US Catholic bishops meet amid divisions on Communion policy

Jose H. Gomez, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez

FILE – In this Sunday, June 7, 2020 file photo, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez holds a Communion wafer as he celebrates the the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, a Mass with churchgoers present at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Despite calls from some of its members for a delay, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops plans to devote part of its national meeting in June 2021 to the sensitive issue of which Catholics are worthy of receiving Communion. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

When U.S. Catholic bishops convene virtually for a national meeting this week, they will be divided ideologically as well as physically.

They’re split over whether to press ahead with an initiative that could rebuke President Joe Biden for receiving Communion while supporting abortion rights. It’s a test of whether the bishops can work constructively with the Biden administration and whether they will heed appeals for restraint from Pope Francis.

Conservative bishops are pushing to have the conference’s doctrine committee draft a formal statement on Communion that would be a clear signal to Catholic politicians. Opponents, however, are cautioning against any swift or aggressive action on the issue.

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