Alas, Biden’s issue with the Catholic bishops over his privilege to receive Holy Communion from the Catholic Church is political. Yes, I conclude that the decision of the faithful bishops is political in its formation and consequences, but not at all in their intention. I do not see how we might draw another conclusion.

The Associated Press reported on June 18 that:

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church” that some bishops hope will be a rebuke for politicians who support abortion rights but continue to receive Communion.

The key is in the phrase “will be a rebuke for politicians who support abortion rights” [emphasis mine]. The significance is in the silences, what is implied and left unsaid.

It is incomprehensible to me as of the Old Catholic ordering that such a decision refers solely to public officeholders. As the Roman bishops spoke of the “Eucharist in the life of the Church”, we are left to wonder why the ‘guidelines’ proposed do not apply to any and every Catholic man or woman. Most all parishes catechize their constituency in the articles of the faith including and especially the Church’s teachings regarding natural law. The taking of innocent human life as an arbitrary decision is rooted in natural law which reveals the intention of the Creator of the child in the womb that the child ought to be born. One’s social or political position has nothing to do with the bedrock belief that a child conceived is of God, possessing a natural right to life unless its life must be taken if things are not going well in the womb.

Whether the document segregates politicians as a special entity has consequences for how other laity might receive it. Does the decision imply that it is acceptable for Catholic laypersons to be pro-abortion if they do not hold office or are not otherwise in a position of power to promote abortion on demand? Again, the silences speak, as the simple mechanics of distinguishing one group from another creates two groups. If the Church holds those in power especially accountable for adherence to Church teaching, then the conclusion is that the group having no power over abortion decisions has less or no such accountability. Natural law makes no such distinction.

The communion of saints as enshrined in the Nicene Creed is just that, a communio sanctorum indeed. That communion is more than a matter of baptism and Church membership. It is a communion in teaching, that teaching handed down from generation to generation for nearly two thousand years, with antecedents going back to Father Abraham and grounded in the Author of Creation.

Father David+

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