On Nov. 17, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted overwhelmingly to approve a document that fell short of refusing Holy Communion to President Joe Biden or others who support abortion rightssomething conservatives in the Church have pushed for in spite of guidance from Pope Francis, CNN.com reported.
The document, "The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church," passed by a vote of 222 to eight at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in Baltimore.
Biden, only the nation's second Catholic president (after John F. Kennedy) and who has said his "personal" views were a "private matter," has openly professed his faith throughout his political careerdiligently attending Sunday Mass, infusing speeches with scripture and wearing late son Beau's rosary beads, ABC News noted. Recently, after a meeting with Pope Francis before the G-20 summit, and amid criticism from conservative bishops, Biden said that the pope told him that he should continue receiving Communion and said the pope called him a "good Catholic."
"We are very relieved that our bishops have stepped back from explicitly making Communion a reward for obedience to certain teachings," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of the pro-LGBTQ+ Catholic organization DignityUSA. "We believe that dealing with pastoral issues by fiat is harmful to individuals, communities, and the church as a whole."
"It is clear that Catholics view the Eucharist as a sacred gift that should never be used to coerce believers to act against their consciences," added Duddy-Burke. "We are relieved that the bishops heard the outcry in response to the proposal to use this letter to target leaders like President Biden and Speaker Pelosi and changed direction. Let this be the end of the threats of exclusion."