Abp. Naumann, Pres. Biden, and the ongoing clash over Holy Communion

To deny Holy Communion to such an openly pro-abortion political leader does not “weaponize” the Eucharist. Rather, it simply points out how support and facilitation of murder is in complete contradiction to obedience and true worship.

Joe Biden clasps his hands in prayer position during a news conference at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Del., Jan. 6, 2021. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

President Joseph Biden’s advocacy of legalized abortion while continuing to receive Holy Communion is the crucial issue confronting the Church in America today. Such a claim is certainly arguable considering the gravity of the evil of abortion and the incongruity of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ while facilitating such murder. Two petitions are currently facing off against one another that highlight the current controversy of a pro-abortion Catholic president’s worthiness to receive Holy Communion. Caught in the crosshairs is Archbishop Joseph Naumann, bishop of Kansas City, KA, who serves as the head of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities.

The anti-Naumann petition

One petition, now with nearly 20,000 signatures, calls for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to remove Naumann as head of the bishops’ Pro-life Committee. This petition is the project of Faithful America and Faith in Public Life. Its advocates, including John Gehring, Catholic Program Director for the latter group, want Naumann ousted due to his February 13th statement, in a CWR interview, that,

The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching. It would be a more honest approach from him to say he disagreed with his Church on this important issue and that he was acting contrary to Church teaching.

One month later Naumann made similar remarks in a March 14th interview with The Atlantic, saying:

Obviously, the president doesn’t believe what we believe about the sacredness of human life, or he wouldn’t be taking the actions that he is. And yet, he continues to receive the Eucharist. We can’t judge his heart. But we consider the action itself a grave moral evil.

Add to this Naumann’s January 28th admonishment of Biden in the homily he delivered at the opening Mass for the National Prayer Vigil for Life: “We must pray and fast that the President will cease attempting to confuse people about Catholic teaching by trampling on the sanctity of human life while presenting himself as a devout Catholic.”

The anti-Naumann letter accuses the archbishop of maligning the “sincere” faith of the president, being narrowly focused on abortion, refusing “to give equal attention to other pro-life issues,” and failing to “follow the pastoral model of Pope Francis and other bishops” … who seek “common ground with the administration.” Finally, and perhaps most egregiously, it states that Naumann sows “real confusion” when bishops like him “weaponize the Sacraments.” According to Gehring, Naumann is guilty of “pastoral malpractice,” a bishop who is “more interested in being a culture warrior than a pastor.”

Those who defend Biden’s reception of Holy Communion often do so by characterizing denial of Communion as an illegitimate “politicizing” or “weaponizing” of the Eucharist. San Diego bishop Robert McElroy, Biden’s hometown bishop of Wilmington, DE, Francis Malooly and D.C.’s Cardinal Wilton Gregory have all made such criticisms in defense of Biden’s continued access to the Sacrament. They prefer, in the words of McElroy, “to convince people by argument and by dialogue” rather than “pummel them into submission on the issue.” 

Even if the bishops seriously engaged in the pastoral efforts preferred by McElroy, the last fifty years of argument and dialogue have proven one thing—it simply has not worked. It is a failed paradigm. And, as I told one bishop, if anything, Biden’s bold advocacy of legalized killing of the unborn shows that matters are worse than ever. I am all in favor of bishops meeting face to face with Catholic public figures who actively promote immoral and unjust polices contrary to the faith they profess. I have personally urged key bishops to meet with Biden and to catechize him; but if he fails to reform, he should at least to be told to not present himself for Holy Communion. And the bishops then need to make it public that they have given him this admonition with a full explanation as to why.

The evil that Biden facilitates needs to be described in the clearest possible terms. The President supports a law that claims an entire people-group to be non-persons, and he helps to facilitate the extermination of unborn children through acts of violence at the rate of 2500 per day. To deny Holy Communion to such a Catholic is hardly to weaponize the Eucharist. Rather, it simply points out how support and facilitation of murder is in complete contradiction to obedience and true worship. One cannot desecrate the bodies of the unborn and then consume the sacred Body of Christ. The incongruity is staggering!

While Faith in Public Life opposes racism, and stands up for “Immigrant Justice” “Climate Justice” and “LGBTQ Equality”, justice for the unborn is not among its list of causes.  To the group’s credit, at least it apparently does not advocate “Reproductive Justice”. Nonetheless, the absence of advocacy for the right-to-life of the unborn at least signals that the killing of the unborn is not of particular importance.  The anti-Naumann petition is not simply against him but is also a defense of Biden as a “devout Catholic” and thus that here is no basis to deny him Communion. Certainly, such a defense fails to recognize the injustice committed against the unborn. Perhaps, indeed many of the signatories may even believe women have a right to abortion.

In any case, for them abortion couldn’t be that big of a deal. I argue this is so because, without doubt, if Biden supported a law that defined illegal immigrants as less than human and permitted their extermination these same folks would rightly picket the Washington D.C. cathedral every day and demand he be swiftly excommunicated. And, I may add, the bishops wouldn’t hesitate for a second to do so.  No more committees, no more vote-taking—there would be action. But when it comes to the politically incorrect defense of the unborn it’s all about dialogue; as The Atlantic sub-headline stated, “the bishops are unsure about how to move forward.”

There is, I think, another reason why nearly 20,000 people signed the anti-Naumann petition: they are afraid that the bishops will sanction Biden. If the bishops at least told Biden not to present himself for Holy Communion, the feared consequence is that by doing so, the bishops will have discredited the policies and beliefs of the pro-abortion industry and its supporters. In fact, iit s Biden’s defenders on this point who are actually politicizing the Sacrament. It’s not Biden’s Catholicism that’s at stake, but rather what Biden stands for politically.  But, ultimately, the two have become one, as Biden’s reception of the Eucharist is a political statement. 

