Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden was denied communion at a South Carolina church Sunday because of his abortion advocacy.
Biden, who is a lifelong Catholic, was refused communion at the 9 a.m. mass at Saint Anthony Catholic Church where Father Robert E. Morey serves as pastor.
Morey confirmed with SC Now that Biden was denied the sacrament because of his advocacy for abortion rights.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey told the publication Monday. “Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
“Let’s be clear, this ban is dangerous and directly violates a woman's constitutional right to choose. We must stop it. As president, I will codify Roe into federal law and ensure this choice remains between a woman and her doctor,” Biden said in a tweet.
South Carolina’s Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee approved the bill Biden objects to in a 4-3 vote that split along party lines, The State recently reported. It is also expected to be approved in the full Medical Affairs Committee but likely to face obstacles on the state’s Senate floor.
Biden's position on abortion has evolved over time. In 1974, during his first term in the Senate, he said the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision "went too far" and he didn't "think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body."
He also called abortion a “tragedy” in a 2006 interview.
"I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it's always a tragedy," he said, noting that abortions should be "rare and safe."
In his 2007 book, Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics, Biden said he had "stuck to my middle-of-the-road position on abortion for more than thirty years."
He also noted that even though he personally opposes abortion, "I don't think I have the right to impose my view — on something I accept as a matter of faith — on the rest of society."
In May, Biden spoke out against states that have been fighting to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“States across the nation are passing extreme laws that violate a woman’s constitutional right to choose. These bills are a blatant attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade. It's wrong. It's pernicious. We must #StopTheBans and ensure this choice remains between a woman and her doctor,” Biden said.
In June, the Democratic presidential candidate also dropped his longtime support for the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funding for abortion in most cases.
Morey noted that he had to deny communion to Biden because he is responsible for souls entrusted to his care and he must do so in even the most difficult situations.
“I will keep Mr. Biden in my prayers,” the priest said.