The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled to meet next week to debate on a variety of issues relevant to the administration of the Catholic Church, but the most likely aspect to stir controversy is whether the bishops will move forward with a policy document that will likely declare if abortion-supporting Catholics may receive the Eucharist.
The issue has been propelled to the front of U.S. Catholic culture in large part due to President Joe Biden’s continued reception of the Eucharist even as he remains an open supporter of abortion rights. The Catholic Catechism states that anyone who procures an abortion “incurs excommunication [automatically],” and that even “cooperation” in an abortion “constitutes a grave offense.”
Numerous Catholic authorities have declared that politicians who support abortion are complicit in procuring them and should be excommunicated and barred from receiving Communion. Others have argued that the matter should be left to abortion-supporting Catholics themselves to discern.
In May, USCCB President and Bishop José Gomez wrote a letter to all U.S. bishops asking them to consider, at this month’s conference, a proposal to produce “a document on the Eucharist” that would clarify “the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist.” That measure, if adopted, will likely be an attempt by the bishops to settle the issue of the receipt of the sacrament by abortion-supporting Catholics.
The document would “address the fundamental doctrines concerning the Eucharist that the Church, as a whole, needs to retrieve and revive,” the proposal declares.