Denver Newsroom, Jun 23, 2021 / 16:56 pm (CNA).
In a statement published on June 23, 2021, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois lambasted recent media coverage of the USCCB vote to draft a document on the Eucharist.
Among the errors pointed out in the statement were claims by several media outlets that the “Vatican had warned the Catholic Bishops of the United States not to pass this proposal.”
Said Bishop Paprocki, “That is simply false.”
To clarify the issue the bishop continued, “In fact, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, SJ, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had written to the president of the USCCB calling for ‘dialogue . . . first among the bishops themselves, and then between bishops and Catholic pro-choice politicians within their jurisdictions.’ In fact, bishops and politicians have been dialoguing about this issue for many years.”
He argued that the draft document was “precisely” the impetus needed to give the dialogue form and substance. USCCB procedures will now allow for regional bishops’ meetings to discuss the document and a formal debate and vote on the document—with the ability to propose amendments—at the November meeting.
Additionally, he noted that one of the “misleading arguments” was voiced by bishops and cardinals inside the USCCB. These bishops and cardinals argued that “drafting this document …would be divisive and would harm the unity of the bishops’ conference,” according to the statement.
However, Bishop Paprocki countered that “There should be no unity with iniquity.”
“Yes, we should strive for unity, but our unity should be based on the truths of our faith as found in Sacred Scripture and the constant Tradition of the Church. No one should want to be united on the path to perdition.”
The bishop stressed that other members of the hierarchy in Latin America united in the teaching on “Eucharistic coherence”— “including Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis).” The Latin American bishops were the first to use the term “eucharistic coherence,” though they were building off of the term “eucharistic consistency” used in Sacramentum Caritatis by Pope Benedict XVI. The term has been explosive in the American context, though it has been a feature of theological and papal thought with little controversy before immersion into its current context.
Addressing yet another inaccuracy, he asserted that Eucharistic consistency isn’t simply about “abortion and euthanasia,” but the problem of grave sin “of any kind.”
While mainstream reporting has often given the impression that the bishops recently decided only one sin will prevent someone from reception of the Eucharist, “It has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church for the past two thousand years that those persons conscious of grave sin must first repent, confess their sins to a priest, and receive sacramental absolution before receiving holy Communion,” said the bishop.
“This teaching is reflected in the Church’s canon law and sacramental discipline,” he noted.
Finally, Bishop Paprocki concluded with a description of the oath taken by a bishop at his ordination and an exhortation to his brother bishops to “have the courage to fulfill their solemn oath.”
The oath reads: “In fulfilling the charge entrusted to me in the name of the Church, I shall hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety; I shall faithfully hand it on and explain it, and I shall avoid any teachings contrary to it. I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.”
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