Democratic presidential race contender Joe Biden was denied communion at a church in Florence, S.C. over his stance on abortion. Rev. Robert E. Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church confirmed the news to a local newspaper that former vice president running in the 2020 presidential election, attended his church’s 9 a.m. Mass on Sunday.

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that,” Morey said in a statement to news reporters. “Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”

The Catholic Church does not support abortion. However, various priests and bishops in the nation have wavering perspectives on whether or not to give Communion to those who indeed support controversial issues such as abortion rights.

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful former US Vice President Joe Biden appears to be the target of Russian attacks on Facebook, according to data from the social network 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful former US Vice President Joe Biden appears to be the target of Russian attacks on Facebook, according to data from the social network Photo: AFP / Eric BARADAT

According to reports, this is not Biden’s first experience of being barred from receiving Communion due to his stance on abortion rights. Biden was baptized and spent his early years in Scranton, Pa., where the bishop had prevented him from receiving Communion.

Biden has publicly acknowledged his complex relationship with Catholic leaders. Most notably in 2008, several U.S. bishops insisted that Biden should be refused Communion in their dioceses.

In 2012 he openly announced his personal stance on abortion. Biden stated, “I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews. I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body,” he said during a debate.

Although he has supported the 1976 Hyde Amendment that prevented federal funding of abortions, earlier this year, he switched forces and joined Democratic candidates. He stated that he did not support the amendment, and he defended his record at a Planned Parenthood event.

Biden is not the first politician to experience being barred from communion for those who support abortion rights. During former Senator John F. Kerry’s 2004 run for the Democratic presidential nomination, the archbishop of St. Louis barred the Catholic candidate from taking Communion during his campaign.

According to Catholic leaders, outstanding support for legalized abortion is considered a sin with extensive consequences. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) cannot receive Communion in the Archdiocese of New York due to his support for the state’s new law allowing abortions later in pregnancy. His positioning on the issue has caused speculation on whether or not he should be excommunicated from the church.

Although perspective varies amongst Catholic authorities,  Biden regularly attends Mass with his wife, Jill, at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine in Greenville, Delaware.