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Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Joins List of Politicians Denied Communion for Pro-Choice Beliefs

Joe Biden (Photo: AP Photo)

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden isn't talking about reports that a Catholic priest at Saint Anthony Church in Florence, South Carolina denied Communion to him Sunday because of his support for abortion rights.

The Rev. Robert Morey said in a statement, "Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse holy communion to former Vice President Joe Biden. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of church teaching." 

Biden told MSNBC on Tuesday that he wouldn't discuss the reports.

This is not the first incident where Communion has been withheld from a politician who advocates abortion. 

In 2007, Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin told former congressman Patrick J. Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights.

Bishop Tobin said, "He said he was a practicing Catholic, that he embraced the faith and the fact that he didn't accept all the teachings of the church didn't make him, in his words, less of a Catholic. In fact, in a way, it does."

Tobin had said though that the move was meant to be confidential before Kennedy made it public.  

Ten years ago, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput said politicians who won't oppose abortion should neither call themselves Catholic nor take Communion. He said the Catholic church's pro-life beliefs are more important than "the vanity or hurt feelings of an individual Catholic governor or senator or even vice president."

In 2004, then Roman Catholic Archbishop Raymond Burke refused Communion to former senator and presidential candidate John Kerry for his pro-choice stances. 

Lifesite News reported the response from the Kerry Campaign team was unapologetic. Kim Molstre, a Kerry campaign spokeswoman, said, "The archbishop has the right to deny Communion to whoever he wants, but Senator Kerry respectfully disagrees with him on the issue of choice."

"I would have to admonish him not to present himself for Communion," said Burke. "I might give him a blessing or something."

Burke didn't just single out Democrats. He also denied Communion to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2007, a Republican, for supporting abortion rights, according to Catholic News Agency.

"I'm not running for religious office," Giuliani said. "I'm not going to debate the opinion of an archbishop of the Catholic Church or an official of the Protestant Church or a rabbi. That's an interpretation of religion. They're entitled to their interpretation of religion."

Also in 2008, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann advised former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to refrain from receiving for her pro-abortion position.

Naumann directed Sebelius to take "the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion."

Instead, Sebelius decided to work against religious rights as secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services in the Obama administration, attempting to force a group of nuns to provide healthcare coverage for abortion-causing drugs.  

The belief of the Catholic Church has historically been that "abortion willed, either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."   

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