During the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, the U.S. Catholic bishops approved a new document on the Eucharist (Communion) in an overwhelming vote of 222 to eight, with three abstentions.
The long-awaited document, entitled, “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” is meant to be an educational piece, re-catechizing Catholics on the Eucharist in response to a decline in the belief in the Eucharist as the real presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus. While there was some expectation that the document would state whether or not pro-abortion public figures such as politicians including President Biden should be denied Communion, the document is more of an explanation of why Catholics should not receive the Eucharist when in a state of mortal sin.
According to the Catholic News Agency (CNA), the 30-page document includes two sections: “The Gift” and “Our Response.” The gift section focuses on the Eucharist as a gift from Christ while the response section focuses on gratitude for the gift of the Eucharist, the role the laity play in receiving the Eucharist, and the important role of the Eucharist in conversion.
Though the document doesn’t mention pro-abortion public figures such as President Joe Biden by name or directly state whether or not pro-abortion politicians should be denied Communion, “its intent,” reports ABC, “is to issue a stern rebuke of individuals, especially of public officials, who present themselves for Communion after breaking with church teaching on fundamental issues.”
According to ABC, a leaked draft of the document prior to the conference stated that “there are some sins, however that do rupture the communion we share with God and the Church.”
“As the Church has consistently taught, a person who receives Holy Communion while in a state of mortal sin not only does not receive the grace of the sacrament, he or she commits the sin of sacrilege by failing to show the reverence due to the Body and Blood of Christ,” it explained.
The document also explains the difference between mortal and venial sins and states that Catholics in a state of mortal sin should not present themselves for Holy Communion until they have gone to Confession.
The bishops also approved a plan for a three-year Eucharist revival campaign that will include new teaching materials, training for diocesan and parish leaders, a revival website, and a special team of 50 priests who will travel the country to preach about the Eucharist. It will culminate with a National Eucharist Congress in July 2024.
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