The U.S. bishops’ conference held back a statement on incoming President Joe Biden Wednesday morning, after officials from the Vatican Secretariat of State intervened before the statement could be released.
The statement, from conference president Archbishop Jose Gomez, took uncompromising positions on abortion, gender, and religious liberty, warning that the Biden administration’s policy agenda would advance “moral evils” on several fronts.
[A]s pastors, the nation’s bishops are given the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in all its truth and power, in season and out of season, even when that teaching is inconvenient or when the Gospel’s truths run contrary to the directions of the wider society and culture,” Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote in a statement that was expected to be released at 9:00 am Jan. 20.
“So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences,” Gomez added.
The statement was not released Wednesday morning, and bishops were informed by USCCB officials that it remained under embargo, even after one media outlet reported it had been released.
Sources in the Vatican Secretariat of State, others close to the U.S. bishops’ conference, and sources among the U.S. bishops have confirmed to The Pillar that the statement was spiked after intervention from the Vatican Secretariat of State, hours before it was due to be released.
The statement had been debated hotly late into Tuesday evening, but multiple sources say it was the intervention of the Vatican that led to its delay.
Sources close to the USCCB say that several American bishops had raised concerns about the statement’s release, deeming it unduly critical of the incoming administration.
Three sources close to the bishops’ conference said that objections to the statement’s release came from Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, among other unnamed bishops….
The above comes from a Jan. 20 article in The Pillar.
—Shortly after Biden was sworn in as president, the Holy See released a communique from Pope Francis extending the pope’s “cordial good wishes and the assurance of [his] prayers” for the new president.
“I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom, together with unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice,” said the pope.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Gomez statement:
“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.”
The above comes from a Jan. 20 statement on the San Francisco archdiocesan website.