And it raises questions of how closely the bishops will be able to cooperate with the Biden administration on issues such as immigration and racial injustice.
More than 73% of the USA bishops casting ballots at a virtual conference this week supported tasking the USCCB's doctrine committee to draft language on maintaining consistency with the Eucharist.
The announcement followed more than two hours of extended debate between clerics on Thursday evening, with dozens of bishops delivering impassioned speeches for and against the proposal. Proponents say Biden's strong rebuke is needed for his recent actions to protect and expand access to abortion, but opponents do so and they are recognized as partisan power.
The Doctrine Committee will spend a few months drafting the "teaching document" and present it to the conference in November for approval.
"The Catholic Bishops are moving on this resolution that would prevent you and others who've supported abortion from receiving communion".
The plan sets up the potential for US Bishops to publicly rebuke the President and other pro-choice Catholic politicians.
"They're looking for direction", Hying added.
In another tweet, he said the Catholic Bishops "should be deeply ashamed for politically weaponizing the sacred sacrament of Communion". "At the same time, we can not dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity, such as racism, environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty".
"That's a private matter, and I don't think that's going to happen", he told reporters Friday at the White House.
The chairman of the USCCB doctrine committee, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, said no decisions have been made on the final contents of the proposed document. Bishops who are not on the committee, according to Rhoades, will have chances to offer input, and the final draft will be subject to amendments before it is put up to a vote. The president has said he personally opposes abortion but supports a woman's right to choose.
Some bishops want to block politicians with views like Biden's from receiving Communion. Archbishop Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC, has said that Biden would be welcomed to receive the eucharistic sacrament in the archdiocese.
"The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed", it reads.
"For many bishops, it's very clear that many influences are political", said William Kabanau, a professor of Catholic studies at DePaul University in Chicago.
Biden, an abortion rights advocate who is the first Catholic US president in almost 60 years, is the most openly religious president since Jimmy Carter.
Sixty Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives released a statement on Friday urging the church not to deny elected officials Communion over one issue.
According to a Pew Research poll from 2019, about 56% of Catholics said they thought abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Lieu, who is also Catholic, called the bishops "nakedly partisan" and "hypocrites" over the move, drawing a comparison to another prominent Catholic in politics that has pushed agendas that run counter to the Catholic Church's teachings.
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