US presidential candidate and former vice-president Joe Biden was denied Holy Communion at a catholic church in South Carolina over the weekend, reports say. The priest refused to give Communion to Biden, Catholic, over his stand on abortion. The priest, Robert Morey of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Charleston, refused Holy Communion at the Sunday Mass, Florence Morning News reported.
The priest also issued a statement explaining his action."Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden. 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," the priest said in the statement.
Biden, who was Barack Obama's vice-president, was campaigning in South Carolina over the weekend. Biden has not issued a public statement over the incident so far.
Biden had apparently tweaked his stance on abortions earlier this year, when he said he opposed the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions. Until a week before the announcement, he had maintained that he supported the amendment. "I can't justify leaving millions of women without the health care they need ... If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support [the amendment]," Biden said, according to the Huffington Post.
Biden has long maintained that he is personally opposed to abortion. He had even voted in favour of the states' right to overturn Roe v in the 1980s. The Catholic Church is opposed to abortion as it holds that life begins at the moment of conception.
In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry failed to get the Catholic support despite being a catholic himself owing to his pro-choice stance. Biden, who is no longer a frontrunner in the packed Democratic primary line-up, has a tough job at hand when it comes to the perpetually contentious abortion question.
Apart from the presidential race, Biden is also in the limelight over the House move to impeach President Donald Trump. Democrats say Trump abused his office for political gain when he urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Biden and son's business activities in the country.