U.S. Catholic bishops have approved of a move to rebuke President Biden over his support of abortion. On Friday, bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a “teaching document” that will be used to rebuke Catholic politicians, including the president, for receiving communion despite their opposition to the church’s pro-life stance.
The vote, which saw 168 bishops voting in favor and 55 against, was announced at the end of a three-day meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, reports the Associated Press.
The bishops, which held the meeting online, voted privately on Thursday after nearly three hours of debate.
Supporters of the measure to rebuke Biden and other liberal Catholic politicians said a strong rebuke was needed due to his recent actions in expanding abortion access. Opponents warned that such an action would portray bishops as a partisan force due to the political nature of the argument.
Following the vote, the USCCB’s doctrine committee will draft a statement on the meaning of the Communion in the life of the church that will be submitted for consideration at a future meeting likely to take place in November.
According to the AP, a section of the document is intended to include a specific admonition to Catholic politicians and other public figures who violate the church’s rules on abortion and other core doctrinal issues.
Speaking at the debate, Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin said that he consulted with many people who were confused by a Catholic president who is pushing “the most radical pro-abortion agenda in history” and that action was required.
“They’re looking for direction,” he said.
Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego disagreed, stating that the USCCB would experience “destructive consequences” if they were to pen a document targeting Catholic politicians.
“It would be impossible to prevent the weaponization of the eucharist,” he said.
Under Biden’s leadership, the Democrats have continued to advance a pro-abortion agenda through legislation in Congress. Biden has said that he does not personally support abortion but didn’t think it was right to impose that position on pro-choice Americans. The AP reports that Biden has taken several executive actions that were championed by pro-abortion activists.
While no final decisions were made on the contents of the proposed document, bishops who were not present at the meeting will be able to offer input and the final draft will be subject to amendments before it is put before a vote.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, the chairman of the committee, said that the document will not mention Biden or any other individuals by name and would offer guidelines rather than impose a mandatory national policy.
This would enable decisions about the communion up to individual bishops and archbishops.