US bishops are moving against the nation's second Roman Catholic president, voting to draft a document in support of denying President Biden the sacrament of Communion because he supports abortion rights. The bishops announced Friday that they debated in a virtual meeting this month before voting to start work on the document, the New York Times reports. The measure was approved by 73% of the bishops voting, with 24% voting against it. The policy also would apply to other American politicians who don't oppose access to abortion in their offices. "This is a Catholic president that is doing the most aggressive thing we have ever seen in terms on this attack on life," said Missouri Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City. "We've never had a situation like this where the executive is a Catholic president who is opposed to the teaching of the church," said Oregon Bishop Liam Cary.
The Vatican tried to warn off the bishops last week. The Conference of Catholic Bishops can't keep Biden from receiving Communion anyway; that's up to each diocese's bishop. And Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, DC, opposes the idea. Some bishops cautioned against using the sacrament to achieve a political end, per NPR. Starting down this path will make it "impossible to prevent the weaponization of the Eucharist in partisan battles," said San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy. The bishops expect to vote on the document in November, and there was an indication it might not sail through. St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski tried to essentially use a filibuster to block the Communion debate. He failed, but the vote was close enough to suggest the finished document might not have the backing of the required two-thirds of the bishops. (Read more US Conference of Catholic Bishops stories.)