Biden threatened with communion ban over position on abortion

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Biden attending mass at Holy Trinity church in Georgetown, Washington. Photograph: Erin Scott/Reuters

(The Guardian ) – Roman Catholic bishops in the US have voted to press ahead with moves that could result in Joe Biden being banned from receiving communion because of his stance on abortion, and that risks increasing tensions in a divided church.

After three days of online debate, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted by three to one to draft new guidance on the Eucharist. The unexpected strength of support for the move among the bishops was a rebuff to the Vatican, which had signaled its opposition.

Biden, a devout Catholic who attends Mass every weekend and carries a rosary that belonged to his late son, said in response to the vote that the matter was private: “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Conservative bishops are behind the push to draw up a new teaching document expected to say that Catholics who diverge from the church’s standpoint on abortion should be denied holy communion.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who proposed the motion, said: “We need to accept the discipline that those who obstinately persist in grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

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