In his America Magazine essay, San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy addresses the question raised by many in the Church who call for the denial of Holy Communion to professed Catholic politicians who advocate laws that promote moral evils such as abortion, euthanasia, etc., especially President Biden.

The foundational shortcoming in the essay is that it elides a central problem: scandal to the faithful caused (a) when Catholic lay leaders openly defy and reject fundamental Church teaching, and (b) when bishops, charged with the grave responsibility of teaching authentically the Truth, fail to defend forcefully the Truth against such open and obstinate defiance. 

Instead of addressing the issue of scandal, Bishop McElroy focuses on a strawman characterization of his interlocutors as “Advocates for the proposal to adopt a national policy of excluding pro-choice political leaders from the Eucharist.” These “advocates,” the bishop asserts, rely on a “theology of worthiness to receive the Eucharist.” To circumscribe the debate in such a manner does a disservice to the many thoughtful arguments made by very credible and authoritative voices who do not call for a “national policy” (whatever that means) but rather seek a unified declaration concerning the moral perils to the politicians and to the faithful who are scandalized and led into error by the politicians’ incoherent position.  

Praise the Lord

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