– Catholic Herald, Rome – The President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said US President-elect Joe Biden’s stances on some issues are encouraging, but his position on abortion is unacceptable.
“The president-elect has given us reason to think he will support some good policies,” Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles said Tuesday, but also some that “undermine our preeminent priority of the elimination of abortion.”
Archbishop Gomez made the decision to address the issue outside the US bishops’ agenda for their annual Fall General Assembly, toward the end of public sessions on Tuesday. “For only the second time,” he said, “we are anticipating a transition to a president who professes the Catholic faith. This presents certain opportunities but also certain challenges.”
“The President-elect has given us reason to believe that his faith commitments will move him to support some good policies. This includes policies of immigration reform, refugees and the poor, and against racism, the death penalty, and climate change.”
Nevertheless, Archbishop Gomez said: “He has also given us reason to believe that he will support policies that are against some fundamental values that we hold dear as Catholics. These policies include: the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and the preservation of Roe vs. Wade.”
As the Catholic Herald has previously reported, Biden is the first Catholic to win the presidency since John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Some of Biden’s policy stances and parts of his voting record throughout four decades in the US Senate are at odds with Church teaching on the public duties of anyone professing the Catholic faith. This is not the first time Biden has found himself in a position of some difficulty with the US hierarchy. It is also not the first time the US bishops have found themselves navigating fraught waters at the highest echelons of US politics.
The moral authority of the US bishops, however, is at an ebb. Persistent scandal and public perception of the bishops as paralysed before their own inability to police their ranks make it difficult for the bishops to reach consensus, let alone make themselves heard on any issue touching the common weal.