The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Press: In war among Catholics, Pope Francis sides with Biden

The American Roman Catholic Church has a lot going for it. In a 2020 Gallup poll, 25 percent of Americans self-identified as Catholic. It’s the second largest religious organization in the United States, after Protestantism — yet the largest single denomination, since Protestants are divided into many different sects. There are four times as many American Catholics as Southern Baptists; eight times the number of Methodists.

Not only that. Among its faithful, the Catholic Church today counts some of the most powerful public officials: Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaker of the House of Representatives; John Kerry, former Democratic candidate for president and current special presidential envoy for climate change; six members of the Supreme Court: Justices Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Chief Justice John Roberts; and, of course, Joe Biden, president of the United States.

Yet, sadly and inexplicably, rather than celebrate their most prominent Catholics, America’s Catholic bishops have declared war against them. For decades, bishops have threatened to deny communion to Democratic politicians like Mario Cuomo, Geraldine Ferraro, Pelosi, and Kerry because of their support of a woman’s right to have an abortion. Now they’re at it again — against Biden.

In June, American Bishops voted 168-55 to advance a plan that could limit Communion for politicians such as President Biden — even though, despite all the demands of the presidency, he still faithfully goes to Mass every Sunday and carries a rosary in his pocket. Biden’s the most faithful religious observant in the White House since Jimmy Carter.

How can the majority of Catholic bishops be so pig-headed and wrong? First, they’re attacking Catholic politicians for upholding the law of the United States, as confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1973. Second, they’re opposing two-thirds of American Catholics who, according to a poll by Pew Research Center, oppose withholding communion for pro-choice politicians. And third, they’re even defying the pope himself.

Before their meeting in June, the pope pleaded with American bishops to drop all efforts to politicize the sacraments. “Communion is not the reward of saints,” Pope Francis said in a statement, “but the bread of sinners.” But the bishops vowed to plow ahead anyway, scheduling a meeting later this month to adopt final anti-communion rules. Several conservative bishops even criticized the pope for agreeing to meet with Biden last week in Rome.

What’s most unfathomable is the bishops’ focus on abortion alone. The Catholic Church is also against the death penalty and nuclear weapons. But bishops have never threatened to deny communion to politicians who support those issues. Plus, the word “abortion” never appears in the Old or New Testament, even though the procedure, under some form, certainly existed at the time. The prohibition against abortion was not made part of Catholic Canon Law until 1869.

Why the focus on abortion over all other issues? Because the church is still ruled by celibate men with no understanding of or appreciation for the role of women — and thus still deny women the right to become priests, use contraception, or control their own bodies. The only woman they respect is Mary, the mother of Jesus, because she was a virgin.

But, in the end, the pope had the last word. During a warm and friendly, 90-minute audience with Biden, Pope Francis assured him that, in the eyes of the church, he was still a “good Catholic,” no matter what Catholic bishops say. Now maybe bishops can focus on a more serious danger: like a former president who still threatens to destroy our democracy.

 

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.” 

Tags Abortion Amy Coney Barrett Brett Kavanaugh Catholics Clarence Thomas communion conflict Jimmy Carter Joe Biden John Kerry Nancy Pelosi Pope Francis Samuel Alito Sonia Sotomayor

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

People – Image widget – Person – Main Area Top

File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

QAT WC-2613

People – Image – Person

In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

People - Video Bin - Person

The White House is pushing 'Bidenomics,' but what does it mean?

The White House is pushing 'Bidenomics,' but what ...
DC Bureau: AI Legal Immunity (raquel)
KXAN: special session
DC Bureau: Biden economic display (basil)
KTXL: ca budget folo
WHTM: good gov bills
More Videos

Main area middle

main area bottom custom html

MAIN Area bottom

People – Custom HTML – Person

MAIN AREA BOTTOM

People - Article Bin - 7 Headline List with Featured Image - Person

Main area bottom