As divisions heightened along the Pacific Coast Highway about pro-abortion Catholic politicians — President Joe Biden first among them — being denied Holy Communion, a bucket of water from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) arrived to cool things off.
In recent weeks, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego have publicly taken opposing positions on whether the bishops of the United States ought to adopt a national policy on the matter. No one disputes that a bishop has the authority to take measures in his own diocese.
In the middle — geographically at least — is Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who wrote to the CDF in March explaining that the U.S. bishops were examining the matter and were considering a possible statement. The entire matter is expected to be discussed at the bishops’ June meeting.
The May 7 response from Cardinal Luis Ladaria, the prefect of the CDF, to Archbishop Gomez offered guidance for the discussion the U.S. bishops intend to have. It counseled caution on six grounds: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s 2004 intervention; the authority of episcopal conferences; relevant moral evils; unity among the bishops; general worthiness to receive Holy Communion; and the experience of bishops in other countries.
The exchange of letters addresses an issue that already caused public division last year, when Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia accused Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., of undermining the process set in place by Archbishop Gomez concerning Biden.
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