Former Vice President Joe Biden was not allowed to participate in communion at the Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina on Sunday. Father Robert Morey told the Florence Morning News he denied Biden, a lifelong Catholic, from participating in the Holy Communion because of his stance on abortion.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey told the Florence Morning News. “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.”
Morey said that his role as a priest is to minister to those in his care, even if the situation Is tough.
“I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers,” the priest said.
Biden's stance on abortion has been called into question. For years he supported the Hyde Amendment, which prevents federal funds from being used for abortion, except for instances of rape, incest or when the mother's life is in jeopardy. He flip-flopped this summer, saying he would overturn the Hyde Amendment and require taxpayers to pay for abortion. His position change came after other 2020 Democrats chided him for his position.
“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right," Biden said back in June.
During the 2012 vice presidential debate, Biden argued that he's personally opposed to abortion.
"I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here," he said, referring to then-Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan. "I do not believe we have a right to tell women that they can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor."
According to CNN, Biden isn't the first presidential or vice presidential candidate to be denied Holy Communion over their support for abortion.
In 2004, Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former St. Louis archbishop, said he would not give communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. He said his view, which was controversial at the time, was that the sacrament must be protected from someone "who knows that he or she is unworthy and yet presumes to come forward and to take the Holy Eucharist."
In 2008, Bishop Joseph Francis Martino of Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Biden would be denied communion in the Scranton diocese over his support for abortion rights.
In 2016, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, then the Democratic vice presidential nominee, faced criticism from individual priests over his positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and gender equality.
The Catholic Church believes life begins at conception and life must be respected and protected, which is why they are opposed to abortion.