U.S. Bishops Discuss Eucharist Teaching Document Ahead of Wednesday Vote

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By Jessica Easthope

“So my brothers, our beautiful task is to continue to tell the Catholic story, to reveal Jesus to our people, to place their hands in his hands, so they can walk by his light and follow him on the path to eternity to the love that never ends,” said USCCB President, Archbishop Jose Gomez.

The Document on the Meaning of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church is a teaching document, an effort to revive the celebration of Communion. Despite rumors, no part of the document prohibits pro-abortion politicians from receiving the Cucharist; however, a draft of the document says “Lay people who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to embody Church teaching.”

The topic of whether or not President Joe Biden, specifically, should receive Communion considering his record of pro-abortion policies, has caused a widespread debate. But the bishops have repeatedly said the document is not disciplinary in nature, but instead, it’s the responsibility of every Catholic to celebrate the Eucharist. As for whether any person can be denied – Canon Law leaves that up to individual priests and bishops.

“We are also united in our conviction that the Eucharist cannot be a tool for division. The Eucharist cannot be ideological. The Eucharist cannot be partisan,” said USCCB National Advisory Council, Mark Sadd.

Though the conversation surrounding the teaching document started with the issue of abortion, the bishops also discussed how the Church can evolve in its approach to combating loss of unborn life.

“The Church must be unapologetically pro-life. We cannot abandon our defense of the innocent human life or the vulnerable person,” said Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. “Yet the synodal approach to the question would be to understand better why people seek to end pregnancy.”