The pro-Naumann petition

In direct response to the anti-Naumann open letter, Catholic Vote has circulated its own in support of the Kansas City prelate, posted March 25th at CatholicVote.org. The letter, as of this writing, has received over 47,000 signatures, more than twice that of the letter opposing Naumann. Many of those signing are well-known Catholic scholars.

Biden’s defenders employ a certain rhetorical strategy—namely, insisting that those who believe the President should not receive Communion are out of step with Pope Francis.  The Faith in Public Life/Faithful America petition, for example, called for Naumann to be replaced by a bishop who follows Pope Francis “pastoral model” in “building bridges” and “join Pope Francis in seeking common ground with the administration.” The Catholic Vote open letter counters this ploy:

Ostensibly, the hard-left group who … call for your removal is based on what they erroneously believe to be an incompatibility with the priorities of our Holy Father. The letter’s author seems completely unaware that Pope Francis himself boldly compared having an abortion to ‘hiring a hitman.’ The Holy Father said, ‘Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? It is not right to kill a human being, regardless of how small it is, to solve a problem!’

If anyone is out-of-step with the Pope on this key issue it is President Biden. Nonetheless, the Pope’s pro-life advocacy is one thing, and the manner in which he may deal with a wayward son something else altogether. On November 12, 2020, Pope Francis called Biden to congratulate him on his election to the presidency. Biden pledged that he wished to work with the Pope on “the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities.” Thus, the impression exists, and is exploited by Biden’s defenders, that the Holy Father, rather than confronting Biden, seeks to indeed build those bridges.

Moreover, on January 20, 2021, the day of Biden’s inauguration, Archbishop Jose Gomez, head of the USCCB, was prepared to issue a statement lamenting the new president’s pursuit of “certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.” Some bishops, unhappy with Gomez’s critical remarks notified the Vatican, apparently fearful that such remarks would force the Pope to deal with Biden’s policies that contradict the faith. The Vatican Secretariat of State intervened with an order that the statement not be released before Pope Francis issued his communication to Biden, extending his “cordial good wishes” and pledging his prayers that Biden’s decisions would be motivated by an “unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice.” Unlike the Gomez statement, the Pope did not raise any concerns about Biden’s policies. This was more fodder for the narrative that those calling for Biden to not receive Communion failed to be in line with Francis’ pastoral approach.

At this point, the bishops’ response to Biden’s reception of Holy Communion is somewhat in limbo. There were signs soon after the November election that the bishops were prepared to take action regarding what has come to be known as Biden’s “Eucharistic incoherency.” On November 17, 2020, under Gomez’s direction, a Working Committee was formed headed by Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, tasked to make recommendations on how to deal with the Biden scandal. However, the work of the committee was seriously compromised when just a week later Cardinal Wilton Gregory—knowing full-well the committee was in place—announced that he would not deny Holy Communion to Biden.

In mid-February 2021 the Working Committee was “disbanded”—handing off the task of dealing with Biden to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, headed by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne/South Bend, with the recommendation that a pastoral statement be issued on the meaning of Eucharistic worship and “Eucharistic coherency.”  However, that such a statement should be issued is now subject to a vote by all the bishops at their upcoming USCCB Spring General Assembly, to be held June 16-18, 2021. In other words, it is not at all certain that such a pastoral statement will even be made. Furthermore, should the bishops approve the Doctrine Committee moving forward, there’s no guarantee that a statement on Eucharistic coherency will include any sort of admonishment to Biden and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In the meantime, Biden often attends Mass and receives Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown. Holy Trinity’s pastor Fr. Kevin Gillespie justifies Biden’s reception of Communion by stating, “It’s really an encounter with God…”, a “sacred and intimate moment” that is a “gift that enhances his faith, and it energizes his witness,” and further saying that “we most certainly encourage him to improve his intimacy with God through the Eucharist.” Apparently, it has not occurred to Fr. Gillespie that Biden’s strong and open political support for facilitating the killing of millions of innocent people is an obstacle to that sacred encounter. One cannot worthily receive the Body of Christ and at the same time kill the Lord’s brothers and sisters. The essential words of St. Paul should be front and center here: “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the Body and Blood of the Lord.” Thus, rather than “improving intimacy with God”, Fr. Gillespie’s pastoral approach could be doing Biden far more spiritual harm than good.

Hopefully, the bishops will act and will do their duty as successors of Jesus Christ to protect souls and to protect the integrity of what it means to participate in Eucharistic worship. In the meantime, there apparently will only be occasional voices such as that of Archbishop Naumann, crying out with clarity in a wilderness dominated by the distraction of “dialogue”.


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About Monica Migliorino Miller 5 Articles
Monica Migliorino Miller is Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society, teacher of theology at Father Gabriel Richard High School, Ann Arbor and Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and the author of several books, including The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church (Emmaus Road) and Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars (St. Benedict Press).

75 Comments

  1. Thank you for such an excellent article. Think how much good it would do for both the Country and for Cardinal Gregory of DC if the Cardinal would publicly retract his position.

    • The hell he should! He is just following Canon Law. According to the Code, #1398 and #1329.2  Biden is no longer a member of Body of Christ [the Church].
      He incurred the penalty of automatic excommunication “latae sentenciae” when he had become an accomplice in killing pre-born and post-born babies.
      He can go through the motions of being a member of the Catholic Church but his actions are not valid and effective as to being in communion with Christ.
      To be readmitted he must publicly repent, ask for forgiveness and re-admittance, and practice Church’s teachings.
      If he will not do it then his protestation, pretension and claim of being members of the Church are in vain.
      OBTW, in 1948 three American judges sitting in the Nuremberg Military Tribunal judged abortion to be a crime against humanity and therefore murder and extermination. – United States v Greifelt & ors [1948].

    • How much more powerful excommunication of the cardinal would be for his participation in a desecration of the body and blood of Christ?

    • Good Cardinal Gregory must surely believe he is doing something good with the President and for him.

      But what is he doing to the Body of Christ, the unborn, those innocent otherwise and the seamless pro-life effort.

