In impassioned debate Thursday, U.S. Catholic bishops clashed over how to address concerns about Catholic politicians, including President Joe Biden, who continue to receive Communion despite supporting abortion rights.
Some bishops said a strong rebuke of Biden is needed because of his recent actions protecting and expanding abortion access. Others warned that such action would portray the bishops as a partisan force during a time of bitter political divisions across the country.
The issue is by far the most contentious agenda item at the national meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is being held virtually. It will conclude Friday soon after an announcement of how the bishops cast their secret ballots on the Communion dispute.
If a majority of bishops approve, the USCCB’s doctrine committee will draft a statement on the meaning of Communion in the life of the church that would be submitted for a vote at a future meeting, probably an in-person gathering in November. One section of the document is expected to include a specific admonition to Catholic politicians and other public figures who disobey church teaching on abortion and other core doctrinal issues.