The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will consider a highly anticipated teaching document about Communion later this month as concerns grow about politicians like President Joe Biden who claim to be Catholic while promoting the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
During their meeting Nov. 15 to 17 in Baltimore, the bishops plan to discuss and propose amendments to the document, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” before voting on a final version.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, said the draft document makes it clear that Catholics who “knowingly and obstinately” reject the church’s teachings on issues like abortion should refrain from Communion.
Paprocki said the document quotes a 2006 statement from the USCCB explaining that “if a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to reject the defined doctrines of the Church, or knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definitive teaching on moral issues … he or she would seriously diminish his or her communion with the Church.”
“Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain,” he said.
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The draft document also quotes St. John Paul II’s 2003 “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” which instructs the church to become “directly involved” when someone refuses to stop sinning, according to the Register.
“The Code of Canon Law refers to this situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who ‘obstinately persist in manifest grave sin’ [Canon 915] are not to be admitted to Eucharistic communion,” St. John Paul II wrote.
Paprocki said the draft also tells Catholics not to “celebrate Mass or receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin without having sought the sacrament of reconciliation and received absolution.”
He said the bishops do not want to tell Catholics not to receive Communion, but they want to ensure that people are doing so correctly by first repenting of their sins.
Some had hoped and others had criticized the idea that the document might mention Biden and other politicians who refuse to obey the teachings of the faith that they claim to adhere to. But the U.S. bishops repeatedly said the document would not mention anyone by name, and Paprocki confirmed this again in his interview with the Register.
When the bishops meet, Paprocki told the Register that he plans to propose an amendment to include a quote from Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) urging government leaders to protect children from the “abominable crime” of abortion.
The 2007 quote states: “We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia. … We must adhere to ‘Eucharistic coherence,’ that is, be conscious that they cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and family are encouraged.”
Paprocki said the bishops likely will approve a number of amendments to the document before it is finalized.
Many Catholic bishops have expressed concerns that Biden’s and other pro-abortion politicians’ claims about being devout Catholics coupled with their radical abortion advocacy are misleading Catholics and creating scandal for the faith. They have said the church must do something to make it clear that Catholics cannot support the grave moral evil of abortion and must repent before participating in Communion.
In a pastoral letter in May, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said denying Communion may be “the only recourse a pastor has left” when politicians stubbornly refuse to repent for their participation in the evil of abortion.
“When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table,” Cordileone wrote. “This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.”
However, some priests and bishops have said they will not refuse Communion to Biden or any other pro-abortion politician, including Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., and the priests at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, which Biden attends while in Washington, D.C.
Biden openly defies church teachings about the sanctity of human life. After just 100 days in office, he surpassed President Barack Obama as the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history, including allowing mail-order abortions and trying to force taxpayers to fund abortions.
His administration also is fighting to overturn a pro-life Texas law that has saved thousands of unborn babies from abortion in the past two months alone. And it dropped a lawsuit defending a pro-life nurse from Vermont who was forced to participate in an abortion.