Catholic bishops approve Communion document draft aimed at possible rebuke of Biden
Jun 19 2021
Exit polls from the 2020 presidential election showed the Catholic vote almost split between Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump.
The vote tally announced Friday was 168 bishops in favor, 55 opposed and six bishops abstaining.
Catholics for Choice, a liberal Catholic group, panned Thursday's vote, claiming the "bishops chose to be partisan instead of pastoral" and wish to foment "tension and division". U.S. Catholic Church membership has dropped almost 20% in the past two decades, according to a Gallup poll in March, as sexual abuse scandals involving predatory priests have come to light and members have become increasingly divided on social issues.
Biden was refused Communion in 2019 by Father Robert Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church in SC.
The chairman of the USCCB's doctrine committee, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, says no decisions have been made on the final contents of the proposed document but that it will not mention Biden or other individuals by name.
Biden, an abortion rights advocate who is the first Catholic US president in almost 60 years, is the most openly religious president since Jimmy Carter.
The debate this week laid bare some of the cultural and political rifts that have rocked the church in the last several years.
Biden has always been devoted and highly public, speaking the words of faith fluently and attending regular masses even on busy days such as his own inauguration and the recent G7 Summit in the United Kingdom.
According to a Pew Research poll from 2019, about 56% of Catholics said they thought abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
"That's a private matter, and I don't think that's going to happen", he told reporters Friday at the White House.
"They're looking for direction", said Hying.
"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". "At the same time, we can not dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty".
"The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed", it reads. Once completed, the statement could include guidelines for denying Communion to public officials.
Can the Bishop's Conference Bar bid from the Eucharist?
The Washington, D.C. Cardinal has already said he won't reprimand the president.
Biden's position on abortion was cited by many evangelical Christians in explaining their support for the anti-abortion Trump in the November presidential election, despite numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and other scandals against the thrice-married real estate developer. To be formally adopted, the document would need support of two-thirds of the bishops.
Rhoades indicted that his committee could start work soon on noncontroversial sections and await input from the regional meetings on the more contentious parts.