Top Vatican Official Cautions US Bishops on Denial of Communion

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The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has urged the US bishops to be cautious about any national policy regarding the reception of Communion by prominent Catholics who promote abortion and euthanasia.

But the CDF prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, made a distinction between a national policy—which would require near unanimity among the American bishops—and policies set by individual diocesan bishops.

Citing Apostolos Suos, the 1998 apostolic letter in which Pope John Paul II defined the authority of bishops’ conferences, Cardinal Ladaria noted that an episcopal conference can only issue doctrinal statements if the members of that conference are unanimous in supporting it. However, he also observed that the conference does not limit an individual bishop’s authority to set policies within his own diocese. …

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