      The Lord will surely see.

  2. While I agree that the Biden dilemma is an important question for the Church, the most critical is Pope Francis himself. He is causing confusion; I believe purposely. His statements against abortion are mere window-dressing intended to appease and provide cover for the rest of his western European progressivism. And his cadre of like-minded cardinals (Cupich, Gregory, Tobin and Farrell), heavyweights in the USCCB, are hardly shy about their adamant tribal democrat, progressive affinities. None of them will ever have a conversation with Biden or any other pro-abortion politician about abortion, gender theory or critical race theory. They are determined to support democrat politicians no matter the consequences for the Church, for morality, for truth, or for unity of the Church. That is where our Church leadership is these days, checking conscience and policy with the democrat party before all else. And that will tell the future of the Church, certainly in the West: its demise. And if anyone is using the Eucharist as a political weapon, it is the likes of Cardinal Gregory, Bishop McElroy, et al … a weapon against the Church itself. And can one hardly forget how the Mass was used as a political stunt and weapon at the wall in the early days of the previous administration? Our shepherds are wolves.

    • “I agree that the Biden dilemma is an important question for the Church”

      DISagree.

      Actions speak louder than words. There really is NO dilemma – no matter WHAT he says, the President supports (just for starters) taxpayer-financed abortion and birth control, both positions in direct opposition to established Church teaching.

      He is a liar.

      • No question about Biden being a pathological liar. The dilemma for the Church is about how our bishops are dealing with him. Those who toady up to him, and those who are told to shut up and not criticize him. The toadies (like Cupich, Gregory, Farrell and Tobin) are the powerful voices in the US Church (thanks to the pope), and they, with his backing, are telling the one’s (like Naumann and Gomez) – who are courageous enough to tell the truth – to shut up.

      • Has the Catholic Church suspended mortal sin? Too many politicians in the Church. Where is the Pope? I’m sorry the Pope is a politician and a coward. Bring back Benedict.

    • Praise God!! Some Catholics are finally witnessing courageously to the truth that a large percentage of Catholic Bishops and Cardinals are “in-bed” with the anti-God Democratic Party. They are willing to ignore, abandon or at least compromise the 2,000 year doctrines of the Church and law of God, “Thou shalt not kill” to “feather their beds” as the old maxim goes. The Pope has made statements about his pro-life position, but his priorities indicate confusion, intentional or unintentional. The Pope in conjunction with the Bishops could put an end to this horrific murder of the unborn (now including infanticide) overnight if they chose. When are the other Shepherds going to come forward and stand with the few who are God-fearing and courageous defenders of the Faith? And we wonder why droves of Catholics continue to leave the Church? Cardinals and Bishops the time has arrived. The time is NOW!!

  3. Christ teaches us to refrain from judging our fellow man. Some Catholics condemn anyone who does not support a man-made law to end abortion. Never did Christ tell his followers to go to Rome and write man-made laws to change the world. We need a Christian response to abortion—-convince our neighbors to become followers of Christ resulting in a change of heart. We need to distance ourselves from man=made governments, todays golden calf.

    • Gerald Times 2: When did a laws become only man made. Would laws banning murder be man made. How about laws banning stealing. If you are against man made laws, please go to Washington and promote banning laws on paying taxes. Please provide more of your enlightened thinking.

      • God gave us the “Ten Commandments” and the “Golden Rule”. The “Sermon on the Mount” clearly explains what human behavior pleases God. God must always be number one in our life. God does not embrace man-made governments and God does not work thru man-made governments. God established a Church on earth to change the world.

        • Abortion is murder, banning abortion is in line wih God’s plan and part of Church’s mission. To say we cannot judge anyone based on their vile actions is a distortion of the Sermon on the Mount. Pro abortionist will distort anything to support their baby killing agenda.

    • Christ teaches us to refrain from judging our fellow man.(sic)

      Absolute rubbish.

      You fail to discern the difference between judging one’s behavior and judging the state of one’s soul and you quite obviously dismiss Christ’s explanation in Matthew 18 on how to excommunicate the unrepentant from the Church.

      “And why even of yourselves, do you not judge that which is just?” Jesus Christ, Luke 12:57

  4. It’s a very simple question — not controversial at all.

    Do our leaders really believe what the Church teaches? About the Eucharist? About abortion?

    If they did, they would consider it unthinkable to give our Lord’s Body to an apostate who facilitates murders by the millions.

    “…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    I’m beginning to wonder that myself.

  5. Archbishop Naumann should not follow partisan operatives masquerading as faithful Catholics, clergy and lay, in politicizing the Eucharist. He should believe that the Holy Spirit has not abandoned the Church and is continuously leading and guiding the Pope, and take a read and act on what Pope Francis teaches in Evangelii Gaudium: “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems” (EG 47).

    • “Archbishop Naumann should not follow partisan operatives masquerading as faithful Catholics, clergy and lay, in politicizing the Eucharist.”

      You’re embarrassing yourself. Abortion is not, first and foremost, a political matter. What Abp. Naumann has been saying has been in complete keeping with St. Paul, the entire Catholic tradition, and canon law. It’s not his fault that Catholics are clueless and compromised when it comes to the same.

