Details from CNS:
After receiving an unprecedented letter from 67 bishops appealing for a delay in a discussion during the bishops’ upcoming spring general assembly on whether to prepare a teaching document on the reception of Communion, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ president explained in a memo the procedure followed in bringing the question to a vote during the June 16-18 virtual meeting.
The back-and-forth messages follow an increasingly public debate among the bishops about Catholic politicians who support keeping abortion legal and whether they should be denied access to the Eucharist.
In a May 22 memo to fellow bishops, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles explained that the USCCB Administrative Committee approved a request from Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, for the discussion on drafting a document to examine the “meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the church.”
The Administrative Committee includes conference officers and all of the committee chairmen. It set the spring assembly agenda during its meeting in March.
Bishop Rhoades chairs the bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, which would draft the document if approved by the full assembly.
Archbishop Gomez’s memo came in response to a May 13 letter, which was obtained by Catholic News Service, to him from 67 bishops who asked that any discussion on “eucharistic coherence” be removed from the assembly agenda.
The letter cites May 7 correspondence from Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, to Archbishop Gomez.
The bishops wrote that “we respectfully urge that all conference-wide discussion and committee work on the topic of eucharistic worthiness and other issues raised by the Holy See be postponed until the full body of bishops is able to meet in person.”
Four cardinals are among those signing the letter: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory of Washington, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey.
Archbishop Gomez said USCCB rules require that the body of bishops first be asked whether to issue a document on a particular topic. Bishop Rhoades took such a step by asking the Administrative Committee to include time on the spring agenda to discuss such a question. The committee agreed.
Read on, including details of a draft of a document from Archbishop Gomez: an outline of a possible document with the proposed title “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the life of the Church: Why It Matters.” The report notes it outlines three parts, subtitled “The Eucharist, A Mystery to be Believed,” “The Eucharist, A Mystery to be Celebrated” and “The Eucharist: A Mystery to be Lived.”