U.S. bishops approve highly anticipated document on the Eucharist

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18/11/2021
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Just weeks after Pope Francis met with U.S. President Joe Biden at the Vatican....

The U.S. Catholic Bishops' Conference gathered in Baltimore for their Fall General Assembly.

Among the primary topics addressed was a document on the Eucharist which the bishops agreed to draft in June following debate over whether pro-choice Catholic politicians should receive communion. 

Included in that category are U.S. President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who both met with Pope Francis in recent weeks while in Rome. 

The final document, titled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” was overwhelmingly approved by the bishops. It does not explicitly mention who should and shouldn't receive Communion, but rather reinforces the need to teach of Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist to American Catholics. 

In his opening remarks, the Vatican's ambassador to the United States addressed the Eucharist in the context of walking with others. 

ABP. CHRISTOPHE PIERRE
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States
'There is a temptation to treat the Eucharist as something to be offered to the privileged few, rather than to seek to walk with those whose theology or discipleship is failing short, assisting them to understand and appreciate the gift of the Eucharist and helping them overcome their difficulties.'

The nearly 30-page document recognizes the “special responsibility” of Catholic public figures to “form their consciences” according to Catholic teaching, but does not specifically mention President Biden. 

It also expands on the role of the Eucharist in tackling social issues. 

ABP. JOSÉ GOMEZ
President, United States Catholic Bishops's Conference
'The Eucharist is also the gateway key to the civilization of love that we long to create. Jesus promised that he would be truly present in the sacrament of the altar—but also in the flesh and blood of our neighbors, especially those who are poor suffering. If we ever hope to end human indifference and social injustice, then we need to revive this sacramental awareness.'

In May, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote to the president of the U.S. Catholic Bishop's Conference to ask that they seek a “true consensus” among the bishops before addressing the topic of Communion. With 222 voting in favor of the document, and only eight opposed, it seems that the bishops have done precisely that. 

JM 

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