US Catholic bishops are on a potential collision course with President Joe Biden after voting to commission a document that may call for him to be barred from Holy Communion.
Biden is the second Catholic elected US president, after John F Kennedy. He could be the first president to be denied Communion by his Church – a remarkable development that emphasises the divisive nature of abortion in US politics and religious life.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) clashed online over whether to draw up a teaching document on politicians who support abortion.
Holy Communion is the most important ritual in the Catholic Christian faith.
The Catholic president regularly attends Church services.
Responding to news of the bishops’ vote, he said: “That’s a private matter and I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”
The Vatican has already indicated its opposition to the bishops’ move.
The document will now be drafted by the doctrine committee of US bishops.
However, although it will be a form of national policy, it will not be binding. Each individual bishop has the right to decide who should be blocked from the Mass in his diocese.
The document will return for debate at the next bi-annual US Catholic Bishops Conference in November.
Photo: US President Joe Biden. EPA-EFE/Yuri Gripas / POOL
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