Those concerns were included in Gomez’s Jan. 20 statement on behalf of the conference, on the day of Biden’s inauguration. Gomez offered prayers for Biden, stated the bishops’ role as pastors in forming consciences and not acting as partisan players, and detailed areas of agreement and disagreement between the conference and Biden’s policy positions.
That statement was initially withheld on the morning of Jan. 20, and then released later in the day around the time Pope Francis issued his statement.
While some bishops commended Gomez in their own inauguration day statements, others—including Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C.—criticized Gomez’s statement as “ill-considered” and “ill-timed,” respectively, implying that it was too critical of Biden on his first day in office.
In addition to this statement by Gomez, the USCCB working group called for a teaching document on the Eucharist, CNA has confirmed.
The document should instruct the faithful about worthy reception of Holy Communion, the working group said, and it should also clarify that Catholic politicians have a special responsibility to uphold the Church’s teachings in public life. Catholic holders of public office should not present themselves for Communion if they contradict Church teaching on grave moral issues, and have been warned already by a pastor, the working group stressed.
According to the USCCB source, that “pastoral statement” will be accompanied by “individual bishops” who “are going to issue their own statements on eucharistic coherence.”
(Story continues below)
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One of these bishops is Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, who discussed the topic of “Eucharistic coherence” in a Jan. 28 interview with EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.
Asked when it is necessary for a pastor to deny someone Communion for the sake of their soul, Cordileone responded that “private conversations” must first take place between pastor and communicant.
However, he added that this topic needs to be considered within the larger situation of worthiness to receive Communion. If Catholics do not understand that they must be in the state of grace to receive Communion, then a bishop denying Communion to a pro-abortion Catholic politician would not “make sense,” he said.
“So for that kind of action [denial of Communion] to make sense to a lot of people, we need to reclaim this sense of what it means to receive [Communion],” he said.