United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ voted to write a document on the meaning of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church during their Spring Plenary Assembly the days of June 16-18, 2021. Since the announcement of the vote there has been much attention on the vote taken to draft a document on the Eucharist. The question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot. The vote by the bishops last week tasked the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on the Doctrine to begin the drafting of a teaching document on the Eucharist. In November of 2021, the bishops will gather to discuss the document draft.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. The importance of nurturing an ever deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and the beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.
It is important to note that the bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each catholic, regardless of whether they hold public office or not is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeated emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teaching to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.
Everyone in the Church is invited to pray for the bishops as they continue their dialogues and reflections.