This venerated sacrament of communion is meant to mean what the word means: with unity, with unity. This week’s controversial debate in the American Catholic Bishops’ Conference threatens to turn this sacrament into a symbol of division and a political and religious weapon. I wonder what the Jesus would think who prayed, “Father, may they all be one”.
The division among American bishops became apparent soon after President Joe Biden’s election, when the Bishops’ Conference set up a working group to address Biden’s public stance on abortion law, which clashes with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
This week’s virtual bishops’ meeting brought the subject to the fore as they debated the preparation of a document on the Eucharist. Some bishops claim that such a document should ask what to do with communion and Catholic politicians. The outcome of the meeting – a unilateral vote of 24% against and 73% in favor of moving the document forward – was as obvious a sign of disagreement within the episcopate as we have seen, with some openly questioning their fellow bishops. Motifs.
Pope Francis was quoted as saying: “The Eucharist is not a price for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” A letter from the Vatican had called for “full and peaceful dialogue” and suggested that the bishops consult other bishops’ conferences before taking a decision on the elaboration of a document on the Eucharist.
The mood of the “pro-French” bishops like Tobin was ignored. That 75% of the bishops voted in favor of the draft document, cementing a true division among American bishops that will last until their next session in November, when they meet in person to debate for the first time in two years and vote on the document to be created.
The almost hostile display of disagreement among the bishops has discouraged many believers. Where, they wonder, was the anger of some of these “pro-document” bishops with the overtly obnoxious behavior of the former president who openly opposed the teachings of the Catholic Church on issues such as immigration, the death penalty, poverty, racism and the climate ? change, and who was cruel to the weak, poor, colored and people with disabilities? Where was your outrage when Trump attacked Pope Francis as “shameful” and “political pawns”?
Yes, Donald Trump is not Roman Catholic and has not received communion, but is that the only litmus test we have to appoint politicians as moral agents? If they’re not one of us, let’s say who cares?
While I think Biden’s abortion stance makes political sense and is inconsistent with other pro-life issues he has advocated, I think the question of his receiving communion is a private matter between him and his confessor. Can someone else really know someone else’s heart and purpose? Receiving communion is consistent with personal counseling based on an informed moral conscience. The decision is made by the person, not the bishops or even the Pope.
In the Gospels, Jesus chose to eat with sinners rather than saints. His actions showed that inclusion was one of the most effective means of conversion and unity. The body of Christ. Amen. It’s true. Let it be like that.
Read Also :