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Sport EXPLAINER: What is the Catholic Communion controversy?

09:50  19 june  2021
09:50  19 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

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A committee of U.S. Catholic bishops is getting to work on a policy document that has stirred controversy among their colleagues before a word of it has even been written.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 file photo, President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, attend Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies in Washington. When U.S. Catholic bishops hold their next national meeting in June 2021, they’ll be deciding whether to send a tougher-than-ever message to President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians: Don’t partake of Communion if you persist in public advocacy of abortion rights. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 file photo, President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, attend Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle during Inauguration Day ceremonies in Washington. When U.S. Catholic bishops hold their next national meeting in June 2021, they’ll be deciding whether to send a tougher-than-ever message to President Joe Biden and other Catholic politicians: Don’t partake of Communion if you persist in public advocacy of abortion rights. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church” that some bishops hope will be a rebuke for politicians who support abortion rights but continue to receive Communion.

Bishops to debate banning communion for president

  Bishops to debate banning communion for president U.S. bishops are set Wednesday to open a controversial and divisive debate over whether President Biden, just the second Catholic president in U.S. history, and other politicians should be denied communion based on their stance on abortion.There will not be a formal vote on whether to deny Biden and other pro-abortion rights Catholic politicians communion on Wednesday, but the actions at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's (USCCB)There will not be a formal vote on whether to deny Biden and other pro-abortion rights Catholic politicians communion on Wednesday, but the actions at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop's (USCCB) three-day June General Assembly could lead to such a vote.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 file photo, President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, listen as Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, delivers the invocation during a COVID-19 memorial at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington. Gregory has made clear that President Biden, who sometimes worships in Washington, is welcome to receive Communion at the archdiocese's churches. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021 file photo, President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, listen as Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, delivers the invocation during a COVID-19 memorial at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington. Gregory has made clear that President Biden, who sometimes worships in Washington, is welcome to receive Communion at the archdiocese's churches. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

The 168-55 vote to proceed, vehemently opposed by a minority of bishops amid impassioned debate during virtual meetings, came despite appeals from the Vatican for a more cautious and collegial approach.

In this image taken from video, the Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco, rejects an agenda motion during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' virtual assembly on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this image taken from video, the Rev. Salvatore Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco, rejects an agenda motion during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' virtual assembly on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops via AP)

Here's a look at what has happened and what lies ahead:

Why some Catholic bishops want to deny Biden communion — and the pope disagrees

  Why some Catholic bishops want to deny Biden communion — and the pope disagrees The bishops believe they can restore their authority by naming themselves the leaders of a mini-Inquisition that can shun any Catholic who fails to toe the line.Communion is the most sacred part of a sacred ritual — the moment at Mass when the priest presides over the changing of bread and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ. Denying communion is a bit like shunning, with a distinctive Catholic wallop. Not only are Catholics shamed before their fellow worshippers; they are also denied access to the divine.

IS THIS AIMED AT PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN?

The chairman of the USCCB's doctrine committee, Bishop Kevin Rhoades, says no decisions have been made on the final contents of the proposed document but that it will not mention Biden or other individuals by name. And it will offer guidelines, not establish a mandatory national policy.

However, multiple bishops on both sides acknowledge the political significance of the document and say it is unavoidably about the president. Supporters say a strong rebuke of Biden is needed because of his recent actions protecting and expanding abortion access, while opponents warn that in doing so they risk being perceived as a partisan force.

In this image taken from video, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president and Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles confers with staff to alert the next speaker during their virtual assembly on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this image taken from video, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president and Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles confers with staff to alert the next speaker during their virtual assembly on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops via AP)

“It’s quite clear that for a lot of the bishops, a lot of the impact is political,” said William Cavanaugh, professor of Catholic studies at DePaul University in Chicago. “You have some of them saying this is not about Joe Biden, but in the comments the bishops made in that Zoom session, a lot of them mentioned Biden and gave the game away.”

Heated debate before US Catholic bishops vote on Communion

  Heated debate before US Catholic bishops vote on Communion In impassioned debate Thursday, U.S. Catholic bishops clashed over how to address concerns about Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden, who continue to receive Communion despite supporting abortion rights. Some bishops said a strong rebuke of Biden is needed because of his recent actions protecting and expanding abortion access. Others warned that such action would portray the bishops as a partisan force during a time of bitter political divisions across the country.

