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U.S. bishops approve Communion plan aimed at President Biden

Jun 18, 2021


Update (11/17/21): American bishops overwhelming approved a long-awaited communion plan some say are aimed at President Joe Biden Wednesday. The plan came in the form of a document that stops short of calling for withholding the sacrament from politicians who support abortion, but could allow individual bishops to do so. Biden has supported abortion rights, despite being Catholic.

Wednesday’s vote on the document was 222-8. The video above shows the vote, as well as comments from some of the Bishops in attendance. The document does not identify Biden or other politicians by name. However it says “lay people who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to embody Church teaching.” Drafters of the document also added a reference to defending “the unborn” along with other vulnerable persons, such as immigrants, older adults and victims of racial injustice.

“It was good in this document to reiterate what we’ve said before about the responsibility to have dialogue and conversation with those who are Catholic, but who act in a way contrary to our faith on this basic moral teaching,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas said Wednesday.

The topic of Communion came up during Biden’s meeting with the Pope Francis last month.

“We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving communion,” Biden said after the meeting.


Original Story (6/18/21): The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States announced Friday they approved a plan to draft a teaching document on the topic of Communion, in an attempt to rebuke President Joe Biden and other Catholic lawmakers who support abortion and LGBTQ rights.

The vote, which happened on Thursday, was 168 to 55. It came after three hours of intense virtual debates on the subject. The video above also shows some of that debate.

Communion is one of the most sacred rituals in Christianity. President Biden is the second Catholic president in U.S. history.

He alarmed some church leaders by supporting same-sex marriage and abortion rights. The leaders say those views are in complete contrast to church core teachings.

The approval of the plan could pave the way for politicians like Biden to be denied Communion.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ doctrine committee will draft the teaching document on the meaning of Communion in the life of the church, and it will be submitted for consideration at a future meeting, probably an in-person gathering in November.

Portions of this video is from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Chairman of the Committee on Doctrine: “Does the body of Bishops approve the statement the mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the church?”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Diocese of Kansas City, Kansas: “And our responsibility as bishops it was good in this document to reiterate what we’ve said before about the responsibility to have dialogue and conversation with those who are catholic, but who act in a way contrary to our faith on this basic moral teaching.”

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States: “The church needs this attentive listening now more than ever if she is to overcome the polarization afflicting this country.”

Mark Sadd, Chair for the National Advisory Council: “We also are united in our conviction that the Eucharist cannot be used as a tool for division. The Eucharist cannot be ideological. The Eucharist cannot be partisan or made into any of these through calculated expression or calculated suppression of our doctrine and belief.”

Bishop Michael Burbidge, Chairman of the Communications Committee: “It was never the intention to target any individuals or group of individuals. This document was part of a strategic plan that the bishops had already approved, so this is a document that is reaching out to all catholics and we’re being consistent with that.”

Bishop Kevin Rhoades, Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana: “One sub-section of this third part would address Eucharist consistency. There was a consensus among the members of committee  on doctrine that one cannot discuss the centrality of the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Christian life without addressing those actions that inflict damage to the honor due the sacrament or cause scandal to the faithful. It was never our thought to propose national norms for denying Catholics Holy Communion, but to present a clear understanding of why the church has these laws. Outlining the rich tradition and profound teaching that is the basis for those canons.”

Bishop Robert McElroy, San Diego: “Once we legitimate public policy based Eucharistic exclusion as a regular part of our teaching office and that is the road to which we are headed, we will invite all of the political animosities that so tragically divide our nation into the very heart of the Eucharistic celebration. The sacrament which seeks to make us one will become for millions of Catholics, a sign of division.”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas City, Kansas: “My call to politicians has always been one of integrity. And unfortunately it’s not the bishops that have brought us to this point it’s really I think some of our public officials. Those who advocate for abortion no longer talk in the language of choice, they talk about it as a right. That’s what our president talks about it as a right.”

The Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco: “The eyes of the country are on us right now, if we fail now and do not act courageously in presenting church teaching, again this is a teaching document comprehensive, of presenting this teaching clearly and convincingly on this core Catholic value, how can we expect to be taken seriously when speaking on any other topic? Who knows how long it will be before that happens again?”