Fr. Thomas Petri: Priests, Prudence, Politics: Why Joe Biden Was Refused Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass

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Nobody likes to exclude or be told “no.” But the Catholic Church needs to be consistent about what Holy Communion means, even with politicians.

Father Thomas Petri, Opinion contributor, USA Today, Nov. 3, 2019

Father Thomas Petri, a Dominican priest, is a professor of moral theology and the dean of the faculty at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.

Former Vice President Joseph Biden was denied Holy Communion at a parish in South Carolina last week due to his public support for abortion. This is apparently the policy of the bishop in South Carolina. The incident offers an opportunity to clarify what is required for a person to receive Holy Communion at a Catholic Mass.

For Catholics, Holy Communion is, among other things, a sign of communion in Jesus Christ as well as a cause of strengthening that communion. We believe Jesus Christ himself is present in this sacrament. Therefore, with only a few exceptions, the Catholic Church does not permit other Christians who are not in full communion to receive the sacrament. To do otherwise would be to lie about what we believe.  ….