Bishop James S. Wall: For the Care of Souls

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By James S. Wall, First Things, 5 . 18 . 21

James S. Wall is the bishop of Gallup, New Mexico.

n the past few months, several Catholic bishops have issued statements on the question of whether to publicly deny pro-choice politicians the Eucharist. I am grateful to all my brother bishops who have courageously spoken out on this thorny subject. When bishops share according to their conscience and listen to others’ points of view, they foster genuine dialogue—a necessary step on the path to unity.

I would therefore like to respond to Bishop Robert McElroy’s recent essay, “The Eucharist is being weaponized for political ends. This must not happen.” His title suggests that political motives are driving the bishops’ current discussion of pro-choice politicians and worthy reception. But while I don’t presume to know what’s in the mind and heart of my brother bishops, I am not motivated by political ends, nor are those with whom I have discussed the subject. Our concern is not political but pastoral; it is for the salvation of souls. This issue has political ramifications, but that is not an excuse to shy away at this crucial moment. …

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