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US bishop responses to Gomez statement on Biden inauguration

On Wednesday afternoon, Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, issued a statement on the inauguration of President Joe Biden, which warned that the Biden administration’s policy agenda would advance “moral evils” on several fronts, among them abortion, gender, and religious liberty.

The statement was delayed several hours after intervention by the Vatican Secretariat of State, a fact first reported by The Pillar and subsequently confirmed by other Catholic outlets.

Archbishop Jose Gomez. Credit: USCCB

Since the release of the statement, numerous U.S. bishops have responded to Gomez’ statement. The Pillar will compile those responses here, and update as statements become available.

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago: (in a statement emailed to journalists Wednesday afternoon)

“Today, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration. Aside from the fact that there is seemingly no precedent for doing so, the statement, critical of President Biden came as a surprise to many bishops, who received it just hours before it was released.

The statement was crafted without the involvement of the Administrative Committee, a collegial consultation that is normal course for statements that represent and enjoy the considered endorsement of the American bishops. The internal institutional failures involved must be addressed, and I look forward to contributing to all efforts to that end, so that, inspired by the Gospel, we can build up the unity of the Church, and together take up the work of healing our nation in this moment of crisis.”

update: Cardinal Cupich tweeted his statement here.

Cardinal Daniel Dinardo of Galveston-Houston:

“Today Archbishop José Gómez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made a statement on the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden. In the statement, Archbishop Gómez clearly and beautifully articulates the Church’s social doctrine and teachings on the dignity of the human person as a roadmap for engaging the new administration. I join him in commending our nation to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patroness.”

Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver: (excerpt)

“I strongly support Archbishop Gomez’s statement that we desire as bishops to work with President Biden to advance policies that are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the social teachings of his Church, especially when it comes to immigration, racism, and capital punishment. Archbishop Gomez rightly noted in his remarks that the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church do not fully align with either political party, but my hope is that President Biden will accept the invitation for true dialogue with the Church on all issues, especially those that involve the right to life and the God-given dignity of the human person. My prayer is that when his party seeks to advance ‘moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender,’ he will have the courage to stand up for the truth of God’s love and plan revealed to us by Jesus.”

Read the entire statement here.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco:

“Archbishop Gomez’s timely call for healing as a country as the new administration assumes office is both very welcome and needed.  I thank him for clarifying how Catholics approach the broad range of issues facing us that pose threats to human life and dignity. 

In particular, I am grateful to him for stating clearly once again that opposing the injustice of abortion remains our ‘preeminent priority,’ while acknowledging that ‘preeminent’ does not mean ‘only.’ Catholics must and do speak out on many issues affecting the equal dignity of us all, but if life at its most vulnerable beginnings is not protected, then none of us is safe. Affirming this equal human dignity at every stage and in every condition is the path to healing and unity. 

I join Archbishop Gomez in praying for President Biden and for the future of this exceptional nation, that this vision may be realized in our time.  May God bless America.”

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland in Oregon:

Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit:

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln:

Bishop Donald Hying of Madison: (excerpt)

“Together, Americans need to continue to seek solutions to the pandemic, poverty, unemployment, and the immigration question. The Catholic Church will seek to work with the new administration on issues where we find convergence. Regarding the difficult issues of divergence, such as abortion, contraception, religious freedom, and gender, the Church will challenge our leaders to embrace the full vision of the human person, as revealed by God and inscribed in the human heart through the natural law.

Archbishop Gomez, the Archbishop of Los Angeles and the current president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a thoughtful letter today which I recommend everyone to read.”

Read the full text here.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield in Illinois:

Bishop Steven Raica of Birmingham:

Read the full text here.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend: (excerpt)

“I strongly support the statement of Archbishop Jose Gomez, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on this day of the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as 46th President of the United States. I encourage all to read this statement. I am grateful for the Archbishop’s clear articulation of our position as non-partisan pastors in relation to our newly elected president, the second Catholic president in our nation’s history.”

“There are issues and policies of President Biden and the Democratic Party with which the Church agrees. I look forward to progress in working together for comprehensive immigration reform, eradicating racism, abolishing the death penalty, protecting the environment, etc. At the same time, there are issues and policies of President Biden and the Democratic Party with which the Church profoundly disagrees because they “would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender” (Archbishop Gomez’s statement). Our religious liberty is another deep concern. We will engage with the new Administration and with Congress, as we always have done, to protect human life, to support marriage and family life, and to guard religious freedom.”

Read the full text here.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence:

Bishop James Wall of Gallup: