US bishops to draft statement on holy communion, Biden in sights

Katie Ramirez
June 19, 2021

The controversial measure, which had drawn objections from the Vatican and from Pope Francis's strongest allies among the US bishops, required only a simple majority but passed with 73%, or 168, of the 229 votes cast on Thursday. The organization Students for Life held rallies in seven cities on Thursday to urge the bishops to vote "yes". Biden, the second Catholic to serve as USA president, has alarmed many bishops by supporting same-sex marriage and abortion rights, views they say are antithetical to church doctrine.

The conference's Committee on Doctrine is now expected to draft the document ahead of a November meeting when the bishops will review an amendable draft. The widespread presence of self-proclaimed Catholics who not only disagree with these positions but actively aim to force payments for abortion, celebrations of same-sex marriage, and the performance of transgender surgery on Americans who object is a devastating scandal for the Church.

"They're looking for direction", Hying said. "At the same time, we can not dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty". While 56% support legalized abortion, about two-thirds of those who regularly attend Mass don't, according to a March poll by Pew.

Other progressive Catholics in the United States may also be denied Communion from now on, says the controversial document.

"That's a private matter and I don't think that's going to happen", he told reporters during a White House event on the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chairman of the conference, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, said it is not within the committee's power to target individuals, Fox News reports.

Some bishops advocating for drafting the document argued they had an obligation to clarify the church's teachings for all Catholics in light of inconsistencies in the faith and actions of public officials like Biden.

Some bishops want to block politicians with views like Biden's from receiving Communion. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, has revealed that Biden is welcoming the acceptance of communion in the Archdiocese church.

Queen Elizabeth Reminded Me Of My Mother, Says Joe Biden
The Bidens arrived at Heathrow in Air Force One this afternoon before stepping out of a Range Rover at the castle at around 5pm. Mr Trump and the Queen had afternoon tea together in the castle's Oak Room, with the meeting lasting longer than expected.

The USCCB has identified the fight against abortion as its "preeminent" priority. U.S. Catholic Church membership has dropped almost 20% in the past two decades, according to a Gallup poll in March, as sexual abuse scandals involving predatory priests have come to light and members have become increasingly divided on social issues.

In 2004, the conference published a statement that said individual bishops could decide whether to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who supported abortion rights. So far, Republicans are "not having much luck demonizing Biden", so they are testing abortion as a potential issue on which to criticize him, as they did with transgender athletes in youth sports and critical race theory, said Mike Mikus, a political consultant in Pittsburgh who advises Democratic campaigns. The Catholic Church is entirely opposed to abortion.

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".

David Campbell, a political science professor at the University of Notre Dame, said the bishops' vote "reflects the fact that the same fault lines dividing all American voters also divide American Catholics - and Catholic leaders".

The debate this week laid bare some of the cultural and political rifts that have rocked the church in the last several years.

Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is exclusively responsible for this content.

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