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Catholics for Choice Praises Pro-Choice Catholic Majority as Bishops Back Down on Weaponizing Communion

November 17, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Contact: John Becker, Communications Specialist
Phone: (202) 203-0931

Catholics for Choice Praises Pro-Choice Catholic Majority as Bishops Back Down on Weaponizing Communion

WASHINGTON – Catholics for Choice lauded the majority of U.S. Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom today after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting in Baltimore to consider a document that could be used as justification to deny Communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians, instead approved a version that focuses on Christ’s presence in the Eucharist and doesn’t specifically mention abortion or politics at all.

The reversal happened after months of unrelenting public backlash from lay Catholics, progressive Catholic groups, Vatican officials, and Pope Francis himself. Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Indiana, who led the process of approving the document, conceded this week that the massive pushback against the initial version is what led to its several revisions.

Catholics for Choice President Jamie L. Manson said:

“The U.S. bishops’ retreat from their crusade of using the Eucharist as a tool for political intimidation is a huge victory for the nation’s pro-choice Catholic majority, who let them know, in no uncertain terms, that abusing the power of our sacraments is absolutely unacceptable. It’s also a subtle admission by the bishops that they’re distinctly in the minority on the abortion issue, and that taking such a drastic action in the face of overwhelming opposition from faithful Catholics in the pews would only further undermine their authority and erode their already compromised moral credibility. What happened today is proof that when pro-choice Catholics stand up and speak out for abortion rights and reproductive freedom, they can – and do – change the church.

“But the threat to abortion rights is graver than ever. Although the document doesn’t specifically refer to abortion, politics, or pro-choice Catholic leaders like President Biden, it still gives tacit approval for individual bishops to continue their crusade against pro-choice politicians and their supporters. And two weeks from today, another group of radical, anti-choice minority Catholics on the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on Mississippi’s abortion ban and seem poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which 68% of Catholics support. In the face of these threats, we call on the U.S. pro-choice Catholic majority to raise their voices louder than ever before in support of our shared Catholic values, including the right to abortion.”

Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect, and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.