Biden is the nation's second Catholic president and the first to assume office since abortion became a major political issue. He supports the legality of abortion, while Catholic bishops have long made its abolition a foremost policy goal.

The issue is particularly salient with Biden because he has long been very public in his devotion, fluently speaking the language of faith and regularly attending Mass even on busy days like his own inauguration and the recent G-7 summit in Britain.

In this photo taken from video, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington rejects a motion to draft a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the church during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' virtual assembly on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Wilton has made clear that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches in the archdiocese. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this photo taken from video, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington rejects a motion to draft a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the church during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' virtual assembly on Thursday, June 17, 2021. Wilton has made clear that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches in the archdiocese. (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops via AP)

WHAT DO BIDEN AND OTHER CATHOLIC DEMOCRATS SAY?


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60 Catholic Democrats Urge Bishops to Not Block Joe Biden From Communion Over Abortion

  60 Catholic Democrats Urge Bishops to Not Block Joe Biden From Communion Over Abortion "To pursue a blanket denial of the Holy Eucharist to certain elected officials would indeed grieve the Holy Spirit and deny the evolution of that individual, a Christian person who is never perfect, but living in the struggle to get there," the 60 Democrats wrote."We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents," the letter reads. "The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman's safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.

“That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen," the president said when asked at the White House on Friday.

Sixty Catholic Democrats in Congress signed a letter to the bishops saying: “We solemnly urge you to not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel over one issue."

They said they're inspired by Catholic social teaching to serve the neediest and to promote alternatives to abortion. They added that the “weaponizing” of Communion for those who support abortion rights is inconsistent, since bishops haven't targeted Catholic politicians who back other policies that contradict church teachings, such as the death penalty or hard-line immigration and asylum stances.

WHAT IS THE BISHOPS' POSITION ON THAT?

In a document titled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, last updated in 2019, the U.S. bishops lay out their official teachings on the political responsibilities of Catholics. It cites a wide range of policy concerns — but also prioritizes abortion.

"The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed," it reads. “At the same time, we cannot dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty.”

EXPLAINER: What is the Catholic Communion controversy?

  EXPLAINER: What is the Catholic Communion controversy? A committee of U.S. Catholic bishops is getting to work on a policy document that has stirred controversy among their colleagues before a word of it has even been written. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church” that some bishops hope will be a rebuke for politicians who support abortion rights but continue to receive Communion. TheThe U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church” that some bishops hope will be a rebuke for politicians who support abortion rights but continue to receive Communion.

The bishops also deplore the “inhumane treatment” and family separations of immigrants, as well as “gun violence, xenophobia, capital punishment and other issues that affect human life and dignity.”

But it’s much less common for bishops to discuss denying Communion on issues other than abortion.

CAN THE BISHOPS' CONFERENCE BAR BIDEN FROM COMMUNION?

No. Only the local bishop where he's going to church can do that. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, has made clear that Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches in the archdiocese.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The USCCB's Committee on Doctrine will spend the next months preparing a draft document.

At the bishops’ next national meeting in November, expected to be conducted in person in Baltimore, bishops will have a chance to offer amendments. For it to be adopted, the final draft would require approval by two-thirds of bishops, and then by the Vatican itself.

During the debate at this week’s meeting, several bishops suggested meeting regionally in the next few months to thrash out their differences face-to-face.

Rhoades indicted that his committee could start work soon on noncontroversial sections and await input from the regional meetings on the more contentious parts.

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Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

American bishops seek to deny Biden Communion: ‘We’ve never had a situation like this’ .
The Roman Catholic bishops of the U.S. voted on Friday to begin drafting new guidance that could deny President Biden and other pro-choice public officials Communion due to their support of abortion rights, placing Biden at the center of a political and religious clash. The draft document will define the meaning of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, a ritual that is part of every Mass, and, according to Catholic teaching, transforms bread and wine into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ.

usr: 1
This is interesting!