A total of 59 leftist Catholics in Congress lectured the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a Friday statement, telling them it would be immoral to deny them Holy Communion owing to their support for murdering the unborn.
"The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman's safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory," the letter charges.
It goes on to allege why this would be unfair:
No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings, including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants.
Democrats claim social justice issues like the death penalty and immigration are morally equal to unashamedly supporting abortion, a flawed equivocation known as seamless garment theory. But this error flies in the face of a USCCB declaration from 2019 that stated: "The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself."
The hullaballoo comes in response to a Thursday vote by the bishops to discuss drafting a document on eucharistic worthiness — which may potentially contain guidelines that instruct anti-life politicians to voluntarily abstain from the Eucharist or be denied it by their ministers of the Eucharist.
Discussions on the document are intended to uphold several Church teachings as presented in the Church's Code of Canon Law, such as canon 1398, which states: "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae [automatic] excommunication."
When questions arose on what "procuring an abortion" meant, the Vatican doctrinal office further clarified in 2009 that "formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense," and "the Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life."
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 1463, defines excommunication as:
the most severe ecclesiastical penalty, which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them.
Canon 915 further explains the conditions under which Communion is to be denied: "Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy Communion."
This legal tradition draws from 1 Corinthians 11, 27–29, where St. Paul declared:
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.
Receiving the Eucharist unworthily is a mortal sin known as "sacrilege" — when a person deliberately violates a sacred thing or person. Denying one the opportunity to commit this grave act is often viewed as an act of mercy.
Democrats appear hostile to this mercy — especially Catholic Democrats like California's Ted Lieu, who took to Twitter on Friday to dare U.S. bishops to reject him from receiving Holy Communion.
Dear @USCCB: I’m Catholic and I support:— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 18, 2021
-A woman’s right to choose
-Treatments for infertility
-The right for people to get a divorce
-The right of same sex marriage
Next time I go to Church, I dare you to deny me Communion. https://t.co/bUmiyJ8TtH
Regardless of the Democrat's accusations in the letter, the teachings of the Church are clear on the issue of abortion and the consequences for supporting it. At this moment, only time will tell if the bishops will choose to defend the Eucharist in their upcoming discussions on drafting this document.