San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy weighed in Wednesday on the intense debate about whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians like President Joe Biden should be allowed to receive Communion.
His answer was yes. McElroy argued that the Eucharist is being politicized and weaponized when it should be treated as a “bond of charity” in memory of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Catholic News Service reports.
“I do not see how depriving the president or other political leaders of Eucharist based on their public policy stance can be interpreted in our society as anything other than the weaponization of Eucharist and an effort not to convince people by argument and by dialogue and by reason, but, rather, to pummel them into submission on the issue,” the bishop wrote in an essay at America magazine.
McElroy criticized “a growing movement” in the church that is urging bishops to deny Communion to Biden and other pro-abortion politicians who profess to be Catholic.
“The Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare. This must not happen,” the bishop said.
Just four days earlier, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone published a pastoral letter making the opposite argument. He said denying Communion may be “the only recourse a pastor has left” if pro-abortion politicians refuse to listen to reason and obstinately persist in their sin.
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Cordileone’s letter received praise from Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and others. Naumann agreed that Catholic politicians who advocate for abortions are “creating scandal by encouraging others to do evil.”
U.S. Catholic leaders have been grappling with the issue for months, especially because Biden persists in calling himself a devout Catholic while aggressively advocating for the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
At their June meeting, the U.S. bishops are scheduled to vote on a document from their Committee on Doctrine “with the aim of clarifying the church’s stance” on pro-abortion politicians and Communion, the Associated Press reports.
McElroy believes this is wrong. He said the Eucharist is “a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity,” and denying it to “pro-choice political leaders” is an “assault on that unity.”
He said half of American Catholics will view the act as a “partisan” attack on Democratic public leaders.
“At a time when we are emerging from a pandemic and seeking to rebuild the Eucharistic community, it would be particularly wounding to embrace and emphasize a theology of unworthiness and exclusion rather than a theology that emphasizes Christ’s unrelenting invitation to all,” McElroy concluded.
But Cordileone and others have emphasized that denying Communion has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with morality and care for the person’s soul.
The issue should not be partisan at all and it did not used to be; but Democrat Party leaders now openly reject pro-lifers and only a very few pro-life Democrat politicians remain in office.
It also is not true that only Democrats would be excluded from Communion. Recently, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, a pro-abortion Republican, reportedly was denied Communion in the Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage, according to California Catholic Daily.
In Cordileone’s letter, he quoted Ezekiel 33:8 to emphasize that Catholic leaders have a duty to call out wickedness or else be held responsible along with those who persist in sinning.
“I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood,” Cordileone wrote.
Though Biden professes to be a devout Catholic, he openly defies church teachings about the sanctity of human life. After just 100 days in office, he already surpassed President Barack Obama as the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history by ending safety regulations that protect mothers and unborn babies from abortion and forcing taxpayers to fund the billion-dollar abortion industry.