US Catholic Bishops OK Steps Toward Possible Rebuke of Biden
US Catholic Bishops OK Steps Toward Possible Rebuke of Biden
BREAKING: Biden reacts to Catholic bishops seeking to prevent him from taking communion over pro-abortion stance
19 June, 2021, 15:57
U.S. Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a "teaching document" that many of them hope will rebuke Catholic politicians, including President Biden, for receiving Communion despite their support for abortion rights. For it to be adopted, the final draft will require approval by two-thirds of the bishop, and approval by the Vatican itself. Last May, the Vatican warned U.S. bishops that defining special procedures for Catholic politicians risks divisiveness and should only be followed if it leads to greater unity. This movement is driven by the extremely conservative wing of the Catholic Church.
The vote tally announced Friday was 168 bishops in favor, 55 opposed and six bishops abstaining.
"That's a private matter, and I don't think it's going to happen", the president said of potentially being denied communion.
The vote on the proposal - which advocates describe as a broad "teaching document" that does not overrule the right of individual bishops to decide questions of Communion denial for their own diocese - was the culmination of a years-long controversy that stretches from a SC church to the White House to the Vatican, with Catholic prelates giving voice to a range of opinions about whether politicians who back abortion rights should be denied the Eucharist.
"They're looking for direction", said Hying.
Yet Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who leads the USCCB's Committee on Doctrine, which put forward the plan for a resolution, said in a news conference that the upcoming midterm and presidential elections "never entered my mind, or the committee's".
The document is reportedly intended as a rebuke to Catholic politicians not politically implementing the teachings of the Church, which strongly opposes abortion. He's taken several executive actions during his presidency that were hailed by abortion rights advocates. Only the local bishop or the pope can determine who can and cannot receive the sacrament of Communion.
"The Eucharist.will inevitably become a tool in the vicious partisan turmoil that roils our nation", he said. Abortion, although legal in the United States for 48 years, is and remains unacceptable to them.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, has made clear that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches in the archdiocese. Maintaining that "supporting the murder of innocent children is incompatible with the faithful practice of Catholicism", she called on Church leaders to "act like it" by supporting the document.
In a document titled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, last updated in 2019, the US bishops lay out their official teachings on the political responsibilities of Catholics.
The USCCB has identified the fight against abortion as its "preeminent" priority.
Biden has expressed his support for abortion because although he adheres to the Church's position on the issue in his personal life, he would not force it upon others.
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".
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