Pope Francis, Biden, and Communion

Peter holds the keys. What he binds on earth is bound even in heaven. What he looses on earth is loosed even in heaven.

Pope Francis recently told Biden to continue receiving Communion; therefore, he can licitly receive Communion. However, his conscience — speaking more generally now — is judged by God, not the Pope. And when Biden stands before God in the particular judgment, he will answer before God for the choices of his whole life.

It is not for us to second guess the Pope, not for us to judge the Pope in any decision, not for us to put our judgment above that of the Vicar of Christ. I’m so tired of self-exalting internet experts constantly judging and condemning the Supreme Pontiff. They will be judged more severely than Biden.

Jesus said to them: “Amen I say to you, that tax collectors and prostitutes shall precede you, into the kingdom of God.”

The Pharisees of today, who constantly accuse the Pope, but are manifestly guilty of heresy and schism as well as of gravely scandalizing the faithful, malice, and pride — they will be judged more harshly than Sodom and Gomorrah.

{10:10} But into whatever city you have entered and they have not received you, going out into its main streets, say:
{10:11} ‘Even the dust which clings to us from your city, we wipe away against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has drawn near.’
{10:12} I say to you, that in that day, Sodom will be forgiven more than that city will be.
{10:13} Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that have been wrought in you, had been wrought in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in haircloth and ashes.
{10:14} Yet truly, Tyre and Sidon will be forgiven more in the judgment than you will be.
{10:15} And as for you, Capernaum, who would be exalted even up to Heaven: you shall be submerged into Hell.
{10:16} Whoever hears you, hears me. And whoever despises you, despises me. And whoever despises me, despises him who sent me.”

How dare they reject the Roman See, while making themselves out to be a replacement for the Pope.

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15 Responses to Pope Francis, Biden, and Communion

  1. MichaelT says:

    I appreciate you weighing in on this. It’s why I have come to rely on your impartial and objective perspective, yet ready willingness to subject even that to legitimate authority within the Catholic Church without hesitation. Thank you for being a faithful Catholic and setting a good example.

  2. Penanoke says:

    Sorry, here’s where you and the pope are grievously wrong. Biden has publicly supported and enacted grave evils, such as when he endorsed same-sex marriage and served as the official government witness for a same-sex marriage. He has publicly endorsed and enacted expansive abortion legislation and policies. In so doing, he has committed manifest, objective, grave sin and caused scandal among Catholics for which he is obstinately unrepentant.

    If the pope indeed encouraged Biden to continue receiving Communion, it should have been in the context of advising him to make a good Confession and amend his life. Until Biden has publicly recanted his public stances and actions gravely contrary to the Gospel and contrary to Catholic moral teaching, pastors are entirely within their rights and have a duty to invoke Canon 915 and withhold Communion from Biden.

    The pope has not made a binding declaration, if he even said what Biden says he said. Their conversation and its reported content changes nothing and solves nothing. It’s just the pope and Biden attempting to influence the deliberations at the upcoming USCCB meeting at which the bishops will discuss their draft document on the Eucharist. The pope is attempting to establish an unofficial policy. It doesn’t work that way. You should be smart enough to know the difference.

    If the pope wants to change Canon 915, he can. He hasn’t.

    If the pope wants to announce publicly and declare officially that no pastor of souls is to invoke Canon 915 against Joe Biden, he can. He hasn’t.

    So the pope hasn’t done anything to exercise his authority in this case. He has bound nothing and he has loosed nothing. He and Biden want to make it look like the pope has exercised his authority, and you fell for it. I’m sure many left-leaning American bishops will fall for it too, or at least use it as a cover for not fulfilling their pastoral obligations.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Pope Francis is the Supreme Judge of all the faithful. He has the power to bind and to loose. He permits Biden to receive Communion, so he may receive. Whether Biden is excommunicated in God’s eyes, God knows.

