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U.S. Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a document that reaffirmed their stance that Catholics who defy church teaching without repenting should refrain from the sacrament of Holy Communion.
But they did not directly rebuke politicians, like U.S. President Joe Biden, for supporting abortion rights as some conservatives had hoped.
There has been fierce debate among church leadership and parishioners over whether politicians like Biden should be able to receive communion, a central tradition for the faith, if they support abortion rights.
But the measure, approved Wednesday by a wide margin at a meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, offered only a symbolic rebuke.
The document does not set forth any new guidelines that would block Biden from receiving communion, and it does not explicitly mention Biden or any other politician by name.
It says Catholics who exercise public authority "have a special responsibility" to follow the church's moral law.
The Roman Catholic Church teaches abortion is immoral. Biden, the first Catholic U.S. president since John F. Kennedy, has said he personally opposes abortion but supports a woman's right to choose.
Last month, his administration called on the Supreme Court to block a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks.