Could the Pope place a President Biden under personal interdict?

I have in mind Biden’s stance in favor of abortion choice.

. . . .

And what would be the effect of it? Would individual priests and bishops buck this? And what then?


I would guess that theoretically he could do something like that to any Catholic. I think even a conservative Pope wouldn’t probably single someone out like that though. The best case scenario that could happen would be the Pope would state something to the effect that bishops should deny communion to public officials that support abortion, and state it clearly so that there would be no room for interpretation.

Pope Benedict XVI (when he was prefect of the CDF under JPII) actually did this in a letter to the U.S. Bishops years ago, but the letter was kept from the bishops by then-Cardinal McCarrick (and Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who will soon be a Cardinal). Instead of delivering the letter McCarrick gave his personal “interpretation” of the letter, saying that it was up to individual bishops, when the letter plainly stated otherwise. The Vatican then published the letter in their newspaper when it became apparent that the bishops didn’t receive it.

As for bishops and priests who disobey, I doubt much would happen to them. Bishops who did otherwise would probably be fine, and as for priests…it would depend on who their bishop is.


Highly unlikely, given the small minority of bishops who are even willing to enforce Canon 915 against the likes of President-elect Biden.

I think it would take more at issue than simply abortion. It would have to be something the USCCB has likewise united against. That is why it is highly unlikely.

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You can always hope, but I’d say the chances are in the negative numbers.


I would say the odds are the square root of negative two, small and imaginary.

An excommunication would be possible, but I would think such an action would be linked to some action on the part of the man.


Yes, if you go “by the book”, Biden should not be receiving communion already. But a bishop who is willing to enforce Canon 915 is as rare as a unicorn these days. A priest who takes it upon himself to deny anyone communion for whatever reason is putting his future as a priest at risk at best, and risking getting carted off to a mental institution at worst.

Lots of other politicians support extremely lax laws surrounding abortion, some in greater degrees than Biden. It should also be pointed out for fairness that he has changed his mind on the matter several times over the years, so that could reveal that he adheres to ‘social-wave morality’ in that he’ll do what is popular (or at least, what will get him support). The other thing is that various states have various laws; in some it’s very hard to procure an abortion, but other states are a lot more loose on the requirements. I do not believe that the Pope would act to place him under a personal indictment without considering these things carefully - it would seem that Biden would thus become the global scapegoat for the issue of abortion when in fact it’s a lot more widespread and separate to his actions and beliefs.

Interesting how everyone points the finger at Biden for causing masses of abortion, whilst ignoring the rest of the world, and especially China.


You have three bishops in a part of the Southeast that many would describe as “God’s country”:

Bishop Jugis is awesome. One of the best. Very liberal application of Summorum Pontificum. That tells you a lot.


Um. Do Americans get to vote to change what happens on abortion in China?

I can think of a pretty simple reason why Americans (especially American Catholics) are conversationally focusing on the fact that an alleged Catholic, who has been the Vice President of America in the past, and is presumably about to be the President of America for the next 4 years, has pushed to expand abortion.

Frankly I think it makes a whole lot more sense for people to talk about the domestic situation they can actually do something about, than about a foreign situation completely beyond their power to do more about than armchair speculation.


He IS a Catholic. Not an “alleged Catholic”.

Perhaps he is a sinful Catholic, but he is Catholic.

No ifs, ands or buts.


Has such an action even been proposed - let alone taken - against the various European heads of state / prime ministers who are “Catholic” but whose abortion laws rival those in the U. S. ? My understanding is that the PM of Italy itself not only styles himself as a devout Catholic but also a “votary” of St. Pio.

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I have to think that, if Our Lord would ever punish nations justly, America would deserve a much more harsh punishment, because her citizens have it in their power, through the ballot box, to outlaw abortion, yet will not do so. This is not possible in every country. Certainly not China.

Are you saying that the Italian prime minister is pro-choice? I’m not familiar with the situation.

If Biden becomes president, how many USCCB bishops will announce that he is to be denied communion in their diocese? Not many, I suspect, will be willing to enforce canon law. The USCCB has become a social justice bureaucracy rather than a group of Catholic bishops dedicated to handing down the deposit of faith and protecting Catholic doctrine.


I would have every expectation that the bishops of Atlanta, Charleston, and Charlotte would do this.

Perhaps secede from the USCCB and establish their own “Southeastern Bishops’ Conference”? Do national bishops’ conference have any canonical status? Provided for in canon law?

Offhand, I don’t think so. In my opinion there was never a need for a national bishops conference. When it was first established I thought it was a mistake. the USCCB was preceded by the NCCB–the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Shy_Catholic1 . . .

It is absolutely sickening how cowardly our Bishops and are and honestly it is driving me from the faith.

Don’t let it drive you from the faith Shy_Catholic1.

Don’t let them win.

Jesus promised us there would be weeds amongst the wheat. That isn’t just true for the laity.

Jesus allowed Judas as an Apostle for just this type of reason (among others). To catechize us about bad bishops.

St. Paul said they would be like wolves.

Please do not abandon your Catholic Christian faith.

God bless.



If it makes you feel any better, @Shy_Catholic1, I more or less stay disgusted by the situation in the Church, and if it were any human organization — a business, an extended family, a university, a city, or even an entire country — I would have left a long time ago. I have been hearing this “weeds amongst the wheat”, or “wheat and tares” businesses for over 45 years now — that doesn’t fly in the business world, that doesn’t fly in the military, that doesn’t fly anywhere but in the Catholic Church. On the job, you don’t get to pick what tasks you will do, and what tasks you will not do. In the military, you don’t get to pick what orders you will follow, and what orders you will not follow. You would be either fired or court-martialed as the case might be. Never heard of such a thing.

Stay. Just stay. You’re right, they’re wrong, but ultimately, it is “on them”, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Endless conciousness-raising on forums such as CAF is a possibility. That’s one reason I’m here in the first place — shine a light, hold up a mirror, always conscious of the beam in my own eye, but that shouldn’t keep one from speaking out. If we don’t, who will?

Don’t give up!


The bishops are unlikely to have much effect, since a President will likely be able to find a priest affiliated with a religious order or friendly diocese to give him Communion. If necessary, he could probably have some Jesuit flying around with him. Also, Joe has been denied enough that he knows he’s taking a risk by getting in a communion line with any priest or in any diocese where he’s not sure of the outcome. His security needs as President will probably keep him from visiting many churches; this isn’t the Kennedy era pre-assassination when the Kennedy family felt able to just attend a couple local parishes at will. Joe will likely have Mass said in private for the most part and we will not see most of his Communion habits. He might make a public appearance for things like the annual Red Mass in DC and you can bet Cardinal Gregory will give him Communion. And Cardinal Dolan has also said Biden can receive in his archdiocese.

Yes, Cardinal Gregory and Cardinal Dolan. No surprise there.

Actually, Dolan’s a big GOP supporter. He said that he wouldn’t deny Biden because he didn’t feel he should be judging a sinner in that way because we’re all sinners including himself.

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