Catholic bishops drafting Eucharastic document, could limit Communion for pro-choice politicians
Roughly 75% of U.S. Catholic bishops voted to draft up a document centered around the Eucharist and who can receive it.
“That is the sacrament during Catholic mass, in which the church teaches that Catholics receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ,” CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said.
The discussion around the Eucharist is nothing new, but has gotten more attention in recent months. Just last week, the topic hit the White House where President Joe Biden was questioned over his stance on abortion and whether he could receive Communion.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese also chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ doctrine committee. In an interview with Our Sunday Visitor, Biden discussed the need for Eucharistic revival and an overall deeper understanding.
“There is a temptation to privatize our faith or to separate our celebration and reception of holy Communion from our responsibility to live in communion with the Church and to live lives that are consistent with the deep meaning of the Eucharist, the sacrament of charity,” Bishop Rhoades told Our Sunday Visitor.
“Now this document comes at a time when polls show that strong majorities of American Catholics don’t actually believe church teaching on the Eucharist,” Allen said. “Many Catholic bishops in America are concerned with that point.”
75% of bishops voted to move forward, but some people say the proposed document goes against the Vatican.
“We are preparing a doctrinal reflection and not drawing up national norms, since such would be beyond the competency of our committee,” Bishop Rhoades told Our Sunday Visitor.
“The Vatican, under Pope Francis has made it clear that they are opposed to what they call weaponizing the Eucharist that is using communion to score political points,” Allen said. “It's controversial because this document may have implications for whether pro-choice Catholic politicians in prominently including American President Joe Biden would be eligible to receive communion.”
When asked by a reporter, President Biden seemed doubtful that the church would see more restrictions. This comes after he was denied Communion back in 2019 while on the campaign trail.
"That's a private matter and I don't think that's going to happen,” Biden said.
The doctrine committee are drafting up a document on formal policy, detailing who can receive the Eucharist. Bishop Rhoades said they are looking for ideas from bishops and committees across the country. The document is expected to be voted on in November.