      • Hello! Read my comment again, you seem blinded in your focus on abortion. I am commenting on the weaponization of the Eucharist in this current intra-Catholic drama about President Biden and Communion and what Pope Francis has to teach us about the giving of Communion. Like the Archbishop, Monica Migliorino Miller, and you, I think our new President is gravely wrong about abortion. However, I do not think I have so completely mastered the mysteries of God, even with knowledge of Pauline literature, your “entire” Catholic tradition (you seem to have not or refuse to read Pope Francis! Shame on you!), and Canon Law, that I would feel confident in barring Biden from holy Communion. Indeed, I hope Biden, like me, looks upon the Eucharist as the medicine of mercy that it is. As the Holy Father taught in Evangelii Gaudium, citing St. Ambrose: “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (EG 47). Those who want President Biden banned from receiving Communion evidences the hubris of the Pharisee in the synagogue: “The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector'” (Luke 18:11). They think grace can come to them and those like them, but they can decree to whom grace cannot come. They seem not to recognize that grace works in mysterious ways, that it rarely comes in an instant but works its way gradually into the human soul. They should read and take to heart Pope Francis’ observations in Gaudete et Exultate: “Those who yield to this pelagian or semi-pelagian mindset, even though they speak warmly of God’s grace, “ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style.” When some of them tell the weak that all things can be accomplished with God’s grace, deep down they tend to give the idea that all things are possible by the human will, as if it were something pure, perfect, all-powerful, to which grace is then added. They fail to realize that “not everyone can do everything,” and that in this life human weaknesses are not healed completely and once for all by grace. In every case, as Saint Augustine taught, God commands you to do what you can and to ask for what you cannot, and indeed to pray to him humbly: “Grant what you command, and command what you will” (GE 49).

        • I read with great interest your memo “Reply to Pope Francis the Greater”– you fail to actually understand the spiritual premise of reception of Holy Communion. Reception is a kind of nuptial meeting with the Lord– one must come to that union with a purity of heart– There are certain actions gravely immoral, evil actions that violate that union– that actually are an obstacle to it. Furthermore there is a the grave scandal of Biden’s public reception of the Body and Blood of Christ — doing so sends the message that indeed one CAN BE a Catholic in perfectly good standing and kill innocent people. A scandal for which Biden is responsible.
          It is interesting that you quote St. Ambrose– as one also needs to remember that the good 4th century bishop of Milan indeed excommunicated the Roman Emperor Theodosius I- and precisely because the emperor ordered the slaughter of 5000 Thessalonians due to a riot caused in that city. Theodosius repented.

          • Please note the neo-Pelagian heresy pointed out by Pope Francis in Gaudete et Exsultate. Read the entire exhortation and focus on this section about this present day manifestation of a 4th century heresy which somehow gets into your position outlined in your article. In your reply you point out a historical matter behind the saint quoted by the Pope but you fail or refuse to see the creeping heresy highlighted by the Pope that your advocasy embraces. Again, please read and pray over the papal exhortation. While many of you so-called “Pro-Lifers” are actually best termed “Pro-Birthers” for you only care about the unborn and care less for the born. The USCCB’s position in the latest edition of Faithful Citizenship highlight the fight against abortion as “preeminent” should be a reminder that this is not the only Pro-Life issue. Again Pope Francis has this to say in the same exhortation: “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection” (GE101). Those who resisted the “Black Lives Matter” movement with their mantra “All Lives Matter” best proclaims the true Pro-Life teaching of the Church, it is genuinely Pro-Life and not just Pro-Birth, fighting for the rights not just of the unborn but also for the born, for all lives. One more thing, I find single-issue Catholics like you like Protestants in a way with their “Bible Alone” or “Faith Alone” and you with your “Abortion Alone.”

          • “While many of you so-called “Pro-Lifers” are actually best termed “Pro-Birthers” for you only care about the unborn and care less for the born.”

            Pure slander. Jimmy Carter would be proud.

            Monica Miller has gone to jail for her pro-life work. She puts her money where her mouth is.

            Meanwhile, I know numerous pro-lifers who help single mothers, who adopt and foster children, etc. My wife and I have been through five adoptions; we’ve been in court battles, foster family “classes”, and have dealt with the absurdity of the system in order to bring children into a loving family with a mother and father. So, seriously, get a clue.

          • 1. One clear characteristic of (real) Pelagianism is sophistry; it is marked with sophism. But the pro-life movement is nothing like that.

            2. Generally speaking I think there is confusion concerning Pelagianism that remains to be sorted out yet. Joy alone is not the resolution.

            3. There is a self-contradiction at work with Pope Francis The Greater simultaneously advocating social advocacy and denying social advocacy.

            4. Also, there is a tension in his arguments that one advocacy is going to be too much whereas another advocacy is never enough. How measured? By whom?

            5. Finally, put the 3. self-contradiction and the 4. tension, beside one another. Is there some kind of “balance” for them the Church is seeking?

        • Whatever artifacts of Catholicism that might remain in the mind of Francis, he seldom tires of finding ways to weaponize them to advance an agenda of faith denying exhibitionistic progressivism and to prove to the world that he has more capacity to figure out the meaning of human benevolence than any Catholic who ever had a thought prior to his own.
          There is no cruelty worse than false compassion. There is no mercilessness greater that corrupting the idea of mercy to an understanding that prioritizes the relaxing of guilt feelings while ignoring the victims of sin. And there is blindness in a mind that would accuse anyone else of being blinded by their concern for abortion.

          • Edward J Baker

            What you wrote is true.

            Spiritual Works of Mercy speak to the needs regarding the salvation of souls. The pontiff and PF the Greater chew steak with their incisors rather than the molars. Both seem to live on the surface and fail to dig (perhaps by design) into the substance of matters. The lack of clarity from a great number of the hierarchy and neglect of speaking the truth, can lead others to fall into distorted thinking. The great majority of those charged with the salvation of souls are occupied with secular endeavors. Humanity suffers their neglect.

        • 1. Abortion is a mortal sin.

          2. Some of the ways to participate in the sins of another are by counsel, consent, by partaking, and by defense of the sin done.

          3. Receiving Holy Communion in a state of sin is gravely sinful. Rather than receiving graces, one profanes the Sacrament, commmits sacrilege. Or, as St. Thomas Aquinas put it in in the Summa:

          “Therefore, whoever receives this sacrament, expresses thereby that he is made one with Christ, and incorporated in His members; and this is done by living faith, which no one has who is in mortal sin. And therefore it is manifest that whoever receives this sacrament while in mortal sin, is guilty of lying to this sacrament, and consequently of sacrilege, because he profanes the sacrament: and therefore he sins mortally.”

