Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago argued that it would be obvious the document would be referring to particular Catholic politicians and their worthiness to receive Communion.
“I don’t know how we get around that, if we pass on this document,” he said.
Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego said that such a document would be divisive because it would be seen as political in stating the Church’s teaching on worthiness to receive Communion, especially among Catholics in public life.
“We will invite all of the political animosities that so tragically divide our nation” into the Mass, he said, which would then become a “sign of division.”
Yet some bishops disputed that a document outlining Church teaching would bring about disunity.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas said he was “somewhat amused” by those bishops who warned the conference was “rushing” into such a debate.
Worthiness to receive Communion is not just about abortion, he said, as politicians supporting other grave evils such as human trafficking or racism could also be unworthy to receive.
“It’s really some of our public officials” who prompted the debate about Communion by approaching the altar rail while supporting policies contrary to Church teaching, he said, not the bishops themselves.
“Those who advocate for abortion no longer talk in the language of choice. They talk about it as a right,” he said, noting Biden’s support for taxpayer-funded abortion.
“We’re calling everybody to integrity, including those in public life,” he said.
Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane said that "we can't have unity if we're not rooted in truth."
(Story continues below)
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He responded to bishops’ calls to wait on considering the document until they can dialogue with each other and with politicians.
“This call for dialogue: sometimes I wonder if the dialogue is meant not truly to listen, but to delay,” he said.
“All of us want what’s best for the people we serve,” he said, pointing to the “salvation of the souls.”
Bishop James Wall of Gallup stressed the need for clarity from the bishops on the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist.
“I just make a plea on behalf of a poorer diocese,” he said.
“We rely upon the work of the conference,” he said, noting that a teaching document would be “very helpful to me, to my priests, to religious, to the lay faithful.”