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Catholic bishops are attacking Biden, showing that theocracy takes root as democracy withers

American bishops, ignoring the advice of their own pope, are determined to weaponize the Eucharist.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden spoke with a priest as they departed St. Joseph on the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., on Saturday.Alex Brandon/Associated Press

So a healthy majority of American Catholic bishops believe Joe Biden shouldn’t be allowed to receive Holy Communion because he supports abortion rights.


Can’t wait for the edict denying Communion to Catholic politicians who are divorced and remarried, use contraception, support the death penalty, or voted to authorize needless wars that killed thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That won’t happen? Oh, well, an ala carte Catholic can dream, right?

Admittedly, being part of the Globe team that investigated the way the Archdiocese of Boston sacrificed childrens’ well-being to protect the church’s reputation leaves me a bit jaundiced.


But the idea of bishops, some of whom presided over the world’s biggest coverup of sexual abuse of children, sitting in judgment of Biden, or gay people, or really anybody, would be laughable if it weren’t so deeply offensive. These are the same guys who were far less strident while Donald Trump conducted himself like a fascist and gloried in his sexual license with women.

Then again, the Catholic Church has a history of making nice with fascists. Totalitarians, it seems, prefer each other’s company.

It doesn’t help that the Supreme Court, packed with six Catholics, five of them conservatives appointed by Republicans, seems likely to side with religious freedom in discrimination cases. The court just gave the bishops and others who cite religious freedom as an excuse for their bigotry a nice big fig leaf, ruling that a Catholic group in Philadelphia could exclude LGBTQ people as foster parents.

It is not a coincidence that, as millions of Americans, hundreds of them elected members of Congress, continue to persist in the delusion that Trump is the duly elected president of the United States, democracy withers and support for what amounts to a theocracy takes root.


The Founders were right to insist on freedom of religion, but they also believed in freedom from religion, and that’s not what is playing out in state legislatures, where more than 500 abortion restrictions have been introduced this year. The supremely Catholic Supreme Court agreed to take up a case on a Mississippi law that bans most abortions at 15 weeks. These measures are inspired by religious views. Full stop.

For many who persist in the Big Lie, including a large number of evangelical Christians and right-wing Catholics, facts are meaningless. Articles of faith, not the articles of the Constitution, guide their thinking. If they believe something, whether it’s the myth that there’s something wrong with gay people, or that an election was stolen, and that there is some guy with a long flowing white beard up in the clouds who controls the universe, that’s all that matters.

So they can believe that gay people are intrinsically disordered. The fact that that belief is rooted not in fact but only in bigotry is irrelevant to them.

Pointing out that, according to the Bible, Jesus Christ hung around almost exclusively with 12 other men and cared deeply about the most marginalized people is probably a waste of time.

The obsession with abortion at the expense of so many other moral questions is telling. While conservative politicians are using legislatures to weaponize misogyny, a majority of Catholic bishops want to weaponize the Eucharist.


One of them, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, had the cheek to say this: “There is danger to one’s soul if he or she receives the body and blood of our Lord in an unworthy manner.”

There was a danger to a lot more than young people’s souls as Cardinal Bernard Law and bishops like him enabled and protected scores of pedophiles and pederasts with Roman collars. Law’s punishment? He was given a sinecure in Rome where nuns waited on him hand and foot.

Bishops in Springfield protected and enabled Richard Lavigne, a priest who murdered an altar boy and raped dozens of other kids.

These are the guys telling Joe Biden he’s not worthy of the Eucharist.

They have no business judging anyone but themselves.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at kevin.cullen@globe.com.