A prominent Vatican cardinal recently defended President Joe Biden from contentions by conservative Catholics that he should be denied communion due to his support of abortion.
In an interview with AXIOS on HBO, Cardinal Peter Turkson, the head of the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, argued that the Eucharist should never be weaponized.
"If you say somebody cannot receive Communion, you are basically doing a judgment that you are in a state of sin,” he said.
When asked if that judgement of being in a “state of sin” applied to Biden, Turkson said “no.”
Turkson, who works closely with Pope Francis, said that a priest should only deny Communion in “extreme cases,” such as to a known murderer.
According to The Christian Post, Biden, the second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy, has drawn the ire of pro-life Catholics who have argued that he should not receive Communion because his pro-choice beliefs contradict the church’s teachings.
On a papal flight with journalists last month, Pope Francis weighed in on the issue of Communion by asserting that he has never denied the sacrament to anyone. He added that bishops and priests should remain pastoral and not political when it comes to the Eucharist.
"What should a shepherd do? Be a shepherd and not going around condemning or not condemning," the pope said. "They must be a shepherd with God's style. And God's style is closeness, compassion and tenderness."
Without commenting on the specific situation in the United States, Francis cited that whenever bishops in church history “did not act as shepherds,” it was a “problem.”
The pope also reiterated his opposition to abortion, saying that it is “homicide” and that scientifically speaking, an embryo is a “human life.”
In June of this year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had considered a draft document on the Eucharist, which led many to believe that they were going to bar pro-Catholic politicians from taking Communion.
In response, the USCCB later clarified that the document featured no such ban.
In July, however, a pro-choice Democratic New Mexico Senator claimed that his bishop denied him Communion because of his political office.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.