On Thursday at their Spring Plenary Assembly the American bishops voted to draft a document on the Eucharist that could scold Catholic politicians who support the right to abortion, like President Joe Biden.
Le Vatican however encouraged the American bishops not to go further with this measure which intends to refuse fellowship with politicians who support the right to abortionThis is the case of the current President of the United States, Joe Biden, the first Catholic to occupy the White House for 60 years.
Despite the warning, the American Bishops' Conference (USCCB) voted on Thursday, after two hours of debate, a decision that will allow the Doctrine Committee to move forward with drafting a formal statement on the sense of the Eucharist in the life of the Church. It was adopted by majority with 168 votes in favor, 55 against and 6 abstentions.
Joe Biden, a devout Catholic who attends mass every weekend, has said he is personally opposed to abortion but supports women's right to choose. A position that is expressed in its political choices.
If a majority of conservative bishops wish to prevent politicians with opinions like the President of the United States from receiving Communion, to Reuters specifies that this declaration would serve as a guide and the bishops would be able to make an individual choice on this subject.
Bishops in favor of the measure believe they had an obligation to "clarify the teachings of the church for all Catholics in light of the inconsistencies between faith and actions" of some politicians. This is particularly what said Donald Hying, Bishop of Madison in Wisconsin.
“Almost every day I speak with people, Catholics… who are confused that we have a president who professes staunch Catholicism and yet pushes forward the most radical pro-abortion agenda in our history. "
Opponents of the text, however, worry that the drafting of such a document sows more divisions within the church. This is the case of Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego who said that this decision goes against the goal of the USCCB to unite Catholics through the sacrament.
“The Eucharist… will inevitably become a tool in the vicious partisan turmoil that is shaking our nation. "
Asked Friday about this, the US president said it is a "private matter" and that he does not think "it will happen".
The American Bishops Conference Committee on Doctrine is now scheduled to draft this document for consideration at the next bishops' gathering in November.
Camille Westphal Perrier
Image Credit: Trevor Bexon / Shutterstock.com
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