          And before you start maundering on about “a medicine for the weak,” bear in mind that those in mortal sin are sprititually dead, not just sick. Here is St. Thomas’ answer to those who tried that argument: “Every medicine does not suit every stage of sickness; because the tonic given to those who are recovering from fever would be hurtful to them if given while yet in their feverish condition. So likewise Baptism and Penance are as purgative medicines, given to take away the fever of sin; whereas this sacrament is a medicine given to strengthen, and it ought not to be given except to them who are quit of sin.”

          As far as using St. Ambrose as an excuse, you might notice this statement of his: “So live that you may deserve to receive it [i.e. Holy Communion] daily! He who does not deserve to receive it daily does not deserve to receive it after a year.” Does that sound to you as if he thinks that no matter what one has done one should be receiving Holy Communion?

          Here’s St. Thomas Aquinas again:
          “Lauda Sion,” [English translation]:

          Both the wicked and the good
          Eat of this celestial Food;
          But with ends how opposite!
          Here ’tis life; and there ’tis death;
          The same, yet issuing to each
          In a difference infinite.

          Why do you hate President Biden so much that you want him to continue to commit sacrilege and blasphemy? And to assist others in committing mortal sin?

        • “While many of you so-called “Pro-Lifers” are actually best termed “Pro-Birthers” for you only care about the unborn and care less for the born.”

          While I am sure there are some who fit this description, it is a grossly unjust caricature. Are you saying this because some pro lifers you know aren’t aligned with certain political proposals or solutions to injustices in the world? We ought to be inspired by the love of Christ and led by the Spirit to raise up our hurting brothers and sisters where ever we encounter them. Mother Teresa is an example of care for the poor as well as being a clear and firm prophetic voice for the unborn to those in power. Pro-lifers also live the preferential option for the poor, seeing the unborn as the most defenseless victims of oppression. It is not denying the need to work for justice for “the born” if the prophetic voice cries out forcefully and urgently against the national sin of abortion. BTW, Dr. Monica Miller and her husband cannot be accused of ignoring “the born”. I’m referring to a local organization in Detroit “Guadalupe Workers” (husband is president) which provides material assistance to women with unplanned pregnancies. There are scores of pro-lifers who extend their love to “the born” in ways such as this.

    • Four points:

      First, finally it’s not even about religion. Pope St. John Paul II likened the “unspeakable crime” of abortion to “chemical warfare” against the unborn (Centesimus Annus, 1991). We lack the will or even imagination to see what’s at stake. The zombie “culture of death” has become so routine.

      Second, the moral norm is true not because the Church teaches it; rather the Church teaches the it as doctrine because it’s true. “[T]he Church is in no way the author or the arbiter of this norm . . . [she] proposes it to all people of good will. . . “(JP II, Veritatis Splendor, 1993).

      Third, JPII proclaimed to the faithful, therefore, the “grave and clear obligation to oppose [pro-abortion laws] by conscientious objection” (The Gospel of Life, 1995). So, in addition to Biden’s controverted lapse in “Eucharistic coherence” (his unwitting sacrilege), the Church also and simply conscientiously objects to the abortion culture and to the intrusion of Biden’s cafeteria Catholicism into its own messaging to all of the faithful. JPII asserts, instead: “[that] the right of the faithful [!] to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected.”

      Fourth, and back to our chemical warfare against the unborn, tthe Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) got it exactly right when he referred to even one “drop of poison” in the punchbowl. Bad “medicine”! He meant that we soon give in so many times that when we finally catch on, we are incapable of choosing any more to resist.

      Tens of millions of drops since 1973, and still counting at 2500 more per day.

    • “Politicizing the Eucharist”

      Well said

      Exactamundo – That is EXACTLY what the president is doing.

      The Archbishop’s statement – “The president should stop defining himself as a DEVOUT (emphasis mine) Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching.”

      You can’t state it any clearer than that, and that is why the pro-choicers are after him with such a vengeance.

    • “Archbishop Naumann should not follow partisan operatives masquerading as faithful Catholics, clergy and lay, in politicizing the Eucharist.”

      The straw man he is arguing is calling out Pope Francis the Grating as a leftist troll.

      If there’s anything at all in the world that is not political — a big ‘if,’ I grant you — it is our gracious Lord in the Eucharist.

    • Promoting the killing of innocent unborn children is not a problem…it is a mortal sin.

      In the Catholic Church, headed by Jesus The Good Shepherd, there is no communion with Jesus for men and women who embrace and promote the evil of killing the innocent.

      The Church imagined by “His Excellency” McElroy, “His Excellency” Malooly and “His Eminence” Gregory amounts to nothing but a money-grubbing clubhouse serving the egos and millionaire lifestyle of false shepherds.

    • PF the Greater:

      “…the Holy Spirit has not abandoned the Church and is continuously leading and guiding the Pope, and take a read and act on what Pope Francis teaches in Evangelii Gaudium: “The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak. These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. But the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems” (EG 47).

      Repentance does not figure in the pontiff’s writing. Why? This pontiff uses phrases such as:

      – “…not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” No person is perfect and the Eucharist is Christ’s gift of Himself for the repentant, in order to strengthen the soul. An unrepentant soul is dead and is incapable of being nourished.

      – “… convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness.” This is the pontiff wagging his finger at clergy to put them on notice that they better not disagree.

      – “… we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators.” Here the pontiff indicates to pastors of souls that admonishing the sinner is no longer the medicine recommended by charity. Rather pastors should pat the sinners on the head, tell them they are fine and try to feed their dead souls.

      -“…the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems” (EG 47). In truth, God welcomes the sinners and invites them to repentance and THEN to be nourished by the gift of His Body and Blood. The biblical merciful father in the story of the Parodical Son welcomed his son back into his home and celebrated his homecoming when the son in his misery came home in repentance.

