Biden goes to church a day after challenge from bishops on abortion

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WILMINGTON, United States, June 20, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – President Joe Biden
went to church Saturday in his hometown a day after US Roman Catholic bishops
issued a challenge to him over his support for abortion rights.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden spent time at St. Joseph on the Brandywine
church in Wilmington. They also visited the church graveyard where the
president’s first wife Neilia, son Beau and infant daughter Naomi are buried.

Biden, 78, is a devout Catholic who attends mass at least once a week, and
he supports the landmark 1973 US Supreme Court decision affirming a woman’s
right to an abortion.

On Friday US bishops agreed to draft a statement on the meaning of holy
communion which could potentially be used to deny that sacrament to the
American leader.

The eucharist, also known as holy communion, is among the most sacred
rituals in the Catholic Church and there have been calls from some
conservative church leaders to deny the sacrament to politicians who support
abortion rights.

Biden on Friday seemed to dismiss the possibility that he could be denied
communion.

“That’s a private matter and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he told
reporters.

It is up to each local bishop to decide who receives communion in their
diocese.

In 2019, a priest at a Catholic church in South Carolina refused holy
communion to Biden because of his stance on abortion.

The Catholic News Service reported in May that the Vatican had warned US
bishops to proceed cautiously with policies designed “to address the
situation of Catholics in public office who support legislation allowing
abortion, euthanasia or other moral evils.”