The signers of a May 13 letter which pressed the U.S. bishops’ conference to suspend its conversation on “Eucharistic coherence” include 47 diocesan bishops, five of whom are cardinals, along with 21 auxiliary bishops.
The letter, sent May 13 to bishops’ conference president Archbishop Jose Gomez, urged that “all Conference wide discussion and committee work on the topic of Eucharistic worthiness and other issues raised by the Holy See be postponed until the full body of bishops is able to meet in person.”
“The serious nature of these issues — especially the imperative to forgo substantive unity — makes it impossible to address them productively in the fractured and isolated setting of a distance meeting,” the letter’s signatories wrote.
The text of the letter, obtained by The Pillar, together with the original list of signatories, was independently confirmed by sources at the Vatican Secretariat of State and in the chanceries of several U.S. dioceses.
The letter addressed a vote scheduled for the USCCB’s upcoming June virtual assembly on the possibility of drafting a teaching document on “Eucharistic coherence.” If the bishops vote that a committee should draft the document, its actual text would be up for a vote of approval at a future meeting of the USCCB, at the earliest in November 2021.
The document has been expected to address, among other things, the question of whether Catholic politicians who support abortion and other policies at odds with Catholic doctrine should receive the Eucharist. That issue has long been the subject of public debate and controversy among the U.S. bishops, which has heated up since the election as U.S. president of Catholic Joe Biden, who supports expanded legal protection and public funding for abortion.
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