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Under Pope Benedict XVI, the U.S. bishops, feeling some pressure from conservatives at the Vatican, were moving toward at least a consideration of withholding Communion from pro-abortion politicians. But that movement ground to a halt after the election of Pope Francis. The winds blowing from the Vatican changed, and it became clear to the bishops that they no longer even had to pretend to debate the matter. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, among other bishops, spoke of the Communion issue as passé in the Francis era.
Dolan has said:
In a way, I like to think it's an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities. But by now that inflammatory issue is in the past. I don't hear too many bishops saying it's something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially. I think most bishops have said, "We trust individual bishops in individual cases." Most don't think it's something for which we have to go to the mat.
Pope - Benedict - XVI - Withholding - Communion
Pope Benedict XVI supported the withholding of Communion from pro-abortion politicians. But Theodore McCarrick famously prevented his brother bishops from seeing a letter he once wrote to them to that effect. The letter, written by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, had said that if a pro-abortion politician, "with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it."
McCarrick, who didn't want to damage his chummy relations with various pro-abortion Catholic pols, didn't distribute the letter to the bishops. He instead gave them a distorted paraphrase of it, implying that the...
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