Science

What is the Catholic Communion controversy? An explainer

What is the Catholic Communion controversy? An explainer”

A divided conference of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops announced on Friday that they had voted to draft a statement on Holy Communion that may admonish Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden, who support abortion rights. To be formally adopted, the document would need support of two-thirds of the bishops.

It's a thorn in the side for many pastors that Biden will advocate for the right to abortion, while at the same time being a regular visitor to Catholic Church services.

Since the inauguration of Biden, the only Catholic president in American history after John F. Kennedy, bishops have been debating how to deal with him.

One section of the document is meant to include a specific admonition to Catholic politicians and other public figures who disobey church teaching on abortion and other core doctrinal issues.

Catholic bishops, defying appeals from the Vatican, voted at their spring general assembly to draft a formal statement on the "meaning of the eucharist in the life of the Church".

"It's a private matter, and I don't think that's going to happen", he told reporters on Friday when asked about the decision.

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.

Handling forbidden to Joe Biden and American politicians who support abortion?

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

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The conference's Committee on Doctrine is now expected to draft the document over the next six months, and the bishops will review an amendable draft at an upcoming meeting. "It will be impossible to prevent its weaponization, even if everyone wants to do so", McElroy said, according to media reports.

It is up to each local bishop to decide who receives communion in their diocese.

A number of priests and bishops have said in recent months have said that politicians who are pro-abortion shouldn't receive the Eucharist, and critics of Biden have long said that he should attempt to align his politics with his Catholicism.

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

Sixty Catholic Democratic members of the House of Representatives issued a statement Friday urging the USCCB to drop any effort to exclude politicians from Communion over the abortion issue, and calling it contradictory.

The Washington, D.C. Cardinal has already said he won't reprimand the president. More than 270 US bishops were eligible to vote. It cites a wide range of policy concerns, but abortion is also a priority.

After saying he is Catholic and supports these issues, he said: "Next time I go to Church, I dare you to deny me Communion".

"No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings", they added, "including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants".



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