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Biden Says Pope Told Him to Keep Taking Communion As Controversy Swirls Around Abortion Stance

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President Joe Biden says Pope Francis told him he should continue to take communion, and that the issue of abortion did not come up during their meeting.

After meeting with the pope in Vatican City on Friday, Biden told reporters, “We just talked about the fact that he was happy I’m a good Catholic.”

“And I should keep receiving communion,” he added.

He also said the pope did not give him communion during their meeting. Additionally, he said the two did not talk about abortion.

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In September, the pope reiterated the Catholic Church’s view that “abortion is murder,” according to the Catholic News Agency.

“Scientifically, it’s a human life. The textbooks teach us that. But is it right to take it out to solve a problem? And this is why the Church is so strict on this issue because it is kind of like accepting this is accepting daily murder,” he said.

When asked about the issue of pro-choice politicians receiving communion, the pope said, “What should the pastor do? Be a shepherd, do not go around condemning … but be a pastor. But is he also a pastor of the excommunicated? Yes, he is the pastor, and … he must be a shepherd with God’s style. And God’s style is closeness, compassion, and tenderness.”

“For me, I don’t want to particularize … the United States because I don’t know the details well, I give the principle … Be a pastor and the pastor knows what he has to do at all times, but as a shepherd. But if he comes out of this shepherding of the Church, immediately he becomes a politician,” he added.

Francis’ comments come as the Catholic leadership in the U.S. is divided over whether President Joe Biden, who is pro-choice and Catholic, and other pro-choice politicians, should be able to receive communion.

In June, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to draft a “formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.”

As Vox notes, “If approved, such a statement could allow individual bishops to prevent Catholic politicians who disagree with church doctrine about abortion from receiving the sacrament of the Eucharist, a sacred rite in Catholicism.”

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