June 22, 2021
Sixty Catholic Democrats have penned a letter urging the Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States not to block President Joe Biden from receiving Communion because of his progressive abortion views, Newsweek magazine reports.
They base their case on two building blocks of American democracy:
- The first clause in the Bill of Rightsstates that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
- The “establishment clause” of the First Amendment of the Constitution—“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”—often is interpreted to require separation of church and state.
“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” the letter reads. “The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.”
Congressional Democrats continued, “No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings—including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants.”
The letter comes after the group of bishops overwhelmingly voted to draft a statement on the sacrament of the Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, on Friday, June 18.
The decision, aimed at the nation’s second Catholic president, was approved by a vote of 73% in favor and 24% opposed during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Biden, who has regularly attended Mass throughout his life, has embodied a liberal Christianity less focused on sexual politics and more on racial inequality, climate change, and poverty.
“To pursue a blanket denial of the Holy Eucharist to certain elected officials would indeed grieve the Holy Spirit and deny the evolution of that individual, a Christian person who is never perfect, but living in the struggle to get there,” the 60 Democrats wrote.
The list of signers include Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joaquin Castro, Marie Newman and Ted Lieu, among others.
Research contact: @Newsweek