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‘Eucharistic coherence’ document will not include national norms on reception of Communion, bishops’ doctrine chairman says

June 17, 2021

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops began its annual spring meeting on June 16 with a tense discussion of whether every bishop who wishes to do so should be given time to speak the following day on a proposed document on Eucharistic coherence.

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On June 17, the bishops are scheduled to vote on various action items, including: “Does the body of bishops approve the request of the Committee on Doctrine to proceed with the drafting of a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church?”

The virtual meeting began with the typically pro forma discussion of whether to approve the meeting agenda. Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis made a motion that any bishop who wished to weigh in on the Eucharistic coherence document should be given the opportunity to do so.

During the tense hour-long discussion that followed, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne—South Bend, the chairman of the bishops’ doctrine committee, said that the document will not attempt to set forth national norms on the denial of Holy Communion.

After Archbishop Rozanski’s motion failed in a 59%-41% vote, the bishops heard addresses by the apostolic nuncio and the president of the bishops’ conference, both of whom appealed for unity, but with differing emphases.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre spoke of the importance of the proclamation of Christ through dialogue and encounter.

“The starting point, therefore, cannot be to shame the weak but to propose the One who can strengthen us to overcome our weaknesses, especially through the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist,” he said.

“My brothers, we stand at a historic crossroads, as our Holy Father is telling us,” said Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, the president of the bishops’ conference.

“It falls to the Church in this moment to defend the truth about God the Creator, and the truth about the sanctity of the human person and the unity of the human family in God’s plan for creation,” he continued. “This is our mission, the urgent task of the whole Church in this moment—after this pandemic, in the face of the chaos and confusion in our society.”

 


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