The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) spring general assembly got underway with some immediate controversy Wednesday as a vigorous debate arose over what is usually a routine vote to approve the meeting agenda.
The meeting, held in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was delayed by nearly an hour as the bishops weighed whether there should be time limits on their scheduled debate over the proposal to draft a document on the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist given a recent Vatican letter and discussions over worthiness of abortion-supporting politicians to receive communion, including U.S. President Joe Biden.
Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis introduced a motion that “at this meeting we allow time for each bishop to speak on this important topic. This topic and its implications are so far-reaching that putting limits on the amount of time given for our discussion will not help us or our people as we discern which course must be taken.” He cited the “limitations” of meeting over the Zoom platform and the fact that on this issue the USCCB is “looking for consensus.”
The proposal was met with considerable criticism as it would inevitably have delayed a vote on drafting a document on the Eucharist. Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Kentucky, who served as USCCB president from 2013 to 2016, called the idea a “painful delay” and Archbishop Joseph Naumann, head of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, said the motion was “a delaying tactic that will make it impossible to get this document to be voted upon in a timely manner.”
Ultimately, Archbishop Rozanski’s proposal was voted down by 59% of the bishops, after which the assembly voted 86% in favor of approving the meeting’s entire agenda.
Read more from The National Catholic Register.