      “The USCCB’s position in the latest edition of Faithful Citizenship highlight the fight against abortion as “preeminent” should be a reminder that this is not the only Pro-Life issue. Again Pope Francis has this to say in the same exhortation: “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection” (GE101).

      Here quoting the USCCB using the word “preeminent” needs more expansion of the nature of the horror of abortion. Your admonishment of “should be a reminder that this is not the only Pro-Life issue” indicates that you have swallowed “hook, line and sinker” the prelates intention of casting the “preeminent” issue as not being quite so “preeminent”. It is a lead-in to cast voters into thinking that maybe all life issues are equal, which is false. Without life there are no other issues to consider for a single person, therefore, the safety of the preborn child is “preeminent”. All other life issues are also important and we address them in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy which are barely mentioned in current catechesis. Catholics are obligated to practice these works of mercy, but NOT to the detriment of their own families or their own country.

      Next, your refer to our present pontiffs set-up phrase “needs to be clear, firm and passionate” so that he can usher in his “equally sacred” spiel. Here your hero is telling the world (especially Americans) that we are totally responsible for the world ailments. The truth is that as human beings and Catholics we are responsible according to our means to help those in need. That does not mean that others have a right to our moderate possessions, nor to our real property which we have rightfully earned for the good of our families.

      You well know that just because a pope says something does not necessarily mean that we are bound by, nor have to believe it indiscriminately. You well know that popes are infallible in matters of faith and morals and have spoken Ex Cathedra in a few instances. This present pontiff is quite confusing in many of his writings which can be detrimental to the faithful and to the world view of the Catholic Church. He likes to employ catchy phrases which is not beneficial to expounding Catholic doctrine. Past pontiffs have used clear expression in presenting the truth both verbally and in writing. The faithful and the world are entitled to nothing less than presentation of the truth with utmost respect and clarity from prelates.

  6. What continually disturbs me is that I, in the silence of my soul, must reflect on whether I truly believe and live the Creed. If I do not, I am not worthy to approach for the Eucharist. Many who do approach, having publicly rejected the tenets of our faith, are in mortal danger, and I pray for them. When I publicly reject those tenets and approach, I am a cause of scandal.

    God bless us one and all!

  7. The problem is that everyone knows that Mr. Biden supports abortion and then presents himself for Holy Communion. He knows it’s wrong, we know it’s wrong and the priest knows it’s wrong and yet, there he is. It’s the “knowing” that changes this situation and he should not receive the Eucharist with this open sin. Period. Is this not what the Church teaches? How can we ignore it?

  8. The bishops certainly should take a stronger stand, but against ALL Catholics who support abortion. The focus on important individuals carries the implication that the president’s soul is worth more than the pauper’s.

  9. “Politicizing the Eucharist”

    Well said

    Exactamundo – That is EXACTLY what the president is doing.

    The Archbishop’s statement – “The president should stop defining himself as a DEVOUT (emphasis mine) Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching.”

    You can’t state it any clearer than that, and that is why the pro-choicers are after him with such a vengeance.

    • Terence M:

      You have put your finger on the issue: it is Mr. Biden and “his Bishops” that politicize the Eucharist.

  10. What a shame that we see conflict over the commandment ‘Thou shall not kill’. I am just a layman but it seems simple to me. Those who want to confuse people into acceptance tries to make it complicated. Anyone supporting the unnatural ending of a life, whether born or unborn; by any action, by hand or by vote, commits a mortal sin. biden, pelosi, kerry, all democrats in high office, claiming to be devout, demonstrate our country’s immorality.

    • Exactly – usher in confusion and complicate the issue – it works well to accomplish evil ends. —and many highly educated clergy must have been asleep when the lecture on real charity for sinners was given — or maybe no such lecture was presented in the first place — one wonders — do some pastors of souls even know that the salvation of souls is first priority?

  11. The reluctance of the USCCB to correct Catholics who profess beliefs against Church teaching in the public square tells me that the majority of the bishops aren’t convicted in the faith themselves. Their approval of reception of the Covid-19 vaccines, despite all of the currently available ones being tied to abortion, represents teaching that’s convoluted at best. I would suggest that the bishops spend some time in their Spring meeting with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They have eroded the trust many of us have in their instructions to the faithful. If they don’t stand up for Church teaching, we are left on our own — not only without their support but with their implied denial of what we believe. Scandal — the encouragement of others’ sins — naturally follows.

  12. “There will be only occasional voices such as that of Archbishop Naumann crying out with clarity in a wilderness dominated by the distraction of ‘dialogue’.”

    Nice ending phrase, but – with every passing day the voices grow louder and louder, because with every passing day there are more and more of them, and they will NOT be silenced – ‘dialogue’ or no ‘dialogue’.

  13. Any Catholic who receives the Eucharist unworthily eats and drinks judgment unto himself (1 Cor 11:29; CCC 1385).

    Therefore any priest or Bishop who gives communion to, or encourages to take communion, those in a state of mortal sin without going to confession are placing those person’s mortal souls in danger by their actions.

  14. After the 2020 election, Catholics feigned ignorance of Biden’s deep conviction to increase abortions at all stages of the child’s development. This was due to pastor’s, bishops, cardinals not educating their flocks to Biden’s lies and ties to Planned parenthood. Some even emphasizing his Catholicism. This affected the Catholic vote.

    • Maureen;

      I understand and agree with what you are saying, but I CANNOT believe that anyone could fail to understand the complete contradiction between Biden’s claims to be a devout Catholic and his devoutly anti-Catholic actions in the political arena where he has dwelt for the last 50 or so years.

      To me it’s just NOT possible.

