Catholic bishops approve Communion document draft aimed at possible rebuke of Biden

BREAKING Biden reacts to Catholic bishops seeking to prevent him from taking communion over pro-abortion stance

During a White House event on the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, Biden was asked about the possibility that the bishops would approve a document suggesting that his abortion stance should disqualify him from receiving Communion.

A divided conference of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops announced on Friday that they had voted to draft a statement on Holy Communion that may admonish Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden, who support abortion rights.

The rite is among the most important in Christianity, a sacrament symbolizing the Passover meal Jesus enjoyed with his disciples shortly before being crucified, and, more broadly, the new covenant Christians believe they forged with God by choosing to follow Jesus instead of remaining Jews.

One section of the document is meant to include a specific admonition to Catholic politicians and other public figures who disobey church teaching on abortion and other core doctrinal issues. The bishops had cast their votes the previous day.

The Vatican has already indicated its opposition to the bishops' move.

The vote, taken Thursday but revealed Friday, was 168-55 in favor of drafting the report, with six abstentions.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego countered that the USCCB would suffer "destructive consequences" from a document targeting Catholic politicians.

The conference's Committee on Doctrine is now expected to draft the document ahead of a November meeting when the bishops will review an amendable draft.

However, although it will be a form of national policy, it will not be binding.

Biden is Catholic and personally opposes abortion, but has supported women's right to have one because he doesn't feel his personal religious belief should be imposed on others.

That would leave decisions about Communion for specific churchgoers up to individual bishops and archbishops.

"That's a private matter, and I don't think that's going to happen", the president said without elaborating.

The idea to produce a document was first developed by a working group commissioned by Conference of Catholic Bishops president José H. Gomez, the Archbishop of Los Angeles. "Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching", he added. The organization Students for Life held rallies in seven cities on Thursday to urge the bishops to vote "yes".

But she said the minority of bishops who spoke out against it provided a glimmer of hope.

Exit polls from the 2020 presidential election showed the Catholic vote almost split between Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump.

Previously, Cordileone said Catholic priests should deny communion to elected officials who support abortion. Former Secretary of State John Kerry drew similar warnings when he ran for president in 2004, and several members of the Kennedy family have been prohibited.

Biden was refused Communion in 2019 by Father Robert Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church in SC.

Nevertheless, at a time when the Catholic Church has been beset by a decades-long paedophilia scandal and membership has declined, the decision to consider punishing perhaps the best-known American Catholic - a man who attends Mass weekly and regularly speaks of his faith - comes with considerable risk.

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