The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) adopted its document on communion on Wednesday without mentioning whether President BidenJoe Biden Idaho House of Representatives Passes Workers’ Compensation Bill Biden Submits 2016 Climate Treaty to Senate for Ratification Rubio Pledges to Delay Biden’s China and Spain Ambassador Candidates MORE Other politicians should be denied the rite for their stance on abortion, signaling the end of the debate on the issue.
The final document on the meaning of the Holy Eucharist passed 222-8 at the USCCB General Assembly meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, with three bishops abstaining from voting. Before the vote, the document was discussed and subject to changes at the meeting.
The American bishops chose to proceed with the drafting of a formal statement on the meaning of communion in a vote of 168-55 in June, with six bishops abstaining.
Biden is the second Catholic president in American history. His support for the right to abortion has led to the Catholic Church not offering him communion.
Church law does not allow national policies, so even if the USCCB had voted to deny communion to politicians who support abortion rights, it would have needed Vatican approval to implement the policy. It would have been highly unlikely that the Vatican would offer such approval.
Pope FranciscoUS bishops will weigh whether Biden should receive communion Pope praises journalists for giving voice to victims of sexual abuse in church Pope Francis renews call for solidarity in Europe amid immigration crisis MOREThe top envoy to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, advised bishops this week to listen as they deliberate on communion.
“Sometimes it is said that there is a lot of confusion about doctrine in the church today,” Pierre told the USCCB, according to The Associated Press. “However, the argument continues that what is needed is clear teaching. That is true, but the Holy Father says that a church that teaches must be, first of all, a church that listens ”.
The Pope has previously warned against bishops politicizing the Holy Eucharist.
However, before Wednesday’s vote, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, a leader behind the effort to produce the document, said the bishops are responsible for “caring for the souls of these politicians.” CBS reported. He added that the church “should not be afraid” that politicians know how serious the issue of abortion is.
The USCCB has come under fire for possibly rushing Wednesday’s vote and crafting the communion education paper to finish before the 2022 election.
Biden met with Francis at the Vatican last month. During the meeting, the pope described the president as a “good Catholic,” according to Biden, and said he should continue to receive communion.
Biden told reporters after the meeting that the issue of abortion rights did not come up in the discussion. When asked if the pope said he should continue to receive communion, the president replied, “Yes.”