Pope Francis is offered up strong criticism against America's conservative bishops for their attacks against President Joe Biden, a devout Catholic, over his stance on abortion. The Roman Catholic Church opposes abortion, among many other acts, but U.S. bishops have singled out Biden's pro-choice policy and are moving to refuse him the holy sacraments, such as communion, as punishment for it.
"What must the pastor do?" Francis, The New York Times reports, said when a reporter asked him about President Biden and abortion. "Be a pastor, don't go condemning. Be a pastor, because he is a pastor also for the excommunicated."
While President Biden, only the nation's second Catholic to be elected president, personally opposes abortion, he strongly supports a woman's right to choose and does not believe it is the government's right to interfere in that personal and constitutionally-protected decision.
"I have never refused the eucharist to anyone," Pope Francis also told reporters.
The Times adds, "Bishops should be pastors, he said, not politicians."
Back in June the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) overwhelmingly voted to move toward chastising President Biden for his abortion stance, despite the Vatican issuing a clear warning they were not to do so.
"Some leading bishops, whose priorities clearly aligned with former President Donald J. Trump, now want to reassert the centrality of opposition to abortion in the Catholic faith and lay down a hard line — especially with a liberal Catholic in the Oval Office," The New York Times reported in mid-June.
The Pope also told reporters, "communion is not a prize for the perfect," and "the eucharist is not the reward of saints but the bread of sinners."