Bishop: No Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians Who “Reject Fundamental Teachings of the Church”

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 26, 2021   |   10:46AM   |   Washington, DC

Two Catholic bishops urged the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this week not to delay plans to create a new document to give guidance about Communion and Catholic politicians who openly advocate for the killing of unborn babies.

The Catholic News Agency reports Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver lamented that some bishops want to postpone action on the document.

“I’m deeply grieved by the rising public acrimony among bishops and the adoption of behind-closed-doors maneuvers to interfere with the accepted, normal, agreed-upon procedures of the USCCB,” Cordileone told CNA in a statement Tuesday.

He said the bishops should have an open debate about the matter, and he criticized attempts to “derail the process.”

Aquila agreed, saying, “As bishops, we are failing in our duty as shepherds if we ignore this truth and how it is manifesting itself in today’s society, especially with regards to those in prominent positions who reject fundamental teachings of the Church and insist that they be allowed to receive Communion.”

In June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops plans to vote on whether to create a document from their Committee on Doctrine “with the aim of clarifying the church’s stance” on pro-abortion politicians and Communion, the Associated Press reports.

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However, the plans have been met with push-back from some bishops. Aquila said several bishops recently wrote a letter to USCCB President Archbishop Jose Gomez urging him to delay action on the proposed document.

A Vatican official also weighed in on the debate earlier this month. While some saw the Vatican comments as discouraging of the document, Aquila said the Vatican was “clear … that the USCCB’s plan to discuss and debate this important issue is warranted and encouraged,” according to CNA.

“In contrast, the publication of the letter calling for a halt to discussion at our June meeting on this vital issue risks creating an atmosphere of factionalism, rather than unity amongst the bishops,” he said.

One of the bishops asking for a delay is Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. CNA reports Cupich asked the conference to postpone a debate until they can meet in person. The bishops’ June meeting is a virtual conference.

“The serious nature of these issues — especially the imperative to forge substantive unity — makes it impossible to address them productively in the fractured and isolated setting of a distance meeting,” Cupich wrote in a letter to Gomez.

Here’s more from the report:

The USCCB working group on Biden’s presidency recommended a teaching document on “Eucharistic coherence.” However, a source close to the conference told CNA on April 29 that discussion of the Eucharist – at either the bishops’ spring or fall 2021 meetings – would focus broadly on the Eucharist and on general worthiness to receive Communion, and that “nothing was in the works” specifically on Biden and Communion.

Then, in a May 22 memo to the U.S. bishops, Archbishop Gomez outlined the process by which the bishops will discuss and vote on whether or not to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist, in light of recent guidance from the Vatican.

The proposed document focuses on the Church’s teaching of the centrality of the Eucharist to the Christian life, he said.

Many Catholic priests and bishops in the U.S. recognize that something must be done because politicians like President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are creating “scandal” for the church through their open and persistent advocacy for the killing of unborn babies.

The Doctrine Committee, which would craft the new document, said the need for guidance is clear because of the “lack of understanding among many Catholics about the nature and meaning of the Eucharist.”

Earlier this month, Cordileone published a pastoral letter arguing that denying Communion may be “the only recourse a pastor has left” if pro-abortion politicians refuse to listen to reason and obstinately persist in their sin.

“I tremble that if I do not forthrightly challenge Catholics under my pastoral care who advocate for abortion, both they and I will have to answer to God for innocent blood,” Cordileone wrote.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, agreed that Catholic politicians who advocate for abortions are “creating scandal by encouraging others to do evil.”

And, in a column earlier this spring, the Rev. Thomas Weinandy, a Capuchin Franciscan and member of the Vatican International Theological Commission, said pro-abortion Catholic politicians “are using – and so abusing – the Eucharist for seemingly political purposes – to present themselves as ‘devout’ Catholics,” according to the Catholic News Agency.

“What should most concern the Church is that such Catholic politicians do not simply hold many things that are in opposition to the Catholic faith, but they also actively attack, through the laws they propose and enact, the Catholic Church, the very church to which they claim devotion,” he wrote.

President Joe Biden professes to be a devout Catholic and frequently attends Mass. However, he openly defies church teachings about the sanctity of human life and family. After just 100 days in office, he already surpassed President Barack Obama as the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history by ending safety regulations that protect mothers and unborn babies from abortion and forcing taxpayers to fund the billion-dollar abortion industry.