Washington D.C., Jun 11, 2021 / 13:15 pm (CNA).
While some activists claim that the U.S. bishops will be voting next week on denying Communion to President Joe Biden, the bishops will be considering a number of items at their annual spring meeting – none which specifically concern Biden.
The online activist group Faithful America – which has previously targeted bishops on issues of religious freedom and same-sex marriage – recently released a statement calling on the bishops to not vote “on whether Joe Biden and other pro-choice lawmakers are fit to receive Holy Communion.”
They called the vote a “right-wing hit job,” even though the bishops will not be voting on any such proposal at their upcoming spring meeting.
A second petition circulated by the group thanked bishops who called for a planned discussion on the Eucharist to be delayed.
The bishops will deliberate on a number of other action items next week when they meet virtually from June 16-18. They will vote on whether to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist, but there is “nothing in the works” on a specific discussion of Biden and Communion, a source close to the conference told CNA on April 29.
A proposed outline of the Eucharistic document includes a comprehensive treatment of the Church’s teaching on the Eucharist. It not only mentions general worthiness to receive Communion, but also includes sections on the Eucharist as “sacrifice,” recovering Sunday as a holy day, belief in the Real Presence, and the importance of the works of mercy.
At the meeting, which will take place online, both the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, and the conference president, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, will deliver addresses to the bishops.
The bishops will deliberate and vote on nine action items, including on two causes for canonization, approval of liturgical translations, a statement on Native American ministry, and pastoral frameworks for marriage and family life ministry and for youth and young adults.
The conference will consider not only a teaching document on the Eucharist, but will hear a presentation on a potentially far more significant undertaking – a three-year Eucharistic Revival initiative. Bishop Andrew Cozzens, chair of the evangelization committee, will make the presentation.
The committee is proposing that the initiative begin next summer.
“Perceiving a call of the Holy Spirit for this revival from our consultation, we propose a three-year national movement of Eucharistic Revival, beginning in the summer of 2022,” the committee stated in its proposal. A National Eucharistic Congress is proposed 2024, with the goal of “forming and sending more than 100,000 missionaries of the Eucharist into dioceses and parishes across our country.” The proposal calls for Eucharistic movements at the parish and diocesan levels.
The bishops will also vote to approve two causes for canonization.
One of the causes is for Lt. Father J. Verbis Lafleur, a priest of the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana who volunteered as a military chaplain during World War II. He was a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp, and eventually gave his life saving fellow servicemembers on a Japanese ship that was torpedoed off the coast of the Philippines.
The second cause is for U.S. Merchant Marine Capt. Leonard LaRue, opened by the Diocese of Paterson in New Jersey. LaRue captained a ship that in 1950 saved more than 14,000 Korean refugees at Hungnam, who were fleeing the invading Chinese army at the beginning of the Korean War. The rescue was known as the “Christmas miracle,” the diocese said.
During their meeting, the bishops will hear a report from the National Review Board – which advises the conference on child and youth protection.
The review board has made some notable requests of bishops in recent years, in light of the 2018 revelations about former cardinal Theodore McCarrick. In June 2019 the board urged the bishops to push for the release of the Vatican’s McCarrick report; in November 2020, the board advised bishops to make changes to the abuse auditing process and weigh the effectiveness of abuse prevention programs.
Other action items include approval of a pastoral framework for marriage ministry, “Called to the Joy of Love,” as well as a statement on Native American ministry.