Pro-LGBTQ Catholics Rally Outside U.S. Bishops’ Meeting Around Communion Denial

Attendees gathered at the “Bread, Not Stones” rally in Baltimore

A network of U.S. Catholic reform groups held a demonstration outside the Baltimore hotel where the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are meeting to push back against attempts to deny Communion to pro-LGBTQ and pro-choice politicians.

About 50 people attended the “Bread, Not Stones” rally in Baltimore sponsored by the Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) network, of which New Ways Ministry is a member. The attendees were there to express “disapproval with what they describe as efforts by bishops to politicize the Eucharist,” according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Today, the bishops will vote on a document on the Eucharist after limited public conversation yesterday. The document, formed in the wake of a commission on how the bishops should engage President Joe Biden, does not include references to specific politicians. But the debate surrounding it this year has been problematic, thus propelling reform-minded Catholics to speak out.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, explained at the demonstration:

“‘We are here today standing for all the Catholics, the vast majority of Catholics, who cherish the Eucharist and who do not want to see this central sacrament of our church weaponized for culture war purposes. . .We are here in an effort to prevent the bishops who lead the Catholic Church in the United States from denying Communion to any of our Catholic elected leaders or public servants because their conscience leads them to support pro-choice or pro-equality policies in our pluralistic society. . .Communion should not be coercion.'”

Jamie Manson, president of Catholics for Choice, told Religion News Service:

“‘We take this action on behalf of the majority of faithful Catholics who believe that there is no place for partisanship, shame, or division at the table of the Eucharist. . .The Eucharist is the central unifying sacrament of our church, and the very idea of using Jesus’s body as a tool of punishment and intimidation against pro-choice Catholics is a grievous betrayal of everything Jesus taught us.'”

Attendees at the rally engaged in a prayer ritual organized by the Women’s Ordination Conference that focused on what Eucharist means to Catholics, and later included chants and song related to Communion as the group processed past the bishops’ hotel .

Whether the document is approved today or not, it can be hoped that the question of Communion denials in relation to U.S. politicians will be put to rest. But, if it persists, more pro-LGBTQ Catholics will need to join the movement to stop politicizing the Eucharist over a person’s support for equality.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, November 17, 2021

3 replies
  1. Tim MacGeorge
    Tim MacGeorge says:

    While I understand that this post is an attempt to “report” and not necessarily “endorse” some of the voices quoted, I am disappointed that NWM chooses to highlight the presence of “Catholics for Choice.” As a gay man (i.e. someone who does not have children and for whom the issue of “reproductive rights” is not personally relevant), I have largely taken the position through most of my adult life that others — especially Catholic women — are better at articulating the perspectives related to the issue of abortion. I have tried to understand these perspectives as best I can. However, as I looked at the “Catholics for Choice” web site and their discussion of abortion, I found nothing whatsoever that was particularly “Catholic” about it. It impresses as a page that could be found on another other politically oriented site promoting legal abortion. I found nothing that addressed the fundamental notion behind Catholic opposition to abortion, i.e. the perspective that “human life begins at the moment of conception.” While I am no biologist, it’s my understanding that this perspective is accurate. The moment of conception creates a new entity whose DNA is unique and contains within it all that is necessary, given the appropriate environment, to develop into the human person now in potential. My question, therefore, is this: Is there an articulation of a comprehensive position, from within the T/tradition of Catholic theology, that offers a defensible position to support what Catholics for Choice endorse?

  2. Bob Hare
    Bob Hare says:

    Here is an edited version because there were grammatical and spelling mistakes in the initial post.

    My personal view is that I would always say when the question of abortion came up that it was not my issue. I just know, however, that it would be agonizing for me to be put in that position of having to decide when human life begins if I was in any way connected to that event.

    One of the old answers to that question was the use of the principle of double effect. If the mother’s life was endangered in pregnancy and she, if she were to live, would be present to raise other children of her family that to abort to save her life took precedence over the life of the fetus.

    The one moral theology book that I have saved over the years was by Bernard Haring, Medical Ethics. In this book he writes that at one time there were studies by German theologians to determine the beginning of life. Then there were some very traditional papacies. Bernard Haring was silenced by those papacies. So the discussion apparently stopped.

    At this point in my mind because it could very well be a doubtful teaching, I would choose that the beginning of life is determined in the same was as natural death. The determination is that death occurs with brain death. I would at least say that this might be a good place to say when human life begins. Human life does not necessarily begin at conception.


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