Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Catholic Bishops Vote to Draft Communion Guidelines that Could Exclude Abortion Proponents

BREAKING: Biden reacts to Catholic bishops seeking to prevent him from taking communion over pro-abortion stance US Catholic bishops advance communion document, setting up potential rebuke of Biden
Sandy Nunez | 19 June, 2021, 09:38

Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have voted to draft a document on the Eucharist, green lighting a controversial effort championed by a group of conservative clerics who have called for denying Communion to President Joe Biden and other Catholic Democrats who support abortion rights.

Cardinal Luis Ladaria - the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's theological watchdog - urged the US Catholic Bishops Conference to delay the debate. And it raises questions of how closely the bishops will be able to cooperate with the Biden administration on issues such as immigration and racial injustice. Bishops who are not on the committee, according to Rhoades, will have chances to offer input, and the final draft will be subject to amendments before it is put up to a vote. To be formally adopted, the document would need support of two-thirds of the bishops.

"The concern in the Vatican is not to use access to the Eucharist as a political weapon", Antonio Spadaro, an Italian Jesuit priest who is politically close to Francis, told the New York Times.

"They're looking for direction", said Hying.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego countered that the USCCB would suffer "destructive consequences" from a document targeting Catholic politicians.

Nevertheless, at a time when the Catholic Church has been beset by a decades-long paedophilia scandal and membership has declined, the decision to consider punishing perhaps the best-known American Catholic - a man who attends Mass weekly and regularly speaks of his faith - comes with considerable risk. Several of his acts as President have been lauded by abortion-rights advocates.

"It's a private matter, and I don't think that's going to happen", Biden said, and thanked reporters as he left the podium.

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"That's a decision of his bishop", Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana said at a press conference.

"The debate and vote demonstrated serious divisions among the bishops on the current proposal and process", John Carr, co-director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, and a former USCCB staffer, said in an email. Even if the USCCB approves of a statement that would ban politicians like Biden from receiving communion, it only has the authority to publish guideline statements.

Still, some bishops said the document itself wouldn't be about one individual and reiterated that it wouldn't bar any one person from receiving Communion, since that is still left up to individual bishops under church law.

"The choice before us at this moment", Gregory said during Thursday's debate, "is either we pursue a path of strengthening unity among ourselves or settle for creating a document that will not bring unity but may very well further damage it". But the bishops' collective stance is at odds with the views of many Catholics in the U.S.

According to a Pew Research poll from 2019, about 56% of Catholics said they thought abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Carr speculated some bishops made have been persuaded by assurances the proposed statement "will not include policy or guidance on denying communion to the President or other public officials", adding, "it seems that the future statement is expanding in scope and shrinking in specific application to public officials".

The Vatican later warned us bishops who were advocating against Biden being given Communion, saying that they were in danger of making the sacrament into a political weapon.