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Roman Catholic bishops prepare to challenge Biden at the communion rail

25 June 2021


President Joe Biden, and the First Lady, Jill Biden, at St Joseph on the Brandywine RC Church, Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday

President Joe Biden, and the First Lady, Jill Biden, at St Joseph on the Brandywine RC Church, Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday

THE United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted last week to produce a teaching document on the eucharist — widely seen as a move towards confronting the President, Joe Biden, over his refusal to ban abortion.

President Biden, a Roman Catholic, continues to receive communion, saying that his attendance at mass is a private matter. There has been pressure from pro-life RC bishops, however, to deny him communion. A four-hour debate in last week’s online bishops’ meeting ended in a 168-55 vote (74 per cent) in favour of requesting the US doctrine commission to draft a document on the meaning of the eucharist to present to the Conference of Bishops’ next meeting, in November.

The Bishop of Baker, Oregon, the Most Revd Liam Cary, described it as unprecedented to have “a Catholic president who is opposed to the teaching” of the Church. The Bishop of San Diego, the Most Revd Robert McElroy, however, warned of “weaponising” the eucharist.

Any teaching document would need to have the approval of the Vatican. Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor-in-chief of the Jesuit periodical La Civiltà Cattolica, told The New York Times: “The concern in the Vatican is not to use access to the eucharist as a political weapon.”

A Democratic Congressman, Ted Lieu, posted on Twitter: “I’m Catholic and you are hypocrites. You did not tell Bill Barr, a Catholic, not to take communion when he expanded killing human beings with the death penalty. . . You are being nakedly partisan and you should be ashamed. Another reason you are losing membership.”

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