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Joe Biden will attend church despite Catholic bishops’ plan to deny communion as White House shuts down abortion questions

President previously opposed abortion but supports women’s right and government funding to enable it

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 22 June 2021 00:38 BST
Jen Psaki abruptly cuts off reporters questioning Joe Biden's stance on abortion

The White House said Joe Biden will attend mass despite Catholic church moves that could prevent the president from receiving Communion due to his support of abortion rights.

Press secretary Jen Psaki shut down reporters asking for clarification on the president’s view of abortion following the US Conference of Catholic Bishops vote to formalize a position on politicians who defy church doctrine.

Asked at Monday’s daily briefing if Mr Biden believes a 15-week, unborn baby is a human being, Ms Psaki snubbed the reporter’s question and instead expressed the president’s support for women’s rights.

"Are you asking me if the president supports a woman’s right to choose, he does," she said before quickly moving onto the next reporter with a "Go ahead".

When pressed on the issue, Ms Psaki said the president is a "strong man of faith" who goes to church almost every weekend, as seen during their recent trip to Europe, and that he would continue to do so.

The group of Catholic bishops voted last week to draft formal language on the Eucharist and whether politicians and public figures who support abortion, or defy other core teachings, should receive Communion.

"It’s personal to him, he doesn’t see it through a political prism and we’re not going to comment otherwise on the inner workings of the Catholic church," Ms Psaki said.

Mr Biden commented on the inner workings of the Catholic church when asked about the 168-55 vote on Friday, saying it’s a private matter but that he didn’t think it was going to happen.

The secret vote was held as Catholics across the country expressed confusion by the president’s devout Catholicism while simultaneously advancing “the most radical pro-abortion agenda in our history," Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, told Reuters.

The formal language would be voted on in November, though the document would be non-binding and the decision on whether to give the president Communion would be up to individual bishops.

Ms Psaki said that the president’s faith was personal and that, like many Americans, he didn’t see it through a political prism.

"So I would expect that he would continue to attend church as he has for many, many years," she said.

When asked if Mr Biden realized his stance on abortion runs contradictory to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ms Psaki again shut down the line of questioning.

"I think we’re going to move onto the next question because I’ve just answered that and it’s personal," she said before moving quickly to the next reporter with a "Go ahead”.

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