Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago expressed concern about a proposed outline of the document, saying that it is “very clear, however, that the language within the draft does cause concern.” He called for a “full discussion” without time limits.
Proper discussion among the bishops “has not taken place,” he said, and discussion with Catholic politicians who support policies contrary to Church teaching has not taken place, either.
“And we should also have a discussion with Catholic politicians who have positions that are in conflict with the teachings of the Church to find out why they have those positions. That, too, has not taken place,” he said, arguing for no time limits on the discussion of the proposed Eucharistic document.
In 2019, Cupich told CNA he had ongoing “conversations” with Catholic leaders in the Illinois state legislature who championed an abortion coverage mandate. He told CNA that he thought it would be “counterproductive” to deny Holy Communion in his archdiocese to the legislators who championed the law.
“I have conversations with them, and those continue to take place. They have to,” he said in an interview with CNA on Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians, that took place on the side of the bishops’ June 2019 meeting.
Other bishops, however, said that Thursday’s planned vote is merely to begin drafting a document on the Eucharist - not approving any final text of such a document.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas said that a “full discussion” among the bishops “will really best be accomplished when we have a draft of the document” – which could be accomplished by the bishops’ fall meeting in November, if they vote to move ahead with the drafting of it this week.
He called efforts to change debate rules a “delaying tactic” that could hinder the timely manner of approving the document.
Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon agreed, saying that in his 15 years in the conference he knew that time limits are necessary for discussion of issues. The full discussion among bishops, “which is certain to be very lively, I’m sure,” can happen when the text of the document is ready, he said.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend – chair of the doctrine committee which proposed the document – explained that the document “is broader” than just discussing admission to Communion.
“I think what we plan to do is completely in accord with what Cardinal Ladaria communicated in his letter,” he said. “We are no longer proposing a national policy” on Communion, he said, an idea that “was in the original proposal to the administrative committee, but we never meant it as it’s been interpreted in many media sources.”
(Story continues below)
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The proposed outline of a document on the Eucharist does include a section on “Eucharistic consistency,” or general worthiness to receive Communion. The doctrine committee also noted the particular responsibility of Catholic public officials to uphold Church teaching. However, the entire proposed outline includes many other aspects of the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, including the real presence of Jesus, the importance of Sunday, and recovering a sense of the Eucharist as a sacrifice.