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Biden Takes Communion in Rome, with Pope’s Blessing

I had a cookie for breakfast. President Joe Biden had a Communion wafer and wine last night in Rome:

Joe Biden received communion while attending Mass on Saturday evening in the American church of Rome, a day after the U.S. president met Pope Francis and said later that the pontiff had told him he is a “good Catholic” who can receive the sacrament.

The Mass and Biden’s statement beforehand widened a gulf between Francis and conservative U.S. bishops who want to deny him the right to receive communion because of Biden’s support for abortion rights.

A person inside the church on Saturday told Reuters the president, who attended the Mass sitting in the back of the church with his wife Jill, received communion [Jeff Mason, “Biden Receives Communion at Rome Mass, a Day After Meeting Pope,” Reuters, 2021.10.30].

President Biden says the Bishop of Rome himself, Pope Francis, told him his continued communing is o.k.:

Biden and the pope held an unusually long 1 hour and 15 minute meeting at the Vatican as a debate raged back in the United States about the divisive issue.

Asked if the topic of abortion came up, Biden said: “No it didn’t. It came up — we just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion,” Biden told reporters.

The president, who goes to weekly Mass regularly and keeps a picture of the pope behind his desk in the Oval Office, has said he is personally opposed to abortion but cannot impose his views as an elected leader [Jeff Mason and Philip Pullella, “Biden Says Pope Thinks He Is a ‘Good Catholic’, Further Fuelling U.S. Abortion Debate,” Reuters, 2021.10.29].

Pope Francis says abortion is murder but has admonished priests that they must approach the issue pastorally, not politically. (Hmm… what was that politician Kristi Noem said about using her elected position to pretend she’s a pastor?)


  1. Jackilope 2021-10-31 10:48

    Recovering Catholic here. The Catholic Church has to answer for abuses of post birth indigenous lives buried on church / school grounds — certainly those responsible or turning blind eyes still got the sacrament. Moving around / enabling abuse of pedophile priests who preyed on post birth lives is something else leaders have to answer for. What about leaders allowed the sacrament who wage war and care more about corporate profits than denying healthcare, living wages, and clean air and water & food for pre and post birth people?

    Organized religion & politicians claiming to be pro life while oppressing God’s creation are hypocrites if they hang all their pious puffery on the singular and very narrow topic of abortion without stepping back and seeing how anti pro life and dignity of all they really are.

  2. Richard Schriever 2021-10-31 11:08

    Easier to defend imaginary life to real life. One can imagine an imaginary life to be anything ones desires it to be. Real life might be disagreeably beyond one’s control.

  3. larry kurtz 2021-10-31 11:09

    Thou art God, I am God, all that groks is God.’ The Prophet never asserted that he was the last of all prophets nor did he claim to have said all there was to say. Submission to God’s will is not to be a robot, incapable of choice and thus of sin. Submission can include—does include—utter responsibility for the fashion in which I, and each of us, shape the universe. It is ours to turn into a heavenly garden . . . or to rend and destroy.” He smiled. “‘With God all things are possible,’ if I may borrow—except the one Impossible. God cannot escape Himself, He cannot abdicate His own total responsibility—He forever must remain submissive to His own will. Islam remains—He cannot pass the buck. It is His—mine . . . yours . .

    Robert Heinlein, Church of All Worlds

    The Roman Catholic Church is a criminal cult created to advance patriarchical imperialism. Transubstantiation is ritual cannibalism the Church used to convert pagans including Clovis I, King of the Franks.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-10-31 14:02

    The SD Bishops declare that “public order must be respected” in regards to vaccine mandates, by employers.
    Bringing a deadly virus into a shared workspace is far from “respectful”.
    The Bishops say, “GET THE VACCINE”, kinda.

    -We have the right to freely follow our conscience. We must not be forced to act contrary to our conscience, i.e., to be compelled to do something we believe to be wrong. Nor must we be prevented from acting according to our consciences, especially in religious matters, provided that just public order be respected. –
    The Most Reverend Donald E. DeGrood
    – Bishop of Sioux Falls
    The Most Reverend Peter M. Muhich
    – Bishop of Rapid City

  5. Mark Anderson 2021-10-31 17:30

    You know the US Bishops protect their pedophiles but don’t like Biden, what can you say?

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-31 18:11

    Porter, too many of those followers mistake “whatever the heck I want to do” for “conscience”. They lack the Christian discernment their bishops’ language presumes.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-10-31 18:15

    President Biden’s position reflects the more difficult response that Richard says most anti-abortion shouters eschew. The shouters can smugly proclaim a commitment to life without lifting a finger to help the women who must live with the consequences of that political advocacy. President Biden is working on policies to help parents raise children and live healthier lives. Biden’s political practice is much more Christian than the angry shouting from his opponents.

