Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Hoon Choi

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew Stone Porter


Divisions in the American Catholic Church have resulted in widespread dissent from Catholic moral teaching. In response to this dissent, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has used the language of communion to bar dissenting Catholics from the Eucharist, which is to push them to the margins of the Church. In contrast, Pope Francis has used the language of communion to welcome dissenting Catholics to the table through the Synod on Synodality. This thesis explores the theological implications of these different approaches to communion. It argues that the people of the Church must embrace an understanding of communion open to difference and disagreement to heal the divisions afflicting the Church.