A US cardinal has said that Catholic politicians who support abortion should not receive communion.
In an interview with Catholic Action for Faith and Family, American prelate of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Joe Biden, the current Democratic nominee for president, was "not a Catholic in good standing and he should not approach to receive Holy Communion" due to his position on the issue.
Burke insisted that his assertion was "not a political statement."
"I don’t intend to get involved in recommending any candidate for office," he added, "but simply to state that 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 and therefore to in any way support the act is a mortal sin.”
The Cardinal, who formerly led the Archdiocese of St. Louis, said Biden has been "actively supporting procured abortion in our country" and "intends to make the practice of procured abortion available to everyone in the widest possible form and to repeal the restrictions on this practice which have been put in place.
“So, first of all, I would tell him not to approach Holy Communion out of charity toward him, because that would be a sacrilege, and a danger to the salvation of his own soul...But also he should not approach to receive Holy Communion because he gives scandal to everyone. Because if someone says ‘well, I’m a devout Catholic’ and at the same time is promoting abortion, it gives the impression to others that it’s acceptable for a Catholic to be in favour of abortion and of course it’s absolutely not acceptable. It never has been, it never will be.”
Joe Biden is a staunch advocate for women having the right to choose and a vocal supporter of nation-wide abortion access. He has been officially endorsed by leading pro-abortion organisations such the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) and service provider Planned Parenthood, who operate around 600 clinics across the country.
He hasn't always held that position on the issue, however. In 1974, just a year after the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, which effectively endowed women with a constitutional right to an abortion, Biden said he felt the ruling had gone "too far."
"I don't like the Supreme Court decision on abortion," he argued at the time. "I think it went too far. I don't think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body." Just prior to becoming Vice President, in his 2007 book Promises to Keep, Biden said he was sticking to a "middle-of-the-road" position on the issue, remaining "against partial birth abortion and federal funding" and seeking to "make it easier for scared young mothers to choose not to have an abortion". He did, however, say that he would "vote against a constitutional amendment that strips a woman of her right to make her own choice."
Over the years Biden has become increasingly supportive of Roe v. Wade, declaring at this year's Democratic National Committee gala: "I support Roe. I support a woman's right to choose under that Constitutional guaranteed provision. And quite frankly, I always will.
"I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to...exercise their constitutionally protected right."
President Trump, on the other hand, has been widely praised by pro-life groups for vowing to "protect the sanctity of life" and supporting a "near-total ban" on the practice.
Trump delivered a personal address at this year's 'March for Life' event in Washington D.C., declaring that he was "pro-life in every respect”.