The parish council at the church that President Joe Biden has attended frequently since his inauguration has announced it will not deny the Eucharist to anyone who asks for it; the council says it is too important to be used as a political issue.
The council at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, a Jesuit-run parish near Georgetown University, posted the statement on the church website yesterday. They also called the recent vote by US Bishops to prepare a document addressing whether certain political leaders are "worthy" of the Eucharist as "shocking and disappointing."
"As Pope Francis recently reaffirmed, communion should be viewed “not as a prize for the perfect, but as a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” None of us, whether we stand in the pews or behind the altar, is worthy to receive it," the statement reads. "The great gift of the Holy Eucharist is too sacred to be made a political issue."
President Joe Biden is a Roman Catholic who regularly attends church. For the past several months, Catholic leadership in America has been discussing plans to deny him - and others who express beliefs in conflict with the American church's politics - Communion. Biden has said repeatedly over the years that he personally opposes abortion, but supports abortion rights for women.
After much debate, earlier this month the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 168-55 in favor of drafting a formal statement that could result in some people being denied communion because of their political positions. The document will address "the situation of Catholics in public office who support legislation allowing abortion, euthanasia and other moral evils."
Here's the complete statement from Holy Trinity Catholic Church:
A Statement from Parish Council Regarding the Eucharist
As the Holy Trinity Parish Council, we stand with our Archbishop, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, concerning the issues surrounding offering the Eucharist to American politicians. As a parish which has a long history of welcoming all, we concur with and support the pastoral approach of our Archbishop. Holy Trinity Catholic Church will not deny the Eucharist to persons presenting themselves to receive it.
Cardinal Gregory serves as one of the most prominent ecclesiastical leaders in the current controversy and so it was therefore shocking and disappointing that his request to postpone the draft of portions of this document about the Eucharist received the minority of votes among the bishops. As Cardinal Gregory stated in the discussions leading up to the vote, “The strength of our voice in advancing the mission of Christ has been seriously weakened.” Sadly, the recent vote has caused considerable desolation among our parishioners as well as Roman Catholics throughout the nation.
As Pope Francis recently reaffirmed, communion should be viewed “not as a prize for the perfect, but as a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” None of us, whether we stand in the pews or behind the altar, is worthy to receive it. The great gift of the Holy Eucharist is too sacred to be made a political issue.