The USCCB, over the summer, voted to outline a formal paper on the meaning of the Eucharist after a controversial debate on whether Roman Catholic politicians who support policies that oppose church teaching should receive the sacrament. The voting record announced was 168 bishops in favor, 55 opposed, and six bishops withholding.
Any document that the bishops use when they meet in Baltimore next month is unlikely to cite Biden or any other politician by name.
The Bidens usually attend Mass at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church when they are in Washington, D.C., which said they "will not deny the Eucharist to persons presenting themselves to receive it."
"As Pope Francis recently reaffirmed, communion should be viewed 'not as a prize for the perfect, but as a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak,'" the church, quoting the pope. "None of us, whether we stand in the pews or behind the altar, is worthy to receive it. The great gift of the Holy Eucharist is too sacred to be made a political issue."
Massimo Faggioli, a professor of historical theology at Villanova University, told the Associated Press that the rift between bishops and the president is "way beyond embarrassing."
Faggioli claimed that some of the bishops are using the Eucharist as "an act of intimidation" against Biden. "And they have a pope who is protecting a Catholic president's access to the sacraments — he's had to send a signal from the Vatican saying, 'We don't think this is wise.'"
Chad Pecknold, a professor of theology at The Catholic University of America, told the AP he does not suppose the pope will confront Biden over his abortion views but stressed how many Catholics would want that to happen.
"I think the Catholic faithful have a right to hope for this and to express their concern for the soul of Mr. Biden," Pecknold said.
Pecknold also said the conference "could actually highlight the urgent need to unite around a clear and coherent view of how the bishops should respond to politicians who publicly hold the Church's teaching in contempt while presenting themselves for Holy Communion."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced the president's papal meeting last week, saying, "They will discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor."