More than 60 Catholic Democrat lawmakers signed a declaration of principles where they ask the American bishops to be allowed to receive communion despite supporting abortion.
The statement, published on June 18, comes in the midst of a great controversy over the reception of the Eucharist, which for Catholics is the body of Christ, since the USCCBC (United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference) have approved the drafting of a document on Eucharistic coherence, in which one of the fundamental questions has been whether politicians who support abortion can receive communion.
Within the Catholic Church there are diverse opinions, with bishops arguing that they do not have the power to prevent someone from receiving communion and, on the other hand, bishops explaining that they can deny communion to those persons or public figures who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin” cannot receive communion, as established in Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.
The statement by the Catholic Democrat lawmakers
The Catholic Democrat lawmakers explained in their statement that they are “proud to be part of the living Catholic tradition – a tradition that unfailingly promotes the common good, expresses a consistent moral framework for life, and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to those individuals in society who are the most vulnerable.”
The 60 Catholic Democratic representatives say they envision “a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life..”
Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term and provide resources to raise healthy and secure children. We believe this includes promoting alternatives to abortion, such as adoption, improving access to children’s healthcare and child care, and creating a child benefit through the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit.
However, the Catholic Democrats lawmakers also demanded that the Catholic Church not use the Eucharist as a weapon against lawmakers pushing abortion policies.
“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents. 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.,” they explained in the statement of principles.
” 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 continued.
A clear stance
The approval of a guideline to determine who may or may not be denied communion is very complex within the Catholic Church. Not all bishops have a homogeneous opinion and, furthermore, there are norms within the ecclesiastical structure to which they must adhere in order to approve a measure on the reception of the Eucharist.
However, the debate on whether a politician who supports abortion should receive the Eucharist has been going on for several months among the bishops and finally, in a vote after receiving the statement of principles from the Catholic Democratic congressmen, the vast majority of bishops approved by a vote the realization of a guide on the Eucharist in the framework of a broader project to promote devotion to the Eucharist in the United States.
The guide would include a chapter on Eucharistic coherence and is expected to explain to bishops and pastors how to deal with a public figure who maintains or promotes policies contrary to Church teaching, such as abortion. The decision is controversial since very important American politicians, such as President Joe Biden, are openly pro-abortion and at the same time identify themselves as Catholics.
In the first instance, the drafting of a document that would potentially lead to denying communion to certain politicians and public figures was not viewed very favorably by many bishops, however, the drafting of the Eucharistic guidance document was approved with 73% in favor and 24% opposed, leaving the remaining 3% of bishops who abstained.
The bishops’ response by approving the document went down like an anvil with several Democratic politicians, including President Biden, who argued that the bishops would not move forward on a document that would facilitate the denial of communion to pro-abortion politicians.