- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to draft a statement on whether pro-choice politicians can be denied Communion during Mass.
- Some Catholics who favor the statement believe it will provide people a better understanding of the Eucharist.
- Several Catholics who are against it think it will create less unity among Catholics.
- “This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country,” Matthew Vainer, director of the office of communication at the Catholic Diocese of Wichita told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Multiple Catholic priests, dioceses and organizations have had mixed reactions to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approving a measure to draft a statement on whether politicians may be denied Communion during Mass if they go against the teachings of the church.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of St. Louis told the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) that Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski “looks forward” to creating with other bishops a document that will “help all of our faithful best understand the true meaning of the most precious gift of the Eucharist.”
“Ensure that we treat the Eucharist with the reverence of the true Body and Blood of Christ,” a spokesperson for the Archdiocese told the DCNF. “Archbishop Rozanski continues to advocate for greater consultation among the bishops on this complex issue, and the need for greater unity.”
Matthew Vainer, director of the office of communication at the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, told to the DCNF there was a significant concern among bishops about the understanding and declining belief of the Eucharist. (RELATED: Here’s The Bible Story Ocasio-Cortez Says Is Her Favorite)
“This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country,” Vainer told the DCNF. “It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.”
Brother Stephen, a Christian priest, told the DCNF that any person, regardless of their views, should receive communion. “Jesus gave this(communion) to Judas, even though He knew of his sins, as written. Jesus put no restrictions on this and if you read in Matthew 26:18, it was given for the remission of sin,” Stephen said.
“For any person to stop another person taking this body and blood of Christ as given in the New Testament means they are themselves making a judgment against that person or group,” Stephen told the DCNF. “Which as Jesus taught us is in itself a sin; meaning to stop a person taking this sacrament as given of Christ, mean that the church itself is a sinner.”
Father Roy Donovan, a member of the Association of Catholic Priests, told the DCNF that the bishops who voted in favor of the statement are using Communion as a “weapon.” “They (bishops) have turned communion into an object when it is a meeting with the risen Christ,” Donovan said.
“They are destroying the unity of the bishops and gone against the Vatican and Pope Francis,” Donovan said. “Their recent zoom meeting shows them up as bullies, as having very little respect for their fellow bishops, they are a very bad witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Donovan asked the bishops who voted in favor of drafting the document whether they would also refuse Communion to those who believe in using contraception, treatments for infertility, the right to get a divorce, the right of same sex marriage, and women becoming priests and deaconesses, which he says also goes against church teachings.
Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice, said in a statement to the DCNF that she is “profoundly saddened” by the vote and called it a “unholy crusade against President Biden and other pro-choice Catholics.”
“The bishops chose to be partisan instead of pastoral, cruel rather than Christ-like,” Manson said. “They have chosen to disobey Jesus’s command to ‘feed one another.’”
Sharmane Adams, director of communications of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, claims to the DCNF that the vote is not intended to rebuke “the president, politicians or anyone for that matter.” Adams said it is only a teaching document on the meaning of the Eucharist.
A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise declined a request for comment from the DCNF, saying that the document has “ no wording yet on which to comment.” Instead, the spokesperson said that the vote is about “the Eucharist and ‘Eucharistic coherence,’ or aligning our reception and understanding of the Eucharist with that of the Church’s.”
Luis Ladaria, a cardinal of the Catholic Church and prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, sent a letter to the USCCB in May warning against the vote saying it will hurt unity between Catholics. He detailed a 2002 Vatican document, On Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life, which he says needs to help guide both politicians and bishops on issues that include abortion.
“When political activity comes up against moral principles that do not admit of exception, compromise or derogation, the Catholic commitment becomes more evident and laden with responsibility,” the note states.
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