A prominent Catholic Church archbishop has stated that President Joe Biden should not be considered a “devout” Catholic due to his pro-choice public policy stances.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made his remarks in an interview with The Catholic World Report published Saturday.
“The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching,” said Naumann.
“It would be a more honest approach from him to say he disagreed with his Church on this important issue and that he was acting contrary to Church teaching.”
Nauman went on to tell CWR that he believes when Biden “says he is a devout Catholic, we bishops have the responsibility to correct him.”
“Although people have given this president power and authority, he cannot define what it is to be a Catholic and what Catholic moral teaching is,” Naumann continued.
“What he is doing now is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people. He’s declaring that he’s Catholic, and is going to force people to support abortion through their tax dollars. The bishops need to correct him, as the president is acting contrary to the Catholic faith.”
When asked his opinion about a Florida priest denying Biden communion in 2019 over the then candidate’s stance on abortion, Naumann said that he believes Biden “has the responsibility not to present himself for Holy Communion.”
“When Catholics receive the Eucharist, they are acknowledging the Real Presence of Jesus, and also belief in the teachings of the Church,” explained the archbishop.
“President Biden doesn’t believe in the Church’s teachings on the Sanctity of Human Life, and he should not put the priest in the situation where he has to decide whether or not to allow him to receive the Eucharist. He should know that after 78 years as a Catholic.”
Last year, Biden became the second Roman Catholic in United States history to be elected president, the first being John F. Kennedy in 1960.
During the election season, the Biden campaign touted their candidate’s Catholic beliefs, noting that he regularly attended Mass and often spoke about his beliefs to others.
A campaign ad released last September involved a woman who belonged to Biden’s parish in Wilmington, Delaware, speaking about his beliefs and practices.
“Joe Biden has been part of our parish for more than 40 years,” she explained in the ad last year. “Even now, when Joe’s back home, we see him at Mass on Sunday. You can tell how important Joe’s faith is to him. It’s what motivates everything: Joe’s beliefs, his values, the kind of president Joe would be.”
Also ahead of the election, Biden maintained in an op-ed for The Christian Post that biblical values, including the commands to love God and to love one's neighbor as oneself, "have kept me grounded in what matters most."
"My Catholic faith drilled into me a core truth – that every person on earth is equal in rights and dignity, because we are all beloved children of God," he wrote.
"As Christians, I know there is much more that unites us than divides us."
Critics of this faith promotion have pointed to Biden’s position on abortion, which contradicts official Catholic teaching. This has included Biden promising to codify the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
Soon after taking office in January, Biden issued an executive order rescinding the Mexico City Policy, which prohibited funding of overseas family planning groups that advocated for or performed abortions.
In January, Naumann and Bishop David J. Malloy, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a joint statement denouncing the rescinding of the policy.
“It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations. This Executive Order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching,” read the statement in part.
“We and our brother bishops strongly oppose this action. We urge the president to use his office for good, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including unborn children.”