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U.S. Catholic bishops show that pastoralism is out and partisanship is in

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President Biden might be the United States’ most visible Catholic. But is he Catholic enough for the bishops of the American church?

At its spring general assembly last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to move ahead on the drafting of a statement on “the Meaning of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.” The proposed document would discuss, among other topics, the question of Eucharistic worthiness — when to restrict public figures from receiving Communion due to their disagreements with church teachings.

Public figures such as the head of state. Because although the nation’s second Catholic president is a regular Mass attendee who by his own account once considered the priesthood himself, he also supports abortion rights — and it’s no mystery how the church feels about that.

The vote at the bishops’ conference on whether to move forward with the document has turned into a divisive and unfortunately public debate. Conservative bishops suggested that a pro-choice president deserved public chastisement; a smaller progressive wing suggested that conservatives’ sudden desire to issue a statement was more partisan than pastoral.

Conservative votes carried the day. Progressives lamented that the targeting of a political figure would force the bishops’ conference “into the very heart of the toxic partisan........

© Washington Post

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