Michael Sheridan, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, says pro-abortion Vice President Joe Biden shouldn’t receive communion form the Catholic Church — at least in his diocese.
Excerpts from a recent interview he provided to his hometown Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper follow:
Daniel Cole: In 2004, you made national headlines when you spoke out against Catholic politicians on the wrong side of four non-negotiables: abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia and same-sex marriage. You said that these politicians, and Catholics who vote for them, may not receive Communion until they have recanted and confessed. Is that still your position?
Bishop Sheridan: It’s clear to me that the Code of Canon Law, Canon 915, says that a Catholic politician who publicly espouses positions that are contrary, not just to any teachings of the Church, but to serious moral teachings, should not receive Holy Communion until they recant those positions publicly. Voters needs a little bit more nuance, because there the question is, are we voting for those politicians precisely because of their positions on those non-negotiable issues? Here is what I would say: It would be very difficult for me to understand how, if there are two candidates quite far apart in their positions on these matters, I could vote for the one who consistently opposes these Church teachings, simply because he might be in favor of a few good things.
DC: Would support for the contraceptives mandate also disqualify Catholic politicians from receiving Communion? Is that a new non-negotiable?
Sheridan: I think we do need to add to that list (of non-negotiables) religious liberty. Absolutely, yes. I think a Catholic politician who publicly and consistently defends the mandate, which causes people to violate their conscience — yes, I think that’s right up there with the rest of them.
DC: If Vice President Joe Biden, who is Catholic, were to swing through Colorado Springs on a campaign tour and attend your Mass, would you deny him Communion?
Sheridan: He should know, and I would do everything I could do to make sure that he knows, he ought not to be receiving Communion.
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On Friday, the nation’s Catholic bishops said Biden misrepresented the pro-abortion HHS mandate in Thursday night’s debate with Paul Ryan.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement responding to what it called an “inaccurate statement of fact on the HHS mandate” on Biden’s part. The full text of the statement the USCCB provided to LifeNews appears below:
Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.