Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Wilton Gregory has no intention of refusing to serve Holy Communion to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, despite some clergy calling for him to be denied the sacrament because of his abortion views.
Gregory, who is slated to become the first African American cardinal this weekend, expressed his desire for a dialogue with Biden despite his “serious disagreements” with church teaching, according to the Catholic News Agency.
“The kind of relationship that I hope we will have is a conversational relationship where we can discover areas where we can cooperate that reflect the social teachings of the church, knowing full well that there are some areas where we won’t agree,” Gregory said. “They are areas where the church’s position is very clear,” pinpointing the former vice president’s support for abortion.
“I hope it’s a real dialogue, because I think that’s the mantra of Pope Francis — that we should be a church in dialogue, even with those with whom we have some serious disagreements,” Gregory continued.
“It’s not a matter of confusion,” said Gregory. “On my part, it’s a matter of the responsibility that I have as the archbishop to be engaged and to be in dialogue with him, even in those areas where we obviously have some differences.”
Biden has been rebuked by some Catholic clergy, who have called for him to be disciplined by the Church for his abortion views.
As The Daily Wire reported:
The Roman Catholic bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee, urged Democratic nominee Joe Biden to rethink his support of abortion in light of the fact that God is going to judge him.
“A question for Mr. Biden,” Bishop Rick Stika tweeted Sunday. “At your judgement before God, how will you explain changing your position about abortion and how will you explain promoting no limits and allowing all protections removed protecting the most innocent?”
“Will you tell God you supported the ultimate child abuse because of the [American] Constitution?” Stika added. “I wonder what God must have asked many leaders throughout the centuries? Government over human rights and the taking of innocent lives. Many Catholics will need to answer this the first of many questions about the poor, the starving etc.”
Gregory denounced President Donald Trump last summer for having his picture taken at St. John’s Episcopal Church and at the St. John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C.
As The Washington Post reported:
[Gregory] rewrote his biography on Tuesday when he sharply took to task not only President Trump but the country’s biggest Catholic lay organization — the Knights of Columbus — after Trump posed for photos outside an Episcopal Church near the White House and a Knights-owned Catholic shrine in Northeast Washington. “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles,” he said in a statement.
Gregory has put himself in an unusual position for a top U.S. bishop, one challenging church and civic officials at the intersection of religion, politics and race. In a heavily liberal city with one of the biggest black Catholic populations in the country, the force of Gregory’s critique may seem mainstream. But for a U.S. Catholic leader, especially one in the nation’s capital, his words were so striking that some people who had worked with him through his career suspected he didn’t write them.
Others are glad he did.
“Thank God for Archbishop Gregory,” Edward Rankin, a black member of D.C. Knights Council 15723, told the National Catholic Reporter in an interview published Friday.
Canon law blogger Edward Peters, on the other hand, tweeted: “I find Abp. Wilton Gregory’s condemnation of the National Shrine devoid of any sense or Christian sentiment.”
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