“We are at a new moment in the pro-life movement,” he told the bishops. “Those who advocate for abortion no longer talk in the language of choice — they talk about it as a right.”
The clerics ultimately endorsed a plan to draft a statement that could be used as theological justification to deny communion to Mr. Biden and Catholic politicians like him who support abortion rights.
Christians receive communion to remember the sacrifice made by Jesus in his death. For Catholics, the ritual is a sacrament and the central part of every Mass. Catholic teaching instructs that the bread and wine literally transforms into the body and blood of Christ during Mass. To be denied the Eucharist is to be denied the presence of Christ.
Conservative Catholics, not only evangelicals, had significant power in Mr. Trump’s administration, especially in advancing his anti-abortion agenda and appointment of about 200 federal judges. Several top officials were conservative Catholics, including Pat Cipollone, the former White House counsel; Mick Mulvaney, the former White House chief of staff; and Kellyanne Conway, a former counselor to Mr. Trump. Outside partners, like Leonard A. Leo of the Federalist Society and Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network, also held influence.
Now, in the early months of the Biden administration, the bishops’ actions have newly emboldened the conservative grass roots. CatholicVote, a conservative political group, began fund-raising off the decision within hours.
In Fort Worth on Saturday, the Rev. Jim Gigliotti drafted a letter to Representative Ted Lieu, a Catholic Democrat from California, writing “your very soul is in jeopardy” and informing him that he would be refused Communion if he happened to attend Mass at Mr. Gigliotti’s parish.
“Confrontation is a ministry of caring,” Father Gigliotti said.
Mr. Lieu, in a series of tweets after the bishops’ vote, had called them “hypocrites” for not instructing former attorney general William P. Barr to abstain from the Eucharist because of his employment of the death penalty when he served under Mr. Trump. Mr. Lieu dared the bishops to deny him Communion, pointing out that he supports contraception, the right to same-sex marriage and “a woman’s right to choose,” which are all violations of Catholic teaching.
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