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*AP photo

By Stephen P. White,  The Catholic Thing, Nov. 4, 2021

Stephen P. White is executive director of The Catholic Project at The Catholic University of America and a fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

NOTE: Robert Royal will join Fr. Gerald Murray and host Raymond Arroyo — the Papal Posse — tonight on EWTN’s “The World Over” to discuss the recent meeting at the Vatican between Pope Francis and President Joe Biden. As always, other topics will also be on the agenda. The program airs at 8 PM Eastern and may be viewed shortly thereafter on EWTN’s YouTube channel.

Stephen P. WhiteLet’s assume, for the moment, that President Biden’s account of his meeting with Pope Francis is accurate. Let’s assume, because we can’t know for sure, that the pope told Joe Biden he is a “good Catholic” and that the president should “keep going to Communion.” There are any number of reasons to doubt the account, but let’s assume that it’s true.

What difference does it make?

Some have argued that the pope’s reported comments are the definitive word on the matter. We can finally stop talking about Communion and abortion because the president said the pope said it’s okay. End of discussion.

That is a rather gnostic view of things. Why should we set aside all the pope’s public statements about abortion (“It’s murder”), all the discussions he’s had with U.S. bishops in person or through his representatives – to say nothing of Scripture, Tradition, the Catechism, the Code of Canon Law – and make the interpretive key this one thing Francis supposedly said in a private conversation? …

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