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Bishops to Vote on Guidelines for Helping Catholics Prepare to Receive Communion

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 19, 2006 ( During their annual meeting next month the U.S. bishops will vote on a statement designed to help Catholics properly prepare to receive holy Communion.

The proposed document, "'Happy Are Those Who Are Called To His Supper': On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist," is not intended to be a technical document for bishops, pastors or ministers.

Rather, it is addressed to all the faithful and suitable for individual reading, parish study groups, and other education programs.

Organized as a series of questions and answers, the statement explores topics such as what the Catholic Church believes about the Eucharist, who may receive holy Communion, and how Catholics can prepare to receive the sacrament more worthily.

The statement reiterates Church teaching that with "few exceptions, only those who are members of the Catholic Church may receive holy Communion at a Catholic Eucharist."

Catholics should refrain from holy Communion, according to the statement, when they lack adherence to what the Church authoritatively teaches on matters of faith and morals or when a person is publicly known to have committed serious sin.

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