St. Peter’s Basilica

By Josef Ishu with agency report

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has urged Catholic Bishops in the United States of America (USA) to approac with caution their discussions about formulating a national policy “to address the situation of Catholics in public office who support the legislation allowing abortion, euthanasia or other moral evils.”

Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, reiterated what he said he had told several groups of U.S. bishops during their 2019-2020 “ad limina” visits, namely that “the effective development of a policy in this area requires that dialogue occurs in two stages: first among the bishops themselves, and then between bishops and Catholic pro-choice politicians within their jurisdictions.”

In the letter to Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Ladaria also insisted that such a policy cannot usurp the authority of an individual bishop in his diocese on the matter: Thus, the policy would require near unanimity; and it would be “misleading” to present abortion and euthanasia as “the only grave matters of Catholic moral and social teaching that demand the fullest level of accountability on the part of Catholics.”

The letter, dated May 7 and obtained by Catholic News Service in Rome, said it was in response to a letter from Archbishop Gomez informing the doctrinal congregation that the bishops were preparing to address the situation of Catholic politicians and “the worthiness to receive holy Communion.”

Cardinal Ladaria warned that without the unanimity of the bishops, a national policy, “given its possibly contentious nature,” could “become a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States.”