Bishop Douglas J. Lucia issued the following statement June 18:

It is erroneously being presented by certain news agencies that the U.S. Catholic Bishops have approved the drafting of a document that is aimed specifically at denying certain public officials from the reception of Holy Communion. This slant on the action item voted on could not be further from the truth. The vote taken concerned the drafting of a document on the importance and meaning of the Eucharist for Catholics in the United States.

In the preliminary outline of the document the subject of “Eucharistic Coherence” is raised, seeking to address the dichotomy between belief and practice in the life of believers. It is an important and appropriate reflection since Holy Communion is meant not only to be an encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus, but also food to strengthen the communicant in giving witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The primary purpose of this proposed document is to welcome Catholics back to Mass after the pandemic and to accompany the Eucharistic Revival project that will begin in the U.S. Church next summer. Hence the media is missing the point; this document is only in its drafting stage and will be accompanied by consultation with a variety of persons including politicians.  

I feel that such careless reporting seeks to sow the seeds of dissension when what the bishops have been speaking about at their plenary meeting is the fostering of unity which is at the very heart of the sharing of Holy Communion. The inaccurate interpretation totally misses the pastoral concern of the U.S. Bishops and their desire to highlight the centrality of the Eucharist “as the source and summit of the whole Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11).

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