How much do Catholic bishops in the United States care about unborn babies? Or, for that matter, infallible church teaching on the Eucharist? By the looks of it, not that much.
The Spring General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops came to a conclusion in June. Unsurprisingly, the group failed to issue a statement on the need for pro-abortion politicians to be denied Holy Communion.
Although such a denunciation was always a long shot, it would have been entirely in keeping with the Church’s Code of Canon Law (and a clear sign as any that they take to heart 1 Corinthians 11:29, which states that those who unworthily receive Communion “drink judgment on themselves”).
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind. has remarked that the document the bishops plan to release later this year will “present a clear understanding of why the Church has these laws.”
Ho-hum! This is nothing more than kicking the can down the road. Even if the document does end up being stronger than the typically mealy-mouthed statements bishops are known for these days, it won’t be anything more than a paper tiger. Joe Biden’s bishop, Washington D.C.’s Wilton Gregory, has already said he won’t refuse him Communion. Others have hinted that they won’t either.
The entire situation should infuriate faithful Catholics, and not necessarily because of the politics involved, but because the bishops don’t seem to understand the theological implications of their actions.
In his book "The Blessed Eucharist," 19th century German priest Fr. Michael Mueller explains that when a soul in a state of sin receives Holy Communion, it’s comparable to dragging Christ “as a prisoner” into a “horrid and filthy dungeon.”
“Can anything be conceived more horrible than this?” he asks. “Would it not be far better that the Sacred Host should be thrown upon a dunghill, that it should be devoured by an unclean beast than that it should be received into a heart defiled with mortal sin?”
If Joe Biden doesn’t fit this category, then no one does. He’s presided over multiple “gay marriage” ceremonies, is using the power of his office to overturn the Hyde Amendment (which prevents taxpayer dollars from paying for abortions), and is restoring millions of dollars to genocidal groups like Planned Parenthood.
These are no small offenses in the eyes of Holy Mother Church, which teaches that willful murder (abortion) and sodomy (homosexuality) are two of the four sins that cry to heaven for God’s vengeance.
One could argue that Biden doesn’t know any better, and that he’s been more or less incentivized by the Church to support these soul-killing policies. After all, the bishops in the U.S. — as a whole — have never held liberal Catholic politicians who brazenly flout Church teaching to account.
Just look at how Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) behaved last month. He took to Twitter to “dare” the bishops to deny him Communion after expressing his adamant support for polices wholly antithetical to what John Paul II once said were central to promoting “the Culture of Life.”
It would’ve been a glorious moment in Church history — perhaps something even akin to St. Ambrose rebuking Emperor Theodosius in the 4th century — had the bishops taken a stand and boldly defended Catholic doctrine at their June meeting. Instead, they caved to media and Vatican pressure and are now complicit in the continued profanation of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on their souls.
Stephen Kokx, M.A., is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching and politics. His essays have appeared in such outlets as Catholic Family News and CatholicVote.org.