US bishops to vote on communion guidelines after debate over Biden’s eligibility | New

By Gabriella Borter

BALTIMORE, Md. (Reuters) – U.S. Catholic bishops were due to vote on a document on the meaning of Holy Communion on Wednesday, a question that has sparked debate over whether politicians like U.S. President Joe Biden, who support the right to abortion, should be able to receive the sacrament.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that abortion is immoral. Biden, the first Catholic President of the United States since John F. Kennedy, has said he personally opposes abortion but supports a woman’s right to choose. Last month, his administration asked the Supreme Court to block a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks.

A draft bishops fellowship document released Wednesday does not mention Biden or any politician by name, and does not focus on the issue of abortion.

The project reaffirms the church’s teaching that Christians have an obligation to protect the “unborn child,” and it declares that Catholics who live in “mortal sin” without repentance should not receive Communion. .

He seems to vaguely reprimand politicians who support abortion rights by stating: “Lay people who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to form their conscience in accordance with the faith of the Church and the moral law.” , and to serve the human family by defending human life and dignity. “

The document avoids giving an explicit directive to bishops to refuse Communion to Catholics whom they consider to be sinners. But he said: “It is the special responsibility of the diocesan bishop to work to remedy situations that involve public actions contrary to the visible communion of the Church and to the moral law.

The document could still be amended before a vote scheduled for Wednesday in the ballroom of the Baltimore hotel where the bishops are meeting this week. It takes a “yes” from two-thirds of the conference to pass.

Some conservative bishops have argued that the conference must rebuke politicians like Biden who support abortion rights or else they will lose their credibility with parishioners for failing to respond forcefully to what they say is a scandal. This contingent had previously requested that the document establish explicit standards for eligibility to receive the sacrament.

Others cautioned against arming the Eucharist and withholding it as a means of punishing specific political positions. They warned that the document, rather than achieving its stated goal of bringing Catholics together in renewed faith in the Eucharist, will sow further division in the fractured church.

Some 55% of American Catholics think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to 59% of the general population, according to a Pew Research survey carried out in April.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Alistair Bell)

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