A contentious debate in the Catholic Church about politicians like President Joe Biden who support abortion has led to a vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to reconsider the rules about who can receive Communion.
Church officials announced Friday afternoon that the bishops had voted 165 to 88 to draft a “formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.” Six bishops abstained from the vote. Once completed, the statement could include guidelines for denying Communion to public officials.
The conference of bishops had met for a three-day virtual conference before taking the vote on Communion.
The election of Biden, only the second president of the Catholic faith, has reignited the debate about whether pro-abortion Catholics should receive Communion.
Biden was refused Communion in 2019 by Father Robert Morey of Saint Anthony Catholic Church in South Carolina.
“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church,” explained the priest in an email statement at the time.
“Our actions should reflect that. Any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside of Church teaching,” he added.
The Vatican later warned U.S. bishops who were advocating against Biden being given Communion, saying that they were in danger of making the sacrament into a political weapon.
One of the most vehement Catholic critics of Biden’s political positions has been Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles.
“I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,” Gomez said in a statement from January.
“Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences,” he added.
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused to answer a question about whether a 15-week-old unborn baby is a human being during a press briefing on Capitol Hill. Pelosi, who like Biden is an abortion-supporting Catholic, took a deep breath and paused.
“Let me just say that I am a big supporter of Roe v. Wade,” she responded, altogether dodging the question. “I am a mother of five children in six years. I think I have some standing on this issue as to respecting a woman’s right to choose.”
Here’s more about the abortion debate over Biden:
Bishops debate BANNING communion for Biden