Cardinal Blase Cupich chastised the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Thursday for a statement condemning President Joe Biden’s abortion policy, calling the bishop’s statement “ill-advised.”
The cardinal’s comments suggest discord within the Catholic Church over the church’s reception of the newly elected president. Biden, who is the second Catholic president of the United States, has drawn criticism for supporting and advocating for policies which the Catholic Church explicitly opposes, specifically abortion.
“Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration,” Cupich tweeted Thursday evening of Archbishop José H. Gomez’s statement. (RELATED: ‘We Cannot Stay Silent’ On Biden’s Pro-Abortion Stances, Leading Catholic Bishop Says)
“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.”
Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration.
— Cardinal Cupich (@CardinalBCupich) January 20, 2021
Cupich said that the bishop’s Administrative Committee was not consulted before the statement was released, though the Catholic website the Pillar had reported that Gomez’s statement had been hotly debated by bishops until late Tuesday evening. (RELATED: Biden Has Promised To Undo These Pro-Life Policies)
The Vatican Secretariat of State reportedly intervened before Gomez’s statement could be released Wednesday morning so that Pope Francis could first release his statement, according to the Pillar. The pope’s statement made no direct mention of abortion but urged Biden to respect the “rights and dignity of every person,” including those who “have no voice.”
“The internal institutional failures involved must be addressed,” Cupich said, “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.”
Abortion must continue to be the “preeminent priority” to U.S. Catholic bishops, Gomez said, though noting at the same time that abortion is not the “only” issue bishops must focus on.
“As Pope Francis teaches, we cannot stay silent when nearly a million unborn lives are being cast aside in our country year after year through abortion,” Gomez said. (RELATED: Pope Francis Asks Biden To Respect The ‘Rights And Dignity Of Every Person’, Including Those Who ‘Have No Voice’)
“Abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family,” Gomez continued. “It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity, and inclusion in the human community.”
Gomez also expressed the hope that Biden would work with the Catholic Church to better understand these issues and to engage in a “dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families.”
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