After the former Vice President was denied Holy Communion, the national conversation about abortion rights was placed at the forefront yet again.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been pretty clear about his political stand on abortion: he's strictly pro-choice. While this stance appeals to his left-leaning, Democratic voters, there's one person it definitely doesn't sit well with. During a visit to St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina, on Sunday morning, the Presidential candidate was denied Holy Communion by Reverend Robert E. Morey because of his pro-choice stand, The Huffington Post reports. Since the incident occurred, Reverend Morey has spoken up about his decision to deny Biden Holy Communion. Meanwhile, the ongoing debate about Christian views on abortion heats up.
Biden's campaign is yet to respond to reporters about the incident, but he did tell MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that he was going to remain tight-lipped about it. "I’m not going to discuss that," he affirmed. "That’s just my personal life, and I’m not going to get into that at all." However, he did state that he was not interested in imposing "religious beliefs which [he accepts] based on church doctrine." Does that mean he pays no heed to the Catholic church and their standards? Well, Reverend Morey definitely seems to think so.
In an interview with local news outlet The Morning News, the priest stated, "Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden. Holy Communion signifies we are one with god, each other, and the church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of church teaching. I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers." He claimed that it was his responsibility "to minister to those souls entrusted to his care... Even in the most difficult situations."
This incident has brought to the forefront yet again the long-running debate about abortion rights and the Catholic church's views on it. More importantly, it begs the question, should those who disagree with the Catholic church be denied the right to worship? Surely, any other pro-choicer would have been welcomed by Reverend Morey as their views on abortion would not even have come into question. As we all know, Biden is Roman Catholic. Though he has voiced personal objection to abortion, he has been pivotal in ruling against measures that would block a woman's right to choose.
At first, no one really knew what the former Vice President's official stance on abortion even was. Once, in a videotaped interview, he was recorded saying, "I do not view abortion as a choice and a right," but adding, "I think it’s always a tragedy. I think it should be rare and safe. I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions." However, there is no doubt that he has evolved politically over the years. Though he was personally against the practice, he has since vowed to codify the Roe v. Wade ruling if elected as President and has been quoted stating that “we must fight any and all attempts to overturn it.” Biden is now considered a frontrunner in the race to be elected the Democratic nominee. As the only Catholic candidate, will he be able to unify voters to defeat Trump in the 2020 Presidential elections, especially when it comes to abortion? Perhaps only time will tell.