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President Biden and first lady Jill Biden pray at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops quietly clarified this week that there will be "no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians" after some bishops had raised the issue.

Why it matters: A wave of controversy and debate occurred after the conference overwhelmingly voted to draft a "teaching document," which many hoped would rebuke Biden and other Catholic politicians for receiving Communion despite their support for abortion rights, per AP.

  • Four days after the vote, the USCCB released a Q&A without its previous references to Biden, a national policy or abortion.

What they're saying: "The document's central goal is to educate Catholics on the Eucharist," USCCB spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi told Axios. Bishops have grown increasingly concerned about the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful, she said.

  • "The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons," the Q&A states, adding that the Vatican is not involved. "The question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot."
  • The document will instead focus on calling all Catholics to "support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching."

For what it's worth: "That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen," Biden told reporters last week when asked about the vote.

Go deeper

Democrats hit GOP over abortion far from Texas

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are trying to attack Republican political candidates over abortion rights far from Texas — including libertarian states like New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: The strategy highlights the national resonance of the new Texas law banning abortions past six weeks. The Democratic Party sees an opening in next year's midterm elections to capitalize on voters’ opposition to it.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.