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FLORENCE, S.C. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Faithful Catholics are praising a South Carolina priest for denying Holy Communion to liberal pro-abortion presidential candidate Joe Biden.
On Sunday ex-vice president and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden was refused Holy Communion by Fr. Robert Morey when attending Mass at St. Anthony Church in Florence, South Carolina. Word spread quickly when Church goers witnessing the event shared news of it on social media.
Fr. Morey responded to the reactions on social media in a press release,
Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to Former Vice President Joe Biden. 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. As a priest, it is my responsibility to minister to those souls entrusted to my care, and I must do so even in the most difficult situations. I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers.
The Biden campaign refused to comment, calling it a "personal" matter.
Church law declares that individuals "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." The law declares:
[A] person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or to receive the Body of the Lord without prior sacramental confession unless a grave reason is present and there is no opportunity of confessing; in this case the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible. (Canon 916)
Catholics throughout social media praised Fr. Morey while liberal Catholics criticized him, quoting Pope Francis saying the Eucharist "is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."
Conservative commentator and news correspondent Jack Posobiec weighed in, "Christians understand that we pray for Joe Biden that God softens his hardened heart on abortion. The priest did not deny him communion as punishment, but to protect him from committing grievous sacrilege by receiving the sacrament of Holy Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin."
Catholic commentator Patrick Coffin tweeted, "Finally, a priest who loves [Joe Biden] enough to prevent him from committing (another) mortal sin. I pray Father Morey will be backed, and won't have to see the underside of the bus."
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, supported Fr. Morey in a press release, saying, "I hope more priests will follow his lead by refusing the sacrament to politicians who not only support abortion but who advocate for taxpayer funding for the murder of children."
In June, Springfield Illinois Bp. Thomas Paprocki made a decree banning all pro-abortion Illinois politicians from receiving Holy Communion unless they publicly repent of their abortion advocacy.
"The Eucharist is the most sacred aspect of our Catholic faith," the bishop said in a diocesan press release:
As sacred Scripture warns, "Whoever eats unworthily of the bread and drinks from the Lord's cup makes himself guilty of profaning the body and of the blood of the Lord." To support legislation that treats babies in the womb like property, allowing for their destruction for any reason at any time, is evil. It's my hope and prayer these lawmakers reconcile themselves to the Church so they can receive Communion.
But support for Fr. Morey's enforcement of Church law is not something Catholics have come to expect even from Catholic prelates.
In January, Catholic New York governor Andrew Cuomo passed one of the most pro-abortion laws in the United States. Outraged pro-life advocates and faithful Catholics demanded Cdl. Timothy Dolan excommunicate Cuomo for his abortion activism despite being Catholic.
Dolan's representative argued, "[E]xcommunication should not be used as a weapon. Too often, I fear, those who call for someone's excommunication do so out of anger or frustration," he said.
"Second," he added, "notable canon lawyers have said that, under canon law, excommunication is not an appropriate response to a politician who supports or votes for legislation advancing abortion."
Pro-sodomy Jesuit Fr. James Martin slammed his fellow priest's defense of Church law, saying the denial of Holy Communion to public supporters and promoters of abortion "is a bad idea," adding, "If you deny the sacrament to those who support abortion, then you must also deny it to those who support the death penalty. How about those who don't help the poor? How about [the papal encyclical] Laudato Si? Where does it end?"