Biden expresses his Catholic faith openly—until he doesn’t. Asked about efforts by Catholic bishops to clarify whether pro-abortion Catholics can receive Communion, the president called it a “private matter.”
300 Million Shots In Arms.
The Biden White House on Friday, June 18, announced that it had reached a vaccination benchmark of 300 million shots in arms in 150 days.
“Just remember what the situation was like 150 days ago,” President Joe Biden said in remarks. “We didn’t have enough vaccine supply for all Americans. We didn’t have the vaccine infrastructure… But we turned it around together by acting quickly and aggressively and equitably.”
The accompanying White House fact sheet underscores accomplishments such as, “In the past month alone, people of color have accounted for 54 percent of nationwide vaccinations, while only making up 40 percent of the U.S. population.”
Biden addressed news of the Delta variant, which he described as “more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier, and particularly dangerous for young people,” saying that “We have the solution. The science and the data are clear: The best way to protect yourself against these variants are to get fully vaccinated.”
The Delta variant was first observed in India and accounts for about ten percent of U.S. infections and about 90 percent of U.K. infections as of this writing. Government health officials maintain that the currently available vaccines are around 90 percent effective against the new strain, but also that the length of vaccine protection is still unknown and vaccinated people will need boosters eventually.
Biden Calls Catholic Bishops Resolution “Private Matter”.
Following his vaccine accomplishments event, a reporter asked Biden, “The Catholic Bishops are moving on this resolution that would prevent you and others who’ve supported abortion from receiving communion. Are you concerned about the rift in the Catholic Church? And how do you feel personally about that?”
Biden replied, “That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen. Thank you.”
Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to draft a proposal on “Eucharistic consistency” which some have characterized as “denying Communion” to Biden or other lawmakers on the basis of their support for abortion and repudiation of Catholic moral teachings. The document’s advocates describe it as a “teaching document” that would not override the authority of individual bishops or recommend exclusion of any specific individual.
The president’s outward gestures, mass attendance, and scriptural references have reinforced the public view that he is a “devout” Catholic, while his support for abortion contradicts church teaching on the matter and has alienated conservative Catholics and Christians.
Dozens of Catholic Democrats, led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, released a “statement of principles” taking issue with the USCCB proposal’s specific emphasis on abortion, writing:
No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings, including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants.
Psaki Says No Hold-Up on Ukraine Aid.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki smacked down rumors that the Biden administration held up security assistance to Ukraine on the heels of Biden’s summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Politico had reported earlier the same day that a military aid package intended for Ukraine, worth up to $100 million and including lethal weapons, had been temporarily halted in light of the drawdown of Russian troops near Ukraine.
Psaki said in her statement that “Just last week—in the run-up to the U.S.-Russia Summit—we provided a $150 million package of security assistance, including lethal assistance. We have now provided the entire amount appropriated by Congress through the Ukraine security assistance initiative.”