Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s denial of reception of Holy Communion in South Carolina on

Sunday has renewed scrutiny of his evolving views on abortion.

Over the course of his decades-long career, the Catholic former vice president has said in the past that the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade went too far, but he has now pledged to “codify” its full effects in federal law. He has been for, and then against, bans of taxpayer funding for abortion and he been against, and then for, extreme practices like partial birth abortion.

Biden was denied Communion on Sunday, at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolin. Fr. Robert Morey denied Biden Holy Communion as the Catholic presidential candidate was campaigning nearby that weekend and had attended Sunday Mass.

“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey explained in a statement sent to CNA.

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that,” he stated.

“Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching,” the priest added.

The Catholic Church teaches that life begins at the moment of conception, and that every act of abortion is the wilful taking of innocent human life. In the 2008 “Meet the Press” interview, Biden was asked “as a Roman Catholic” when he thought life began.

He said that he was “prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception,” but added that to impose that belief upon others through the application of law would be “inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

“There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that’s existed. Back in ‘Summa Theologia,’ when Thomas Aquinas wrote ‘Summa Theologia,’ he said there was no–it didn’t occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How am I going out and tell you, if you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view that is based on a matter of faith? And that’s the reason I haven’t,” Biden said.

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