US Catholic Bishops Adopt Communion Doc That Doesn't Mention Pro-Abortion Politicians US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden speak with a priest as they leave the Brandywine Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware, June 19, 2021. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty)
By Cathy Burke | Wednesday, 17 November 2021 04:15 PM
U.S. Catholic bishops have paved the way for President Joe Biden to continue receiving communion despite his opposition to abortion.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 222-8 (with three absentions) Wednesday to adopt a document that didn’t address whether those who advocate for widespread access to abortions could be denied the sacrament of Holy Communion, the Washington Examiner reported.
"Since the conclusion of the Spring Plenary Assembly of the U.S. bishops last week, there has been much attention on the vote taken to draft a document on the Eucharist. The question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot," the conference stated.
While the draft, as passed, doesn’t mention the president or any politician — or single out abortion as a political issue — it does address the obligations of Catholic public figures to be consistent in their faith and public actions.
"Laypeople who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to form their consciences in accord with the Church's faith and the moral law and to serve the human family by upholding human life and dignity," the document reads, the Washington Examiner reported.
It cites previous Conference of Catholic Bishops documents, including one in 2006 saying Catholics who "knowingly or obstinately" reject definitive church teachings are "not to be admitted" to Communion and should abstain from presenting themselves, The Washington Post reported.
It also adds, without quoting from another source, a statement of Christians' "responsibility to promote the life and dignity” of a list of "the most vulnerable": the unborn, migrants and refugees, victims of racial injustice, the sick and the elderly."
"To fail to acknowledge the category of human beings that represents the largest destruction of human life in our time would be a glaring omission. Moreover, for some of us, it would turn this document into a problem rather than a help," wrote San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, one of the more outspoken conservative bishops, the Post reported, adding that his suggestion was accepted by the committee.
The Washington Examiner noted that in June, the Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to draft a teaching document on the Eucharist, a sacrament it described as the "source and summit of Christian life."
The effort took on political implications when Biden took office, but the Vatican in June dismissed the notion of denying Communion to these politicians, the Washington Examiner reported at the time, setting up the showdown among bishops.
Biden himself predicted he would not be denied the sacrament, saying after meeting with Pope Francis in October that the pontiff told him he was "happy" the president’s a "good Catholic."