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The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has voted to draft a document regarding eligibility consistency for who can receive the Eucharist, which could result in the denial of Communion to pro-abortion politicians.
The USCCB is getting major political pushback on their position. The Washington Post previously called the bishops “right-wing” for opposing public officials being granted Communion while publicly supporting abortion. They also drew an admonition from the Vatican for fostering potential disunity in the church.
Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, urged the bishops to be unified nationally and to prevent the issue from becoming “a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States.”
Despite the warning from the Vatican, which under Pope Francis is no stranger to taking political sides, the bishops voted 168-55 to move forward with a document regarding consistency in the Eucharist. Six members abstained.
Catholic doctrine holds that all human life is sacred and “must be respected and protected from the moment of conception.” As such, abortion is considered the intentional killing of a human being and a mortal sin.
Moreover, to participate in Communion, Catholics must prepare themselves by being in a state of grace, by either living a righteous life or by seeking repentance through confession for their sins, particularly mortal sins like abortion and other actions that have been committed willfully and with knowledge of its seriousness or that encourage others to sin. This requirement, first established in early church documents around A.D. 70, is rooted in 1 Corinthians 11:27-28, which states, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.”
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, argued, “It’s not the bishops who have brought us to this point — it’s some of our public officials. This is a Catholic president doing the most aggressive things we’ve ever seen on life at its most innocent.”
Since being inaugurated, President Biden has signed an executive order allowing the use of American taxpayer money to fund groups promoting abortion overseas and omitted from his budget the Hyde Amendment, a measure that has historically banned the use of public funds for abortion in the United States and which Biden fully supported while a U.S. senator.
Biden has also chosen cabinet secretaries who are radically pro-abortion, including Xavier Becerra, the new head of Health and Human Services, who has taken both pro-life pregnancy centers and Catholic nuns to court over their adherence to official Catholic stances on abortion and contraception (both of which he lost), and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who characterizes the right to an abortion as a human right.
Although the USCCB policy could advise against granting Communion to pro-abortion politicians, the decision would be left to individual bishops. Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, said the decision whether to grant Biden Communion would be left to his bishop. “That is not the task of our committee to look at individuals,” he explained.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, has said that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches in his archdiocese. “The choice before us at this moment is either we pursue a path of strengthening unity among ourselves or settle for creating a document that will not bring unity but may very well further damage it.”
Meanwhile Democrats are threatening to respond by eliminating the Catholic Church’s tax-exempt status.
California Rep. Jared Huffman said, “If they’re going to politically weaponize religion by ‘rebuking’ Democrats who support women’s reproductive choice, then a ‘rebuke’ of their tax-exempt status may be in order.”
Some Democrats urged the bishops not to move forward with such a document, writing, “We seek the Church’s guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience,” it reads. “In recognizing the Church’s role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas.”
“We recognize that no political party is perfectly in accord with all aspects of Church doctrine. This fact speaks to the secular nature of American democracy, not the devotion of our democratically elected leaders. Yet we believe we can speak to the fundamental issues that unite us as Catholics and lend our voices to changing the political debate — a debate that often fails to reflect and encompass the depth and complexity of these issues.”
What must be made clear is that these bishops are not politicizing the Eucharist, Democrat politicians are. Catholic doctrine holds — and has always held — that abortion is murder and it is the right of bishops to deny Communion to someone openly advocating for murder.
The Catholic Church’s view on abortion is not a political stance, it is a doctrinal stance, and the Democratic Party does not get to dictate what the Catholic Church can and cannot hold to. If Catholic Democrats do not agree with the Catholic Church on such a crucial doctrine, why would they want to force the church to grant them Communion? Moreover, if they don’t ascribe to the church’s core beliefs, why are they Catholic?
Nearly all the critics of this document cry that the reason for opposing it is their desire for unity. Unity in the church is virtuous when the church is unified around something right, such as sound doctrine. However, unity around error, especially sin, is not something to aspire to. Unity for unity’s sake is meaningless, even dangerous.
The left has no problem with Pope Francis’ open advocacy for socialism, which has caused untold suffering around the globe, yet when bishops hold to a longstanding doctrine of the Catholic Church, something as crucial as the sanctity of life, they are right-wing operatives. The left politicizes everything — even a church’s ancient and unchanging belief on something as foundational as protecting a baby’s right to life — and is willing to destroy anyone or anything that doesn’t ascribe to their political tenets.