Once again, a leading bishop of the Catholic Church bishop has attacked President Joe Biden for his pro-abortion stance. This time it was Msgr. Joseph Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, Texas since November 2012, told the Democrat to stop using citizens’ tax dollars to fund abortions or, failing that, to refrain from calling himself a Catholic.
“President Biden please stop spending our tax dollars to fund abortions around the world. You claim to be Catholic but you obviously are ignoring the basic teachings of the Catholic faith. Please make a decision to either follow Catholic teaching or stop claiming to be Catholic.” Bishop Strickland wrote on Twitter.
Bishop Strickland is not alone in his criticism
Bishop Strickland is not the first to criticize the president’s stance on abortion. Even members of the church who have denied Biden communion.
For example, in 2019, Father Robert Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence City, SC, told the Florence Morning News that he denied Biden communion because “any public figure who advocates abortion puts himself outside the teaching of the Church.”
On the other hand, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, explained several of the reasons why President Biden should not receive the Eucharist.
“When bishops publicly announce their willingness to give Communion to Mr. Biden, without clearly teaching the gravity of his facilitating the evil of abortion (and his approval of same-sex relationships), they do a grave disservice to their brother bishops and their people,” the archbishop wrote in an article entitled “Mr. Biden and the Matter of Scandal,” published in First Things magazine.
In addition, last Jan. 28, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement condemning “the executive order promoting abortion overseas.”
“Today, President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing U.S. taxpayer funds to be sent to organizations that promote and provide abortions in developing countries,” the statement read.” “The policy he rescinded, known as the Mexico City and Global Health Life Promotion policies, had separated abortion from family planning activities and ensured that U.S. taxpayer dollars only go to organizations that agree to provide health services in a manner that respects the dignity of all people.”
Other voices that have added to the criticism with a response to the executive order issued by Biden include Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, and chairman of the Committee for Justice and Peace:
“It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations. This Executive Order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching. We and our brother bishops strongly oppose this action. We urge the President to use his office for good, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including unborn children.”
The response also highlights that “As the world’s largest non-governmental healthcare provider, the Catholic Church stands ready to work with him and his administration to promote women’s health worldwide in a way that fosters integral human development, safeguarding the innate human rights and dignity of all human life, beginning in the womb. To serve our brothers and sisters with respect, it is imperative that care begin by ensuring that the unborn are free from violence, recognizing each person as a child of God. We look to the new administration to work with us to meet these important needs.”
Joe Biden has taken the lead in rolling back anti-abortion measures promoted by the administration of former President Donald Trump.
A complex situations for many bishops
Despite Biden’s stance on abortion, there are bishops who have come out in favor of the president-elect taking communion. For example, Washington Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said he will give communion to the president.
“I hope that there will be real dialogue, because I think that is the mantra of Pope Francis, that we must be a church in dialogue, even with those with whom we have serious disagreements,” commented the man who is now the first black cardinal in the United States.
Gregory mentioned that Biden had received communion during his eight years as Barack Obama’s vice president, and he was not going to deviate from that.
The situation is quite complex for many bishops who grew up as priests in an era where the Democrats and the Church were firm allies. Some bishops have spoken out against the president receiving communion, such as Bishop Strickland. Like Gregory, others are not opposed to Biden receiving communion, and a good number are silent to avoid stirring up controversy.