The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted on Friday to move forward with drafting a statement that could effectively result in President Joe Biden and other politicians who support abortion being denied communion.
“The action item for the committee on doctrine to start a teaching document on the Holy Eucharist passed 168-55, with six bishops abstaining from the vote, the USCCB announced Friday,” The Hill reported.
Biden, a longtime Catholic Church adherent, has come under scrutiny by bishops due to his pro-abortion views.
“The bishops in favor of drafting the document insisted on Thursday that it would not call out any individual politician by name, but the topic of Biden’s social views came up repeatedly in the discussion,” according to Reuters
The USCCB’s historic meeting this week was the culmination of decades of ideological clashes over one question: Should pro-abortion politicians receive communion?
Some bishops called for a delay on a scheduled vote on drafting a formal statement regarding the Eucharist, according to America magazine.
But many conservative bishops pushed back, demanding the vote this week.
America reported that “the statement will be addressed to all Catholics,” but it would “include the theological foundation for the Church’s discipline concerning the reception of Holy Communion and a special call for those Catholics who are cultural, political, or parochial leaders to witness the faith.”
The USCCB has experienced a political shift in recent years as conservative bishops assert their place within the conference and hold fast to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Notably, Fr. James Altman of Wisconsin last year posted a video online in which he proclaimed, “You cannot be Catholic and be a Democrat. Period. Their party platform absolutely is against everything the Catholic Church teaches, so just quit pretending that you’re Catholic and vote Democrat. Repent of your support of that party and its platform or face the fires of hell.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Texas wholeheartedly supported him.
As the Bishop of Tyler I endorse Fr Altman’s statement in this video. My shame is that it has taken me so long. Thank you Fr Altman for your COURAGE. If you love Jesus & His Church & this nation…pleases HEED THIS MESSAGE https://t.co/D413G0lfQV
— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) September 5, 2020
The president, who regularly attends Sunday mass, is on occasion forced to dispatch staffers to ensure he avoids priests and bishops who may deny him communion, The Washington Post reported.
He certainly wants to avoid a repeat of 2019, when during a trip to South Carolina he was denied the sacrament by Fr. Robert E. Morey.
“Sadly, this past Sunday, I had to refuse Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden,” Morey wrote at the time.
“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that,” he continued. “Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching.”
This month, CatholicVote asked 600 Roman Catholics whether Catholic public officials who disagree with the Church on serious or grave matters should present themselves for communion.
A whopping 74 percent of responding Catholics agreed — Catholic politicians as described above should not receive communion.
And a surprising 82 percent believed that public officials who call themselves Roman Catholic but advocate for policies hostile to Church doctrine are hypocritical.
The poll was conducted from June 1 to June 8 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.
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