By Gabriella Porter
BALTIMORE, United States (Reuters) – Catholic bishops in the United States on Wednesday reaffirmed that Catholics who unrepentantly challenge the teachings of the Church should abstain from the rite of Holy Communion, but not directly reject politicians who support the right to abortion. As some conservatives expected.
The issue of eligibility for unity raises a serious debate in the church, questioning whether politicians like US President Joe Biden, who supports abortion rights, should be allowed to receive the central traditional sanctity of the faith.
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is immoral. John F. Biden, the first Catholic American president since Kennedy, says he is personally opposed to abortion, but promises to support the right of women to choose and to protect that right from restricted state laws.
At a meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, the bishops’ unanimity document approved by a majority vote did not explicitly name Biden or other politicians or focus on the issue of abortion. He says Catholics who exercise public authority have a “special responsibility” to follow the Church’s moral law.
While representing a code denial, the document does not outline any new guidelines that would prevent Biden from achieving unity. At the American Conference of Bishops, released in 2006, he reiterated that Catholics who “stubbornly” reject the Church’s moral teachings should stay away from unity.
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