  15. Gehring’s idea of pastoral care is the legacy of Pope Francis’ encouragement, initially suggested in Evangelii Gaudium and finalized in Amoris Laetitia, for the unrepentant to consume the Eucharist. As if by magic they may abandon sin. With the result Bishops Conferences of Malta, Sicily, the Philippines, Germany, elsewhere have instead abandoned the tradition of the Apostles that evidence of repentance is required. These bishops have determined that on questions of divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, fornication, calumny, any and all sin, one’s conscience is the arbiter of worthiness to receive communion. Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. He eats and drinks judgment on himself (1 Corinthians 11:27). Plainly said the Holy Eucharist is Christ’s gift of himself to those who have manifestly and sacramentally repented and require spiritual sustenance. President Biden, justly criticized by Monica Migliorino Miller, Abp Naumann is a master performer. An artist of emotive seduction. If Gov Cuomo merited an Emmy Pres Biden deserves an Academy Award for tearful grimaces pious rosary clutching choked utterances of grief. Although it softens judgment leaving some willing to forego condemnation of a man who more than anyone in history exponentially furthers the murder of innocent life and forcefully promotes the gravest of deviant sins.

    • Dear Father– thank you for this elegantly stated memo– It is very appreciated. I pray for Biden’s conversion– though, I’ll be honest, it is hard for me to imagine it– but pray we must– and we must– I mean, really MUST pray for the bishops. They simply cannot NOT do something. Monica Migliorino Miller

      • Our modernday Theodosius hasn’t a clue; he invades the Cathedral. “Inappropriate” institutional fondling! To “not NOT do something” might attend to these points:

        EDUCATION: With a rhetorical touch (as in the Theology of the Body), to correct widespread illiteracy from the clarities of Humanae Vitae (HV),

        STATISM: Brightline HV n. 17 which reads in part: “Let it be considered also that a dangerous weapon would thus be placed in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies […] Who will stop rules from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider it necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious?” So much for today’s cheap talk about “weaponizing” the Eucharist!, and leading to…

        HINDSIGHT: The loss of a “truly human civilization” (HV, n. 18), now that the deified state enables and funds routine abortion as back-up contraception; then imposes the oxymoronic “gay marriage” as yet another (“intrinsically disordered”) option on the menu; and then redefines sidelined binary sexuality as barely an exception within ersatz “gender theory” (to be imposed at all grades in public schools). And…

        FORESIGHT: With public-figure Biden now as president, the issue is actually fourfold: (1) cafeteria-catholic spiritual contraception (!) against “Eucharistic coherence”, by him and others; (2) the contraceptive culture’s metastasized “culture of death” as just another state tool in the tool box; (3) marginalization of the family as an institution prior to the state; and (4) a flat-earth culture of mandatory gender theory by judicial fatwa.

        CANCEL-CULTURE, BIG TIME: With public figure Biden now corrupting the ship of state and the culture, St. Ambrose’s demonstration of at least the independence of the Barque of Peter and the spiritual realm (and even reason!) from the State is canceled.

  16. Re Maureen T. Crain above – Catholics who didn’t know about Biden’s pro-abortion plans weren’t paying attention. Apparently, they weren’t alone, as a group of prominent evangelical leaders expressed disappointment in Biden’s actions, after the fact. Where were they before the election?

  17. Addendum to my previous comment- “Pro-life Evangelicals for Biden say they feel “used and betrayed” by president on abortion”. (Christanity Today)

    • Gilberta; Re – your 4/14 10 a.m.

      Not to be sarcastic but – I notice the lack of the word ‘surprised’ in your addendum.

  18. I liked a comment one of my priests expressed: “If the cardinals had spoken out against Biden he might not have won the election” He got a round of applause!. Faithful Catholics hearts are hurting over the scandal of P. Biden. The best thing we can do is pray for the conversion of the President.

    • Or, as applies to a lot of run-of-the-mill Christians and Catholics and strategically inept clerics–as Thomas More said in Robert Bolt’s “A Man for all Seasons”: “The nobility of England would have snored through the Sermon on the Mount.” The problem now is how to get the back part of the horse back into the barn.

  19. Monica,
    Thank you very much for this article.
    Certainly share your hope that the bishops will act and do their duty as successors of Jesus Christ and fully and unambiguously support Archbishop Naumann. However, given the way Biden often seeks political and moral cover from Pope Francis, I respectfully believe that the Pope also must strongly admonish Biden on his open and aggressive support for the abortion holocaust.

  20. Very good article. What is missing in it and the comments section is that if the Bishops do excommunicate Biden there is a real chance of a violent persecution of the Bishops and faithful lay Catholics. Are not the Bishops ready and willing to give even their lives for defending the truths of God? Are we faithful laity prepared to join our good Bishops when that happens? Innocent babies are enduring horrible deaths in abortion. Where is our courage and resolve? I will follow a Bishop Nauman any day, but then I am a 75 yr. old disabled very low income lady who has had a hard life and I well understand that it takes courage to live and courage to follow God and His truth. By the way, courage is the one virtue God gives immediately as soon as a soul asks for it. It is an immediate gift.Is not that wonderful of God?

    • Diane,
      Yes, it seems likely that some form of persecution of Catholics would follow a bold reaffirmation of Church teaching, but what would be the consequence if the Church delayed or continues to keep silent? The piper must be paid, and his fee increases the longer he pipes.

      Of whom is the Church afraid? A pope who speaks with utensils in his mouth?, a face-lifted, incognizant man figure-heading an ineptocracy?, or the Almighty Creator of the Beginning and the End of all Creation?

      When we are weak, we allow the grace of God to strengthen us. May God abundantly bless your disabled, concerned, prayerful person.

    • Above, Rosemarie says salvation of souls must be a priority. Persecution isn’t a foregone conclusion, I think; and there is room for more apostolates, if this experience from Monica Miller gives indication.

