Catholic bishops vote to draft document that could rebuke Biden

BREAKING: Biden reacts to Catholic bishops seeking to prevent him from taking communion over pro-abortion stance

And it raises questions of how closely the bishops will be able to cooperate with the Biden administration on issues such as immigration and racial injustice.

The measure passed by 168 votes to 55 against and six abstained after more than three and a half hours of heated debate at the Spring Bishops Conference, which was held online.

A 2004 letter from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Catholic Church at the time, explained to US bishops that "the Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin".

As a result of the vote, the USCCB's doctrine committee will draft a statement on the meaning of Communion in the life of the church that will be submitted for consideration at a future meeting, probably an in-person gathering in November. The proposal, once drafted, will require a two-thirds majority vote to become binding. This movement is driven by the extremely conservative wing of the Catholic Church. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the same group advancing the Biden abortion issue, has called for the end of the death penalty in the U.S. for decades.

"They're looking for direction", Hying said.

"It would be impossible to prevent the weaponization of the Eucharist", McElroy said. "At the same time, we can not dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty". Several of his acts as President have been lauded by abortion-rights advocates.

When asked by reporters about the actions of the bishops, Biden seemed to write it off.

"That's a private matter, and I don't think that's going to happen".

"That's a decision of his bishop", Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana said at a press conference.

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Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, who chairs the US bishops' Committee on Doctrine, insisted throughout the three-day conference that the proposed document isn't meant to single out any particular group or issue, much less a specific lawmaker. He has said he is personally opposed to abortion, but that he does not feel that view should be forced on others.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., says he will not prevent the US president from participating in the sacrament over his support for abortion.

Gregory was one of almost 70 bishops who signed a letter to USCCB president and Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez urging him to delay the Communion discussion until the bishops convene in person, but that request was not granted. During Thursday's debate, Gregory pressed against authoring a new Communion document at this time.

"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.

In a document titled Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, last updated in 2019, the USA bishops lay out their official teachings on the political responsibilities of Catholics.

Biden, an abortion rights advocate who is the first Catholic US president in almost 60 years, is the most openly religious president since Jimmy Carter. Abortion, although legal in the United States for 48 years, is and remains unacceptable to them.

Since the inauguration of Biden, the only Catholic president in American history after John F. Kennedy, bishops have been debating how to deal with him.

"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.

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