The latest meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has triggered more than a few nominally Catholic Democrats. After the bishops voted to draft a document teaching about the Eucharist, Democratic politicians vigorously protested and even threatened the USCCB.
Many of them signed a petition urging the bishops “to not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel over one issue [abortion].” Some have called for defunding the church, like Rep. Jared Huffman, who tweeted, “If they’re going to politically weaponize religion by ‘rebuking’ Democrats who support women’s reproductive choice, then a ‘rebuke’ of their tax-exempt status may be in order.” This recalls former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke famously campaigning on the promise to tax churches that didn’t celebrate same-sex government relationship licenses.
Evidently, these politicians believe that they have a “right” to the Eucharist, just as they have a right to kill the unborn. As John Daniel Davidson points out, this is completely wrong: “All Catholics know, or should know, that they are not supposed to present themselves for communion if they are objectively in a state of mortal sin.”
Flaunting support for abortion puts one in mortal sin and should prevent a person from presenting himself for communion. Nevertheless, all these Democratic politicians do. They don’t believe in things like mortal sin, and they classify murdering millions of children in the womb as merely one “issue” among many.
Why they should care, and why leftist media outlets like New York Times should amplify their grievance, is something of a mystery. Perhaps it’s theological ignorance, as Margot Cleveland suggests. Perhaps it’s a power play of powerful Democrats enforcing their will and immorality on the USCCB.
Whatever their motives, these proudly undevout Catholic Democrats and their allies in the media seem to take the USCCB’s document on the Eucharist seriously with many public statements, reports, and signed declarations. By contrast, Republicans seem indifferent to the fact that their colleagues are intimidating Catholic clergy and thereby violating the separation between church and state.
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