  8. Francis Schaffer 2021-10-31 18:59

    Thank you for the transubstantiation comment. Many people including Catholics don’t know that at consecration the bread and wine retain the appearance of bread and wine, yet become the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ. Kind of creepy for me when I ponder on it.

  9. Francis Schaffer 2021-10-31 19:10

    I believe Roe vs. Wade was about privacy rights. Seems like HIPAA should extend to anyone seeking medical care. Another curious catholic teaching is on ensoulment. There is not a definitive teaching on when a person receives their soul. Many catholics incorrectly claim life begins at conception, yet without a soul is there life? Also in Genesis when God created Adam it was from dust and God had to breathe life into Adam for him to become a living soul. Of course this is subject to interpretation and version of your Bible
    Just some musings from a man whose Catholicism is in remission.

  10. John 2021-10-31 19:52

    Isis in a different burka – looking for someone else to subjugate. Religion is so medieval.

  11. larry kurtz 2021-11-01 10:13

    Catholicism is hope like gonorrhea is charity. That whole “abortion is murder” thang is how these sects who base their creeds on superstition raise money to pay hush money and settle lawsuits.

    Even as membership in the sect cascades to record lows the extreme white wing of bishops in the United States wants to deny Communion to Americans who support reproductive rights including President Joe Biden. Recall a similar diktat threatened former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle with excommunication. Under a not so secret agreement with President Biden’s career criminal predecessor the international crime syndicate that is the Roman Catholic Church got some $3.5 billion tax free under the Paycheck Protection Program to continue paying down lawsuits for its ongoing sex abuse scandals despite assets of an estimated $30 billion.

    Without butts in the pews the Rapid City Diocese even received almost $400,000 in aid from the Trump Organization. US Catholic voters were evenly split between President Biden and Herr Trump. The Roman church has been behind the seizures of hundreds of American Indian children in violation of the Indian Child Welfare Act where Catholic congregations and South Dakota’s legislature have engaged in obstruction of justice for decades.

  12. Lottie 2021-11-01 10:32

    Our society was built on money and it guides people down this path of life. I was raised a Catholic but don’t attend like i should because if the pandemic. As a native American i have learned to not judge everybody as being evil, so with the church. I know theres alot of bad people but i know good also. We all live with disease and fight to survive. I think every religion and race has bad and good sides. God help us all.

  13. bearcreekbat 2021-11-01 10:39

    Franis is correct in part that “Roe vs. Wade was about privacy rights.” It is also about the constitutional limitations on the power of local governments. Some folks argue that local governments should have the power to do anything, while others argue that the protections of the constitution should be liberally construed to limit the power of local government bureaucrats.

    Today’s conservatives often appear schizophrenic in their approach to limitations of the power of local government when it comes to individual constitutional rights. For example, the SCOTUS has now ruled that we have a constitutional right of privacy and a constitutional right to own and carry guns, even though the plain language of the Constitution arguably give us neither right (e.g. the language of the 2nd Amendment only gives a right to bears arms in connection with a “A well regulated Militia” never once explicitly stating a right of private ownership for personal purposes; and the language of the 4th amendment protects a right of privacy by explicitly limiting government power only to searches and seizures, with no mention of family planning decisions). When it comes to yielding the power of government to restrict firearms conservative loudly object, but when it comes to family planning decisions conservatives are anxious to abandon all limits on the government’s power over such personal and individual matters.

    And while conservatives want the freedom to practice their own personal religons, especially concerning their belief in the beneficial nature of guns and to commit certain types of killings, they encourage the denial of religious freedom to others in family planning matters. So is it any wonder that some conservatives argue our current President should not have both the religious freedom to oppose abortion personally, as well as the religious freedom to believe that other good people may have unique circumstances that lead them to make decisions that are different than the decisions he might make in family planning?

  14. Jake 2021-11-01 10:47

    So right on, Lottie!

  15. Richard Schriever 2021-11-01 10:57

    Lottie – your perception of the duality of human nature is extensible to the God of the bible, which has both its good and evil elements. Note how many of its own commandments against sin that God has itself violated. The very conception of Christ was adultery – for example. So many ‘followers” of the Christian organizational preaching fail to really examine the contents of them. If they did – they would discover we remain reflections of the nature of that God – being the essence of both good and evil. I postulate that the “Christ experience” – God’s experience of what it’s like to be human in the face of God’s own self-contradictory behavior – is what drives that God to be forgiving. I.E., the self-realization by the God of what a jerk it (God) is.

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