Bishop Paprocki: USCCB must discuss Eucharistic coherence at June meeting

Springfield – Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois issued the following statement on May 26 in response to a group of bishops and cardinals writing to Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, who is also the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urging Archbishop Gomez to table a discussion of the subject of Eucharist coherence ahead of the USCCB’s June meeting:

“Sadly, there are some bishops and cardinals of the Church who not only are willing to give holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians, but who seek to block the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from addressing the question of Eucharistic coherence, which has taken on heightened urgency with the election of President Biden, a Catholic who promotes the evils of abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenderism. I fully support the decision of Archbishop Gomez and the Executive Committee of the USCCB to proceed with discussion of the topic of Eucharistic coherence at our June meeting to authorize the Committee on Doctrine to draft a document on this important subject for debate, amendment, and vote at our November meeting.

“The phrase ‘Eucharistic coherence’ was used by the Latin American bishops in their 2007 Aparecida Document, in which they said:

We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia; that is their responsibility… . We must adhere to “eucharistic coherence,” that is, be conscious that they cannot receive Holy Communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and the family are encouraged.

“It should be noted that then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, played a crucial role in the development of the ‘Aparecida Document,’ which was issued by Episcopal Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM). 

“The Bible is clear about Eucharistic coherence as stated by St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians (11:27), ‘Whoever eats unworthily of the bread and drinks from the Lord’s cup makes himself guilty of profaning the body and of the blood of the Lord.’ 

“Following the maxim that law follows theology, the principles of Eucharistic coherence are thus articulated in the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, which states that ‘a person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or to receive the Body of the Lord’ and that those ‘who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion’ (cf. canons 915-916). This is not a judgement of the interior disposition of person’s soul, which only God can judge, but pertains to the person’s external actions in relation to objectively grave sins.”


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