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The USCCB meets in fall 2021YouTube / screenshot

BALTIMORE, Maryland (LifeSiteNews) – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has voted to accept the much-discussed document on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church which completely avoids any mention of the reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians.

Assembled members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) decided the fate of the document in a secret, electronic ballot, while meeting in Baltimore November 17, as part of their Fall Assembly.

The document, entitled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the Church,” was approved with 222 votes in favor, 8 against, and 3 abstentions. Such an approval margin is far greater than during the USCCB Spring Assembly, when the document’s drafting was approved by 168 to 55.

The clear and ready approval of the document in the Fall Assembly could be due to the notable absence of any discussion of the distribution of Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians.

The public sessions of June’s online meeting were marked by visible dissent, as certain bishops and cardinals were concerned that the document might contain the Catholic Church’s teaching prohibiting those who “obstinately” persevere “in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Prominent amongst such dissenting voices were Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Bishop Medley of Owensboro, and Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton. These prelates wished to avoid any mention of refusing Holy Communion for pro-abortion politicians, such as Joe Biden.

Days after the close of the Spring meeting, the USCCB released a short document, stating that the content of the proposed Eucharistic document would avoid forming any “national policy on withholding Communion from politicians.”

The now approved document thus contains no such guidance, and the final draft focuses instead on “Christ’s gift of himself in the Eucharist and our response to that gift.” A copy of the draft document which the bishops voted on today, (dated September 24), focuses on the real presence of God in the Eucharist, and a personal “conversion” in light of this.

Teaching on receiving Holy Communion

The document devotes just two paragraphs to being properly disposed to receive the Holy Eucharist, placing the emphasis on the individual who comes forward to receive Communion.

The document does however quote from Pope John Paul II’s Ecclesia de Eucharistia, when he noted that “in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved.”

In his text, Pope John Paul II quoted from Canon Law (can. 915), which states: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Lone voice crying for the unborn

While the document avoids the issue of pro-abortion politicians presenting themselves for Holy Communion – an issue made all the more political by Joe Biden’s claim that the Pope told him to continue to receive Communion – one bishop repeatedly stood before the microphone to highlight the issue.

Bishop Joseph Strickland speaks during the 2021 USCCB Fall Assembly

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, called for bishops to “evangelize all the politicians.”

“When it comes to Eucharist and the sanctity of life, I must speak,” he noted. “The most important thing I must speak about is the presence of the Lord and fighting the atrocity of abortion.”

“I can’t remain silent as too many in our nation and in our world vigorously promote abortion: I must speak for the babies. The murder of unborn children is the pre-eminent issue and it leads to many other evils.

The murder of unborn children is an industry that destroys countless lives and produces wealth, that is used to promote much of the evil that is destroying our world. The murder of unborn children destroys women, men, marriages and families. It destroys the very foundation of our civilization – I must speak.

If as a shepherd I do not speak with all my power against this evil, I am a noisy gong and a crashing cymbal, because I have no love.

The tentacles of abortion are woven into all the evils we face, because when the value of the live of the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable among us is not guarded, then no life is valued.

Abortion opens the door to evil and allows Satan to run rampant through every aspect of human life. We must call the world back to God and guard the joyous and precious gift of life God gives at conception until natural death.

Life is a gift out of God’s loving heart.”

Bishop Strickland’s attempts to secure explicit mention of denial of Holy Communion for those who support for abortion went unsupported by his brother bishops in the USCCB assembly hall.