Pope's silence speaks volumes on communion vote by U.S. bishops

The divergence of the conservative American church from Francis’ agenda is now so apparent as to become unremarkable, and Vatican officials and experts said Saturday that the pope’s silence also underlined just how unsurprising the American vote, made public on Friday, was to the Vatican...

But the public silence at the Vatican on Saturday, the officials said, also reflected that the pope and his top officials remained confident that the American conservatives would never actually pass such a doctrinal declaration on banning communion.

Church law says for that to happen, the bishops’ conference would need either unanimous support, which is essentially impossible, or two-thirds support and the Vatican’s approval.

“It’s not going to get to that point,” said one senior Vatican official with knowledge of the thinking inside the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church’s doctrinal watchdog. “It’s inconceivable.”