US bishops to seek 'middle way' on Holy Communion at annual conference in Baltimore

Jonathan M. Pitts, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Religious News

The worldwide church is embarking on multiyear “eucharistic revival project,” he said, and the U.S. bishops decided they could contribute by writing a document that views the rite — the most important of the church’s seven sacraments — through fresh eyes. That, he says, calls not for a political statement, but for “pointing out some of the truths about the Eucharist that are especially timely,” including how it “puts us in touch with Christ’s redemptive sacrifice of love.”

When the document is presented, Lori said, the bishops will have an opportunity to amend it. They could submit suggested changes to the committee, which could then bring them to the full body for a vote. Still, he expects the group to find a “middle way.”

“There will be various kinds of amendments, but my sense is that the bishops are focused on pastoral issues, on wanting to invite people back to the Eucharist and to help people to be robust in their faith in the Eucharist,” he said.

The scene around the Marriott will not be without controversy. Hundreds are expected to attend a rally Tuesday by Church Militant, a far-right group whose members protest what they consider a leftward drift by the worldwide church. The group will rally at MECU Pavilion, within view of the bishops’ hotel, after winning a court battle with the city of Baltimore over its right to appear. Scheduled speakers include former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was indicted Friday on charges of contempt of Congress for ignoring subpoenas, and conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.

Lori said it is not unusual for groups to protest while the bishops meet and expressed gratitude to the bishops’ conference for providing security for the meetings.


Last year’s assembly was virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, which means the bishops haven’t come together in the same place for two years. They’ll practice some social distancing and wear masks, Lori said, in compliance with Baltimore City guidelines, but that won’t diminish the joy of his colleagues’ return.

“I’m always very happy when the bishops are here in Baltimore, the nation’s first diocese,” he said. “I always think of it as a homecoming.”


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