Cardinal Cupich noted the Vatican’s call for dialogue and unity in his recent letter, and argued that the virtual nature of the bishops’ June meeting would not be conducive to discuss the matter at hand.
“The serious nature of these issues,” he said, “makes it impossible to address them productively in the fractured and isolated setting of a distance meeting.”
“We strongly urge that the bishops gather in person regionally or by province” to discuss the Vatican’s letter, he added, before the conference as a whole were to consider a teaching document on the Eucharist.
Then in a May 22 memo to all U.S. bishops, Archbishop Gomez explained that their upcoming meeting will include a deliberation and vote on whether or not to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist; the vote, he clarified, will not be on final approval of any such document. Furthermore, he said, the proposed discussion "reflects recent guidance from the Holy See."
The proposed document, he said, would focus on the centrality of the Eucharist to Christian life. An outline of the proposed document, included in Gomez’ memo, included the teachings of the Church on the Eucharist such as understanding it as “sacrifice,” the need for beautiful liturgies, the works of mercy, and a call to conversion.
It also included a section on “Eucharistic Consistency” and St. Paul’s teaching that Catholics must examine themselves before receiving Communion. The proposed section would focus on the “nature of eucharistic communion and the problem of serious sin.”
Bishop Paprocki approved of the effort to discuss the Eucharist at the bishops’ upcoming meeting.
“I fully support the decision of Archbishop Gomez and the Executive Committee of the USCCB to proceed with discussion of the topic of Eucharistic coherence at our June meeting to authorize the Committee on Doctrine to draft a document on this important subject for debate, amendment, and vote at our November meeting,” the bishop said.
He joined other bishops, including Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco and Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, who decried attempts to delay discussion of Eucharistic coherence.
“I’m deeply grieved by the rising public acrimony among bishops and the adoption of behind-closed-doors maneuvers to interfere with the accepted, normal, agreed-upon procedures of the USCCB,” Archbishop Cordileone stated on Tuesday.
“Those who do not want to issue a document on Eucharistic coherence should be open to debating the question objectively and fairly with their brother bishops, rather than attempting to derail the process,” he added.
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Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver stated, “St. Paul is clear that there is danger to one’s soul if he or she receives the body and blood of our Lord in an unworthy manner.”
“As bishops, we are failing in our duty as shepherds if we ignore this truth and how it is manifesting itself in today’s society, especially with regards to those in prominent positions who reject fundamental teachings of the Church and insist that they be allowed to receive Communion,” Archbishop Aquila said.
The USCCB working group on Biden’s presidency did recommend a teaching document on the Eucharist, but maintained that any discussion of Communion for pro-abortion politicians must be included with the Church’s teaching on general worthiness to receive Communion among all Catholics.