The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Vatican City urged caution to the U.S. bishops who are slated to formally rebuke Catholic politicians such as President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for their pro-abortion views.
Cardinal Luis Ladaria, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a letter last week to Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which will convene on June 16 to decide if they should tighten their stance on politicians who openly support abortion by demanding they refrain from the Eucharist.
According to Catholic News Service, which first reported on the letter, Ladaria’s missive stipulated that “such a policy cannot usurp the authority of an individual bishop in his diocese on the matter; the policy would require near unanimity; and it would be ‘misleading’ to present abortion and euthanasia as ‘the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics.'”
Ladaria also suggested the discussion should extend beyond politicians, and “would best be framed within the broad context of worthiness for the reception of holy Communion on the part of all the faithful, rather than only one category of Catholics, reflecting their obligation to conform their lives to the entire Gospel of Jesus Christ as they prepare to receive the sacrament.”
Ladaria admonished that such a measure “requires that dialogue occurs in two stages: first among the bishops themselves, and then between bishops and Catholic pro-choice politicians within their jurisdictions.”
Ladaria also warned that unless the bishops secure unanimous support for implementing such a national policy, the rebuke could serve as “a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States.”
At the request of Gomez, the USCCB will be drafting a document at their next meeting clarifying their position regarding the longstanding question of how to handle Catholic politicians in open defiance of Church teaching on abortion.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, who is chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has publicly and repeatedly rebuked Biden for supporting abortion, going so far as to say the president “should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic.”
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, whose diocese encompasses Pelosi’s district, has been very vocal regarding his opposition to the prevailing pro-abortion platform of the Democratic Party. As The Daily Caller News Foundation recently reported in an exclusive interview:
“Because we are dealing with public figures and public examples of cooperation in moral evil, this correction can also take the public form of exclusion from the reception of Holy Communion,” Cordileone wrote. “When other avenues are exhausted, the only recourse a pastor has left is the public medicine of temporary exclusion from the Lord’s Table. This is a bitter medicine, but the gravity of the evil of abortion can sometimes warrant it.”
“I have had such conversations with Speaker Pelosi, she knows that I stand by Church teaching, and I know she’s respectful enough not to do anything so provocative,” the archbishop said.
“In the case of President Biden or any other prominent Catholic, I think what I would do is if I knew that they were coming into the area here and planned to attend Mass, I would try to have those conversations as well ahead of time,” he added.