  3. Memento Mori (@mementomori_mt) says:

    Could you comment on the statue of Martin Luther in the Vatican?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The statue does not imply support for the errors of Luther. It is a way to reach out to Lutherans and to acknowledge any real contributions made by Luther, such as his vernacular translation of the Bible.

  4. SK says:

    It seems like you are incredibly uncharitable to Catholics who are being hurt by this decision. You shouldn’t group conservative Catholics in with Papal accusers. This is not the same scenario as the pachemama or civil union things. This is not taking Pope Francis’s words out of context. To most Catholics, this decision seems to directly contradict the words of the Bible, which says that unworthily receiving Communion is a sin against His Body and Blood. Did Peter not himself have moral failures? Then why can’t Pope Francis have those as well? We’re supposed to be illogical and ignore a failure when it happens? With so much confusion in the world, why can the Pope not at least clarify why a Catholic living in objective unrepentant public mortal sin can continue receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, if he did in fact say that? Who is saying that they reject the Papacy for this anyways? Why can’t we disagree with the Pope’s comment that quite literally contradicts church law? You’re reaching with those Bible verses by trying to apply them to people who actually point out the Pope’s objective moral failure here. I know, there are the Catholics like Taylor Marshall and Vigano who have went rogue, and I don’t agree with them on how they talk about the Pope. Saying that we are the Pharisees of today is grossly uncharitable, for simply wanting a reasonable explanation for why a public unrepentant mortal sinner can receive Communion, when we think that he should be excommunicated. Is the USCCB also a bunch of Pharisees for not wanting to give Communion to politicians that support abortion?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I don’t put all conservatives (of which I am one) or traditionalists in the same group. But more and more the leaders of the Catholic right are turning against the Church Herself. This leaves some faithful traditionalists in a difficult situation.

      You can disagree with the Pope’s decision on Biden, but he does have the authority. And I object to the internet attitude of judging every single decision of the Pope on every topic. It was never like that before the internet.

  5. Robert L Fastiggi says:

    Dear Ron,
    You are correct about the authority of the Pope. Some people, though, are maintaining a healthy skepticism about what President Biden reported the Holy Father as saying:This article raises the question of credibility: :https://www.catholicleague.org/what-pope-said-to-biden-is-unconfirmed/

    I suspect the Holy See will neither confirm nor deny what President Biden reported.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Thanks for that point. The Pope may well have made a more nuanced statement, or perhaps a general statement about Communion. Biden, perhaps not knowing Catholic teaching well, may have drawn a wrong conclusion.

  6. Matt says:

    [1] Your are Catholic and own a rental and rent it to an unmarried couple? [2] Your live-in housekeeper left her husband and children and you pay her for services? [3] You support same-sex marriage. [4] You support birth control and use it to limit number of kids. [5] You purchase and listen to music that denigrates females.

    You are then indirectly supporting gravely immoral sins. This applies the same for Biden. None of us are worthy to receive communion. However, the communion may heal us and open our eyes.

    • Ron Conte says:

      1. moral under principles of cooperation
      2. same answer as 1
      3. that is contrary to Church teaching
      4. use of birth control is intrinsically evil
      5. immoral and contrary to any well-informed conscience

  7. Justino says:

    I have a hard time understanding this. The Pope in 2014 strongly condemned members of the mafia & justly excommunicated them. Yet Biden could continue receiving communion with no consequences despite his ongoing propagation of “abortion on demand” paid for by the US taxpayers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ron, in Matt’s question above concerning number 5 I am confused with your answer. I thought that to listen to such music because you like the beat or whatever would be moral, assuming of course that said person recognizes and rejects what is being said in such a song? Am I wrong? What about songs that glorify drug use etc… If I listen to said song because I like the melody and beat but I genuinely disagree with what is being said.?

    • Ron Conte says:

      that may or may not be morally acceptable depending on the circumstances. With a good intention, and when the act is not intrinsically evil, the morality depends on the totality of “the totality of the foreseeable consequences of that act for all persons concerned.”