      “I am also director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society (www.prolifesociety.com). I’m pleased to say that, after an intense battle, we managed to keep a Planned Parenthood “mega-clinic” from opening in Auburn Hills, Michigan. We did this by talking to surrounding businesses and members of the city council and other local politicians; we also picketed and fought them through the courts. If we hadn’t done anything, they’d be open.”

      https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2013/03/23/a-cwr-interview-with-monica-migliorino-miller-author-of-abandoned/

  21. I have read that the only person that can excommunicate a head of state is the pope. Does anyone know if that is true or not?

  22. Abortion is an objective evil with no exception. (Jeopardy pregnancies are not “exceptions” and have their own specialized medical procedures.)

    President Biden cites “understanding in conscience” as a basis to support such an objective evil – which is flawed.

    Both things are wrong irrespective of any link to each other and are wrong when they are brought together.

    He has publicly asserted his contrary mind so that he is also therefore advertising that you can put consciences in the service of objective evil. These are third and fourth evils.

    He has to be told it is all wrong and that he must publicly retract when he has asserted and publicly assert that he will defend life to the full extents. Failing this he is excommunicated.

    Following the example of St. Ambrose and Emperor Theodosius, President Biden would have to repent and do penance. Ambrose told Theodosius, just as you copied David’s murderousness you must copy his repentance.

    In true law, President Biden would be disqualified from holding office from 1. personal criminality, 2. criminal enterprise and 3. moral incompetence.

  23. Sincere question to our bishops, individually or en masse: does ANY action or circumstance exist in your imagination that would require formal excommunication of a layman? Anything? Ad absurdum scenarios included.

    I sincerely ask because it is not clear whether we are debating an issue of KIND or DEGREE when it comes to extreme examples such as President Biden and Speaker Pelosi.

  24. By not opposing or correcting the President’s misunderstanding of the requirements for receiving Eucharist worthily, the Bishops have forfeited any moral voice they had to the President. Joe Biden has unwittingly become — for more the half the Catholics and virtually all the main stream media —- the moral voice of Catholicism in the U.S.

    President Biden might be be described as a spiritual village idiot.

  25. By not opposing or correcting the President’s misunderstanding of the requirements for receiving Eucharist worthily, the Bishops have forfeited any moral voice they had to the President. Joe Biden has unwittingly become — for more the half the Catholics and virtually all the main stream media —- the moral voice of Catholicism in the U.S.

    President Biden might best be described as a spiritual village idiot.

  26. The bishops are largely gutless, caring more about fitting in and not being criticized than in upholding the teachings of Christ. Even the fact that the people have to resort (dueling) petitions in Nauman’s case seems weird to me. Really, what does it matter what the voters think in this matter–upholding doctrine of the Church is the bishops’ vocation and job. Even in small things, to be honest, when I try to read for clarification of doctrine for something or another, I get more clarity from reading Eastern Orthodox writings. Catholic writers often resort to vagueness and circular answers. Orthodox come right out and say directly what they believe, whether it is explaining prayer, doctrine, or dog training. They are not afraid of being out of the loop. They don’t care if you “like” them. We need to stand up for our faith, and not worry what the “others” might think. And excommunicating Joe? Yep. Nancy, too.

  27. Look Rosemarie, and all you here who are single issue Catholics, no matter what your protestations and rationalizations are, you are in danger of falling into the pelegian heresy by thinking that you hold and control God’s grace and judge somebody worthy or worthy to receive them. You’re overstretching not because of faith but because of your political leanings. You think you are pro-lifers when you are just pro-birthers. The church’s teaching on abortion is that it is a preeminent but not the only issue Catholics should be engaged for the common good. The racists who resist Black Lives Matter ironically get the point of the real pro-life advocacy, that All Lives Matter, the unborn and the born, that the pro-life cause fights against all forces of death that deal pre-mature death from womb to tomb. I’d like to underline here how optically you single issue Catholics are similar to Protestants with their “faith alone,” and “bible alone” and you with your “abortion alone.”

    • “You think you are pro-lifers when you are just pro-birthers.”

      You continue to use this approach, which assumes knowledge you don’t possess, assumes a moral high ground you do not own, and is simply slanderous. I’ve already addressed it once before. If you continue along these lines, your comments will not be put through anymore.

    • Once again, popefrancisthegreater pushes the non-sequitur to the illogical extreme. And the ridiculous comparison to solo-scriptura.

      ‘Black Lives Matter’ determiness who are racists?!?

      Whom do you think you are talking to???

  28. Truth hurts! Isn’t this your cry to ban President Biden from communion rooted in this view that only abortion matters, that only abortion counts in one’s political engagement? This article by Miller betrays this mindset and likewise the alleluia choruses in this comment section. To bring the point of your threat to cancel… why? Are not the many disrespectful and disloyal Pope Francis bashers in the comment section of this media platform engaging in a similar fashion (in your words) “which assumes knowledge you don’t possess, assumes a moral high ground you do not own, and is simply slanderous.”?

    • It’s not truth to reduce pro-life to a negative label “single-issue”. It’s reductive. Reductive is part of the Pelagian monotype. Above, April 16 2021, I have 5 positions outlined that mark you out and which so far you haven’t satisfied and can’t dislodge. In less formal conversation we would say you demonstrate yourself your own intransigence you want others to have; and your blindness, since their activities are not about being “single issue” but manfully adapted to complex and demanding situations that are, by their nature, focused, time-consuming and intellectually and socially evolved. These situations are also intrinsically evil according to patterns that require their own kinds of attention. It’s true that oppression of the poor is one of the sins that cries to heaven -just like sodomy and Cain’s sin. But pro-life work is not against those parts of the teachings and does nothing contrary. You’ve given yourself a title you may feel obligated to live up to but the rest of us have no such inkling and this is quite in order for us and understandable you know.

    • Tone deaf, popefrancisthegreater.

      The grave sin of Scandal.

      How dense must you remain when you echo the Catholic-in-name-only talking points of the pro-abort ‘Catholic’ politician? Abortion is immediate death by definition and practice; currently, what other moral issue has such gravity in real time?

      Your ‘truth’ is subjective and poorly argued at that.

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