Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample has voiced full support for a current consultation and discussion timeline as the nation’s Catholic bishops grapple over the question of Communion for leaders who publicly defy church teaching.

Archbishop Sample’s May 26 statement backing a process set out by Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, comes after more than 60 bishops urged that the talks be suspended until the conference can meet in person.

“[Archbishop Gomez] has laid out a process which includes wide consultation on a particular timeline,” Archbishop Sample wrote in a statement sent to media. “Some of my brother bishops have asked to delay the process, but this would be a failure of our pastoral responsibility and a failure of collegiality.”

Archbishop Sample said a holdup also would be contrary to guidance that came May 7 from Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In his letter, Cardinal Ladaria urged the U.S. bishops to have a dialogue on the matter and act carefully as a unified body.

Archbishop Sample also voiced support for a May 1 pastoral letter written by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who said those who do not seek to live in accordance with church teaching should not receive Communion.

Any document a committee of bishops produces on what is being called "eucharistic coherence" would be subject to discussion and a vote by the entire assembly. The guidelines likely would give broad themes on the importance and beauty of the Eucharist, not strict rules. Individual bishops would make decisions for their own dioceses. A discussion of the topic is still on the agenda of the bishops’ June meeting.