  9. NightCrawler99999 says:

    1) I believe Francis is the legitimate pope and has all the authority provided to the office of the pope.

    2) Despite holding the keys, I have not yet seen an instance where the Roman Pontiff decides he is not constrained by what we have in Scripture and by extension Sacred Tradition when applying his authority to “bind and loose”, otherwise we would have female priests already, for example. This was made clear by St. John Paul II and the CDF under his pontificate, explaining the constraint the Church sees placed on Her by the Lord, which of course extends to a constraint on the Pope.

    3) I believe many feel this is what is happening here. Why wouldn’t the Roman Pontiff just decree that everyone can accept communion while not being in a state of grace? Under your argument, he could easily loosen what Christ tells us about marriage. There would be no problem going back to what Aquinas and others prior to Bl Pius IX claimed regarding ensoulment, and abortion would no longer be an intrinsically grave evil before the first trimester. Think of all the souls that could be saved if they were no longer damned to Hell after dying with such mortal sin on their souls! Where is the limit to what the Holy Father can loose? He is supreme after all, let him use it! But he is supposed to be constrained.

    4) There is a limit. We believe the pope cannot err in his teaching authority regarding faith or morals. Teaching is not just a document, or a decree, but it is also an example that is set. We claim he is constrained by the Holy Spirit, but the faithful are learning confusion and dissent from his example. We have to go with what we see and experience, as Christ Himself unfortunately is not descending down to personally settle these matters between his Vicar and the Church Militant.

    5) Of course you will say these hypotheticals I depict are absolutely against the faith, and pull out twenty encyclicals, council teachings, all cross-referenced by your favorite Doctors of The Church. I will agree with you, and many others will as well. Then maybe next week you will wake up and the pope will tell someone else something is ok that goes against Sacred Tradition, one of the three legs of the imaginary three legged stool. And then we will say what? That it is ok because the Pontiff is supreme and has the power to bind and loose? Or we can search for a way to claim it is an offhand comment and disagree while still claiming submission to the Holy Father?

    6) What about all the souls that died before who were obstinate in those same sins? The rock was not set on the surface of the ocean. A sin for one must be a sin for all, for all of eternity, not just for me but not for Biden, or anyone else that seeks salvation. I guarantee if I go to my bishop tomorrow and say I hate abortion but support Roe v. Wade I will be told I am in error and should not accept Communion until I change. The rest of the faithful do not have the ability to individually go to the Holy Father and have him tell us we are good Catholics and can accept Communion if we hold this position. If we see him do it to one the rest of the faithful will expect that it applies to them as well.

    7) Here is a little exercise: Pius IX condemned Socialism and Communism in his encyclical Nostis Et Nobiscum. We currently have a pope who while not a Marxist, is clearly a Socialist, and encourages world governments to “plunder, steal, and usurp…property” (somewhat loosely quoted I admit, but “Nostis Et Nobiscum”, paragraph 18). Yes redistribution of wealth via universal basic income is Socialist, and is plunder and theft, no different than Robin Hood. Pius IX uses the term theft, so Socialism breaks a commandment (Thou shalt not steal). Which pope is wrong? Please note that claiming a pope is wrong about something like politics or economic model is not equivalent to judging him, and I can even accept that Francis is ignorant of this encyclical, so he lacks full knowledge that Socialism is grave matter. Regardless, I clearly state that am not his judge.

    8) You make some strong observations and comments concerning staunch Internet experts and/or “traditionalists”, especially those who are clerics and their Papal accusations, etc. In all charity, remember that you are in the same bucket as the rest of the Internet experts. Their clerical state does not protect them from their errors, but please consider that your lack of clerical state does not afford you any more defense or excuse. Every soul on this Earth, – you and I included – will someday find their favorite issue and say “not me, them!”

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