U.S. Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved a communion document Wednesday that It does not go so far as to deny the sacrament to politicians who support abortion rights, such as President Joe Biden, but it tacitly justifies individual bishops to do so.
In its first major statement on communion in 15 years, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document titled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church” It does not explicitly refer to the debate over officials, abortion and the sacrament that has surrounded the document for months and that partly inspired its writing.
Rather, it offers an overview of the Church’s magisterium, highlighting the central importance of the Eucharist in faith and prayer and partly reflecting the bishops’ concern that many Catholics are unaware or do not accept that magisterium.
The conference approved it at its fall conference by 222 votes to eight after a series of minor revisions by the editors of the conference’s Doctrine Committee.
The editors added a reference to “the unborn” along with vulnerable people, such as immigrants, the elderly, and victims of racial injustice. They also highlighted the definition of “scandal” that weakens the will of other Catholics to follow the magisterium of the Church.
This revision is of a passage that reaffirms the 2006 statement that it is a scandal if a Catholic “in his personal or professional life should consciously or stubbornly reject” the Church’s moral doctrines or teachings.
The document does not identify Biden or other politicians by name, but says that “laymen who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to embody the magisterium of the Church.”