Say what you like about Pope Francis, but he's incapable of giving a boring in-flight interview. On Wednesday, coming back from Hungary and Slovakia, he was asked about the problem of pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion. He immediately launched into a ferocious denunciation of abortion, describing it as homicide, saying there was no middle way and stating that support for abortion was grounds for 'excommunication'.
Francis then slightly qualified this by explaining that these 'excommunicated' Catholics needed to be lovingly shown the error of their ways, but it was hard to escape the obvious conclusion. The Pope regards the President as barred from Communion – which drives a horse and cart through the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy of Biden's own bishop, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington.
In this week's Holy Smoke, Dr Ed Condon, canon lawyer and editor of the brilliant Catholic website The Pillar, offers us an admirably lucid 'explainer' on this complicated topic. His conclusion is basically the same as mine. Though Ed wouldn't put it this way, the Pope has just thrown the fanatically pro-choice President of the United States under the bus.