The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States have voted in support of drafting new guidance on who can receive the Holy Communion, in a conservative push to exclude Catholics who support abortion rights — like President Joe Biden.
Revs. Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III joined Boston Public Radio on Monday to discuss the move, which the bishops made despite an explicit warning from the Vatican and is seen as yet another example of American Catholicism diverging from Rome.
"These bishops, these boys are drunk with power, it's not just with the communion wine, they are wrongheaded and wrong hearted," said Monroe. "Weaponizing communion, really?"
Communion is one of the most sacred rituals in Catholicism, in which bread and wine is consecrated and shared among church-goers.
"It's that whole notion that we're part of something much greater than ourselves, we're in communion with a worshipping body. Of course, that's why it's called holy, but it's so sacred," said Monroe.
Price recalled a story in the Bible going back to when Jesus first instituted communion.
"Jesus even served Judas communion, so if that precedent isn't the narrative, everything that's going on [today] is absolutely off," he said.
The proposal has not been written yet, according to the New York Times, and would need either unanimous support from the bishops' conference or a two-thirds vote and approval from the Vatican, which has already explicitly warned the group against attempting to change the rules around communion.
Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist, the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail and a visiting researcher in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University School of Theology. Price is a professor of worship, church and culture and founding executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Together they host the All Rev’d Up podcast, produced by GBH.