The politics of Holy Communion and what it says about news coverage of Joe Biden

May 8, 2021 by

by Clemente Lisi, Get Religion:

If you regularly read mainstream political news coverage, you can often come away with the notion that President Joe Biden is a man who governs as a moderate, seeks unity with Republicans and is consistently guided by his “devout” Catholic faith.

A lot of this reflexive media coverage is largely a fantasy. Biden went from being compared to JFK before Inauguration Day to FDR by the time he recently reached the 100-day mark. He has outlined a series of initiatives that his adversaries on the other side of the aisle have dismissed as socialism. Biden, it must be highlighted, is president at a time when the Senate is split 50-50 and Democrats have a slim majority in the House. The American people did not, in a tight election, give him a healthy mandate.

But this post isn’t aimed at breaking down Biden’s politics.

Instead, it’s to focus on the news coverage around Biden’s faith and how his beliefs relate to the church’s own teachings and the U.S. bishops tasked with enforcing doctrines. Is Biden a progressive revolutionary on matters of morality and doctrine? If so, can he also be “devout” in his faith? Should he — along with many other Catholic politicians — continue to receive Holy Communion? What can, and will, the bishops do next?

A lot of what we know regarding the answers lies in how the press cover such political issues and religion, of course. Combine political politicization in an age of misinformation with the culture wars and you have a very complicated set of factors for the news media to cover.

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