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Archbishop of D.C. says he'll serve holy communion to Biden, despite his abortion-rights views

Biden's stance on abortion has previously prevented him from receiving Holy Communion

Democrat Joe Biden, set to become on Jan. 20 the next U.S. president.
(CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Updated: November 25, 2020 - 2:11pm

Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory says he'll serve Holy Communion to Joe Biden, despite the Democratic politician's abortion-rights stance. 

Gregory, now in Rome where he will be made a cardinal on Saturday, also expressed hope that he and Biden, if he becomes the next U.S. president, can form a "conversational relationship" on the matter. 

"I hope it's a real dialogue, because I think that's the mantra of Pope Francis – that we should be a church in dialogue, even with those with whom we have some serious disagreements," Gregory told the Catholic News Service this week.

Biden received communion during his eight years as Barack Obama's vice president, which the archbishop said would be no different now. "I'm not going to veer from that," he said.

Gregory emphasized the importance of having "the capacity to have civil disagreements – serious disagreements, you know, really pointed disagreements – but done in such a way that the focus is on the argument, not on the demonization of the people with whom we disagree." 

Biden has called abortion an "essential health service." Last year, he was denied Holy Communion by a priest in South Carolina. Additionally, Cardinal Raymond Burke, a former Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, has called Biden a Catholic who is not in "good standing," and should be denied Holy Communion.

"A Catholic may not support abortion in any shape or form because it is one of the most grievous sins against human life, and has always been considered to be intrinsically evil," said Burke of Biden.

Burke has spoken out against Biden's relationship with the church on several occasions, criticizing his stances on marriage and family, in addition to abortion.

"I can’t imagine that he would present himself as a devout Catholic," Burke said. "He has a record which is unfortunately perfect in promoting the attack on the innocent defense of the unborn … He is also not correct on the issues with regard to marriage and the family. The great darkness in our nation comes from the wholesale slaughter of the unborn, the attack on the family, all this gender theory … and now the attack on religious freedom."