“Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist,” Benedict wrote in Sacramentum caritatis.
“Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them,” he added.
Bishop Rhoades on Wednesday explained that although worthiness to receive Communion is just one part of the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist, it is an essential one.
“We want to talk about the whole truth about the Eucharist, and how can you do so without talking about the importance of living what we receive, and being in communion with the faith of the Church?” he said.
“That’s Eucharistic consistency. So, I think we can’t do a full treatment of the Eucharist without talking about that, or teaching about that,” he said.
Yet some bishops have warned against the document’s treatment of who may receive Communion, pushing for an outright delay on drafting the document and arguing that it required an in-person deliberation among the bishops.
In May, some bishops wrote to the president of the USCCB, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, asking that the planned debate and vote on the Eucharistic document be postponed until the bishops can meet in-person. The letter was led by Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago.
Archbishop Gomez in response said that the discussion would proceed as originally planned.
Again, on Wednesday some bishops moved to delay consideration of the document, this time by proposing to remove time limits on discussion of the document and arguing that all bishops who want to speak should be allowed to do so.
“We owe this to our people,” said Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis, who introduced the motion. Cardinal Cupich – who originally called for a delay on debate of the Eucharistic document in his May letter to Gomez – on Wednesday supported Rozanski’s motion to allow for unlimited debate.
Other bishops, such as Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, noted that the motion to remove time limits was essentially a “delaying tactic” and a “filibuster” on moving ahead with a Eucharistic document.
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Thursday’s vote is merely to begin drafting a document, they argued, and the bishops will have the opportunity later on to debate the document’s text once it is approved and written.