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San Diego bishop: Don’t weaponize the Eucharist for political ends

WASHINGTON, D.C. — “The Eucharist must never be instrumentalized for a political end, no matter how important,” said Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego in a May 5 essay published on the website of America magazine, the Jesuit journal.

Because of efforts by some U.S. bishops to exclude Catholic politicians — including President Joe Biden — from receiving Communion, “the Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare. This must not happen,” the bishop said.

The prelate reissued a warning he gave three months ago at a Feb. 1 Georgetown University online forum against “weaponization of Eucharist.”

Then, McElroy said: “I do not see how depriving the president or other political leaders of Eucharist based on their public policy stance can be interpreted in our society as anything other than the weaponization of Eucharist and an effort not to convince people by argument and by dialogue and by reason, but, rather, to pummel them into submission on the issue.”

McElroy’s America essay came four days after Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco issued a pastoral letter which said: “Those who reject the teaching of the church on the sanctity of human life and those who do not seek to live in accordance with that teaching should not receive the Eucharist.”

Although McElroy did not identify Cordileone by name, he said “a growing movement has emerged in the church in the United States” that calls upon U.S. bishops to exclude Biden and other Catholic elected officials who support legal abortion from receiving Communion.

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