Sixty Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have issued a “Statement of Principles,” alleging that refusing Communion to Democratic lawmakers over their support for abortion is “weaponization of the Eucharist” and contradictory.
The document acknowledges that Catholicism outlines a moral framework and that government “has a moral purpose.” The Democratic co-signers said they are committed to improving the lives of vulnerable categories of people in adherence to Catholic doctrine, including the impoverished, disadvantaged, and oppressed, in “protecting the least among us.” It excluded the unborn, however, from its umbrella of social justice.
It then listed a number of legislative priorities, such as alleviating poverty for Americans, expanding access to education in underprivileged communities, and “recognizing the dignity of all humans.”
The statement also affirmed the importance of upholding the value of human life by encouraging full-term pregnancies, more resources for adoption, and child tax benefits, among other incentives. However, the signees said they also believe in “the primacy of conscience” and urged readers to remember Pope Francis’s warning not to treat the Eucharist as a “prize for the perfect.”
While accepting that the Church has historically been a source of moral wisdom and judgment, the letter said that “clergy must act as facilitators of grace, not arbiters.”
The Democratic coalition’s statement comes as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meets this week to debate whether a concrete rule should be enacted recommending that Catholics who publicly hold views at odds with Church teaching abstain from Communion.
During a recent press briefing, Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi dodged a reporter’s question about whether a 15-week-old fetus constitutes a human being, instead deferring to her moral authority to speak on the abortion issue as a mother of five children. Pelosi’s archbishop, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, recently instructed priests to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic figures who “are unwilling or unable to abandon” their “advocacy for abortion.”
President Biden has repeatedly framed himself as a pro-choice Catholic, both on the campaign trail and now in the White House, despite the USCCB’s declaration that the two are in conflict and that ending abortion is its “preeminent priority” among human-rights issues.
The letter concludes by urging bishops not to disqualify pro-abortion politicians from receiving the sacrament of Communion, claiming that it would “grieve the Holy Spirit” and hinder the spiritual development and journey of imperfect people.