Representative Ted Lieu launched a rant over the weekend against the Catholic Church, calling American bishops “hypocrites” and “weak supporters” for seeking to update communion guidelines that could reprimand politicians like President Biden and President Nancy Pelosi for supporting abortion policies.
The California Catholic Democrat called on several Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Attorney General William Barr, for apparently violating Catholic Church beliefs, but was not threatened with denial of communion like pro-choice Democrats. Lieu said such hypocrisy could doom church membership.
Lieu then dared the church to deny him communion for his political beliefs in support of access to abortion, couples’ right to divorce, same-sex marriage and infertility treatment.
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“Next time I go to church, I challenge you to deny me Communion,” Lieu tweeted.
The Catholic Church is pro-life, which means that it opposes abortion as well as the death penalty. The church also has a history of opposition to birth control and in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment for infertile couples. Divorces also cannot remarry in church without the annulment of their first marriage.
Lieu asked why the Catholic Church was not targeting Republicans who support the death penalty or those who have broken marriage vows.
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“[Y]ou are hypocrites, “Lieu tweeted to the bishops.” You didn’t tell Bill Barr, a Catholic, not to go to Communion when he extended the killing of human beings to the death penalty. You are openly a partisan and you should be ashamed of yourself. Another reason you are losing your membership. “
Twitter’s rant is the result of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voting overwhelmingly this week to draft a formal document on the meaning of the Eucharist after a controversial debate over whether Biden and other politicians who support abortion policies are worthy of Communion at Mass.
The language of the new Communion document is not finalized, but it should rebuke Catholic politicians and other public figures who disobey Church teaching on abortion and other core beliefs. At least two-thirds of bishops are expected to vote to adopt the new language at their next gathering scheduled for November.
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The decision of whether Biden, or any other politician, should be allowed to receive Communion would still be left to individual bishops, as is the norm for all faithful, but a new document could inform those decisions.
Asked about the Catholic bishops’ decision on Friday and whether he would be denied Communion, Biden said: “This is a private matter and I don’t think it will happen.”
Lieu, a military veteran and impeachment official in one of former President Trump’s Senate trials, wondered how the bishops’ actions would affect other practitioners, including those who had abortions, who are divorced and who are homosexual.
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“You should be deeply ashamed of having politicized the sacred sacrament of Communion as a weapon,” Lieu tweeted at the USCCB.
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