Meeting virtually for their annual spring general assembly, the U.S. bishops voted on Thursday to begin drafting “a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.” The vote took place after extensive and, at times, spirited debate on Wednesday and Thursday, with some bishops opposing the move to begin drafting the document.
The measure passed by a vote of 168 to 55, with six abstentions. A simple majority was required for passage of the action item. The U.S. bishops’ doctrine committee will now lead the process of drafting the document, with input from other conference committees. A draft of the document could be ready to be debated, amended, and voted on by the bishops at their November meeting – which is currently planned to be held in-person in Baltimore, Maryland.
The above comes from a June 18 story on the site of the Catholic News Agency.
Cupich bishops try to filibuster
The agenda eventually passed, after 59% of voting bishops struck down a motion that would have allowed indefinite debate Thursday over the drafting of a document on the Eucharist, which would address, in some form, the question of whether Catholic politicians who support legal protection or state funding for abortion should receive the Eucharist. After that motion was defeated, the agenda in its entirety was passed with support from 86% of voting bishops.
Supporters of the proposed amendment said it was important that all bishops be heard, while critics said the amendment was a “delaying tactic” that amounted to passing a “filibuster” provision for a document that has been controversial among the bishops since at least January.
It was Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of St. Louis who proposed from the meeting’s virtual “floor” that unlimited time be allocated to the bishops’ Thursday discussion on whether to commission the USCCB’s doctrinal committee to draft a catechetical document on the Eucharist, which would include a section on “Eucharistic coherence.” Rozanski’s motion was seconded by Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark.
Both Rozanski and Tobin were signatories of a May 13 letter to USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez which had called for the discussion of the document to be dropped from the meeting agenda altogether.
Reading from a prepared text Wednesday, Rozanski told the bishops that “as we prepare to discuss the weighty matter of the Communion document that will be presented by the doctrinal committee” the bishops are “keenly aware that we are looking for consensus.”
“So, I would ask that at this meeting we allow each bishop to speak on this important topic.”
The subject of a teaching document on the Eucharist is so important, and “the implications so far reaching,” Rozanski said, “that putting limits on the discussion will not help us or our people.”
There followed a nearly hour-long debate among the bishops about the proposal.
More than 15 bishops spoke during the discussion, with Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop John Wester, and Bishops Joe Tyson, John Stowe, Robert Coerver, and Shawn McKinght speaking in favor of the motion. All six were signatories to the May 13 letter urging that the prospect of the document be dropped from the June meeting agenda entirely.
The bishops who spoke in favor of the motion emphasized the importance of collegial, in-person discussion and broad consultation, and claimed their view was supported by a May 7 letter from Cardinal Luis Ladaria, who urged the U.S. bishops to seek consensus among themselves in affirmation of Catholic doctrine.
Bishops who spoke critically of the measure, among them Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishops Joseph Kurtz, Paul Coakley, Alexander Sample, Joseph Naumann, William Lori, and Salvatore Cordileone, along with Bishops Michael Olson, Kevin Rhoades, and Michael Burbidge noted the motion would introduce an effective filibuster on the vote to allow the doctrinal committee to produce a draft document.
The above comes from a June 16 story on The Pillar.