- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops convened virtually Wednesday for its annual three-day meeting, where church leaders are expected to address a host of thorny issues.

Leading the list is the question of who should receive Holy Communion at Mass. Conservative clerics such as conference President Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles have called for barring pro-abortion politicians such as President Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from receiving the sacrament. Others such as Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, have called for engaging with such politicians.

The bishops, whose parishes include the nation’s 70.4 million Roman Catholics, will vote Thursday on a proposal to draft “a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church,” according to the meeting agenda.

The American bishops are under pressure from Rome not to restrict Communion. While Pope Francis, like the rest of the church, opposes abortion, the 84-year-old leader said on June 7 that the Eucharist “is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners.”

Other actions proposed for the meeting center on approving texts for worship services, and a marriage and family life ministry framework.

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