A group of lay U.S. Roman Catholics has launched a mass-mailing campaign to persuade clergy to deny Communion for pro-abortion politicians.
Catholic Action for Faith and Family has spent $150,000 to send copies of a booklet that argues against providing the sacrament to Catholic politicians who support the procedure. The campaign has targeted 41,000 deacons, priests and bishops, organizers said.
Thomas McKenna, the group’s founder and president, conceded that his organization’s effort reverses traditional Catholic practice, with the laity instructing the clergy.
“You’re correct in saying how it should normally be,” Mr. McKenna said in a telephone interview. “But the fact is, when you have a president like our Joe Biden, who is vocally the most pro-abortion president [and] administration in the history of our country … going to Communion, every Sunday, goes to Mass and says, ‘I’m a good Catholic’ and all that, we have to have some understanding of [the] pushback.”
He said that Mr. Biden is “the one that’s weaponizing the Eucharist” and that prelates such as Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, D.C., are “letting it go, looking the other way, and that’s a scandal.”
The Archdiocese of Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Speaking to the National Press Club in September 2021, Cardinal Gregory said Mr. Biden “is not demonstrating Catholic teaching” when the president denies that life begins at conception. However, the cardinal did not suggest any ecclesiastical consequences for Mr. Biden over that departure from church teaching.
American Catholics have been divided over the issue for at least 20 years, with a current focus on pro-abortion Democrats including former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.
The laity group is distributing copies of the booklet “Deny Holy Communion,” written by Cardinal Raymond Burke, former archbishop of St. Louis, Missouri.
In 2004, Cardinal Burke, at the time an archbishop, said he would not give Communion to then-Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat.
In 2008, a church in Florence, South Carolina, refused to offer Communion to Mr. Biden, who was a senator from Delaware and the Democratic vice-presidential nominee at that time. He also was denied Communion in his hometown diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, that year.
Mr. Biden currently receives Communion at his home parish in Delaware and in Washington, D.C. He said in 2021 that Pope Francis had told him that he should “keep receiving Communion.”