
The Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, is one of the most sacred rituals in the Catholic Church and some conservative religious leaders have called for denying the sacrament to politicians who support the right to abortion.
Biden on Friday appeared to rule out the possibility of being denied Communion.
“It’s a private matter and I don’t think it will happen,” he told reporters.
It is up to each local bishop to decide who receives Communion in his diocese.
In 2019, a priest at a Catholic church in South Carolina denied Holy Communion to Biden because of his stance on abortion.
The Catholic News Service reported in May that the Vatican had warned U.S. bishops to proceed cautiously with policies designed “to address the plight of Catholics in public office who support legislation allowing abortion, euthanasia or death. ‘other moral evils’.
dw / acb