Nearly three-quarters of church-going Catholics believe public officials who oppose Church teaching should not receive Communion, according to a new poll.
CatholicVote poll results released Tuesday show 74 percent of Catholics who regularly attend Mass believe that officials like President Joe Biden and House speaker Nancy Pelosi who go against the church’s teaching on abortion and other important issues should not receive Communion.
A large majority of practicing Catholics agreed that politicians who do so are “hypocritical,” while 83 percent believe the officials create confusion and disunity.
“Catholic politicians who advocate for policies considered ‘gravely immoral’ create confusion and discord among believers,” CatholicVote President Brian Burch said in a statement. “Catholics’ concern about the flouting of Catholic social teaching by public leaders is less about politics and more about the integrity of the faith, along with reverence and respect due the Holy Eucharist.
“This polling data should bolster the confidence of Catholic bishops as they prepare to discuss how to recover an understanding of the beauty and richness of the sacrament – among all Catholics,” he said. “The data is very clear: Bishops have an obligation to act.”
The survey results come as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is set to convene a national meeting this week to discuss whether to tell Biden and other high-profile Catholic politicians not to receive Holy Communion at Mass if they continue to be public advocates of abortion.
“Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said earlier this year. “It can create confusion. . . . How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?”
The USCCB has previously said that Catholics who knowingly reject Church teaching in their personal or professional lives should refrain from Communion.
However, the Vatican has reportedly privately warned the American bishops against adopting a policy that would deny public officials and elected leaders access to Communion, according to the New York Times.
A top Vatican leader reportedly sent a letter to the USCCB in May, calling on the bishops to exercise caution in considering denying Communion to politicians, the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) reported.
Yet USCCB President Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles has pushed forward with the efforts, deciding against postponing the discussion this week.
Last month, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said that priests should deny communion to pro-abortion Catholic public figures who “are unwilling or unable to abandon” their “advocacy for abortion.”
“If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” the archbishop told Catholic public figures. “To publicly affirm the Catholic faith while at the same time publicly rejecting one of its most fundamental teachings is simply dishonest.”
Cordileone’s rebuke of public figures who support abortion came in a 17-page letter titled “Before I Formed You in the Womb I Knew You.” He did not name any such figures, though one of the archdiocese’s most famous parishioners, Pelosi, is a longtime abortion advocate.
Biden also calls himself a pro-abortion Catholic, despite the Church’s teachings on the issue.
“I join other bishops in voicing our dismay at President Biden’s aggressive support of abortion as he also flaunts his self-proclamation that he is a devout Catholic,” Bishop Joseph Strickland of Texas said earlier this year. “A devout Catholic does not support an anti-life agenda. I pray for his stony heart to be converted.”