Cardinal Luis F. Ladaria, S.J., the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has sent a letter to Archbishop José H. Gomez, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that may lead to a reconsideration of the plan of some bishops to get the conference to approve a document regarding “the worthiness to receive Communion” of Catholic politicians who support legislation permitting abortion, euthanasia or other moral evils.
The letter, dated May 7, comes as a response to a letter on March 30 from Archbishop Gomez to the C.D.F. in which he informed the congregation that the U.S.C.C.B. was preparing to draft such a document.
In the letter from Cardinal Ladaria, a copy of which was seen by America, he recalls that the issue of a U.S.C.C.B. document on Catholic pro-choice politicians and worthiness for reception of Communion, had been raised during the 2019-20 ad limina visits of the U.S. bishops to Pope Francis. He said the C.D.F. had then “advised that dialogue among the bishops be undertaken to preserve the unity of the episcopal conference in the face of disagreements over this controversial topic.”
Cardinal Ladaria said the C.D.F. had then advised the U.S. bishops to take certain important steps before drafting any document, including engaging in “extensive and serene dialogue” in two stages. It said such dialogue should take place first among the bishops with the aim of reaching agreement on the doctrinal issues so as “to maintain unity” in the conference and in the church in the United States.
Significantly, in a comment that challenges the U.S.C.C.B. position that abortion is “the pre-eminent” moral issue, Cardinal Ladaria told the conference’s president that
“it would be misleading if such a statement were to give the impression that abortion and euthanasia alone constitute the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest accountability on the part of Catholics.”
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Gerard O’Connell is America’s Vatican correspondent.
With thanks to America Magazine and Gerard O’Connell, where this article originally appeared.