Joe Biden's Pro-Choice Stance Pushes Catholic Bishops Closer to Formal Rebuke

President Joe Biden's pro-choice stance pushes U.S. Catholic bishops closer to a formal rebuke of him as they approved the drafting of a "teaching document" which will include a scolding of Catholic politicians that go against Church teachings, the Associated Press reported.

The move was approved by a 168-55 vote by bishops, announced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The USCCB's doctrine committee plans to establish a draft that will likely be reviewed in November. Although Biden said he is against abortion himself, he believes Americans should be free to have their own opinion.

During Thursday's vote, Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, said many are confused by how Biden is Catholic and has furthered "the most radical pro-abortion agenda in history."

"They're looking for direction," he added. Bishops in support of the document's drafting said it is necessary to rebuke Biden for receiving Communion based on his abortion stance and him recently making abortion more accessible.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

U.S. President Joe Biden at Mass
Then U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden attend services at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle with Congressional leaders prior to the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C. Biden's pro-choice stance has pushed Catholic Bishops closer to a formal rebuke of him. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The result of the vote was announced Friday near the end of a three-day meeting of the USCCB that was held virtually.

The bishops had cast their votes privately on Thursday after nearly three hours of impassioned debate.

Opponents of the measure warned that such action would portray the bishops as a partisan force during a time of bitter political divisions across the country.

As a result of the vote, the USCCB's doctrine committee will draft a statement on the meaning of Communion in the life of the church that will be submitted for consideration at a future meeting.

One section of the document is intended to include a specific admonition to Catholic politicians and other public figures who disobey church teaching on abortion and other core doctrinal issues.

Hying said action from the bishops' conference is needed.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego countered that the USCCB would suffer "destructive consequences" from a document targeting Catholic politicians.

"It would be impossible to prevent the weaponization of the Eucharist," McElroy said.

Biden attends mass regularly. He's taken several executive actions during his presidency that were hailed by abortion-rights advocates.

The chairman of the USCCB doctrine committee, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., said no decisions have been made on the final contents of the proposed document. He said bishops who are not on the committee will have chances to offer input, and the final draft will be subject to amendments before it is put up to a vote.

Rhoades also said the document would not mention Biden or other individuals by name and would offer guidelines rather than imposing a mandatory national policy.

That would leave decisions about Communion for specific churchgoers up to individual bishops and archbishops. Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., has made clear Biden is welcome to receive Communion at churches in the archdiocese.