Catholic bishops are expected to decide in June on whether they will press President Joe Biden to stop taking Communion over his stance on abortion.
A document will be prepared for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops by its Committee on Doctrine to clarify the church’s position on abortion, as The Associated Press reports.
The effort to clarify the church’s stance comes as Biden is first Catholic president to support abortion rights.
According to Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, this position on the issue by a public figure is “a grave moral evil.”
Naumann chairs the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities. He told The Associated Press, “Because President Biden is Catholic, it presents a unique problem for us. It can create confusion. … How can he say he’s a devout Catholic and he’s doing these things that are contrary to the church’s teaching?”
If the document is approved, it will declare the view that the USCCB holds is Biden, and other public figures who are Catholic should not take communion if they advocate for abortion rights.
A two-thirds majority would be needed to continue drafting a formal document.
Individual bishops would still be granted the power to decide whether they will withhold Communion, according to USCCB policy.
Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego expressed concern over the church’s position.
“I do not see how depriving the president or other political leaders of the Eucharist based on their public policy stance can be interpreted in our society as anything other than a weaponization of the Eucharist … to pummel them into submission,” McElroy said.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone suggested, “There’s a growing sense of urgency.”
He added, “Abortion is not just one among many important issues. … It’s a direct attack on human life.”