The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) warned Tuesday a Biden presidency would present “unique challenges” for the Church in the U.S. due to Biden’s pro-abortion position.
“For only the second time, we are anticipating a transition to a president who professes the Catholic faith. This presents certain opportunities but also certain challenges,” Archbishop José Gomez said in a surprisingly forceful statement at the end of Tuesday’s session of the USCCB Fall General Assembly.
“The president-elect has given us reason to believe that his faith commitments will move him to support some good policies,” Archbishop Gomez said. “This includes policies of immigration reform, refugees and the poor, and against racism, the death penalty, and climate change.”
“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,” Gomez continued. “These policies include: the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and the preservation of Roe vs. Wade.”
“Both of these policies undermine our ‘preeminent priority’ of the elimination of abortion,” the archbishop said.
Along with these positions, Biden has also signaled his support for “the restoration of the HHS mandate, the passage of the Equality Act, and the unequal treatment of Catholic schools,” all of which run counter to Church teaching, Gomez said.
Last July, for example, leaders of the bishops’ conference praised the Supreme Court’s defense of the Little Sisters of the Poor while Joe Biden criticized the ruling that exempted the Little Sisters and vowed to overturn it.
The bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee, is questioning the integrity of Joe Biden’s Catholic faith, given his public support for abortion. https://t.co/J0LTETIO2C
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) October 12, 2020
In a joint statement, Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann lauded the Court’s recognition of the religious freedom of the Little Sisters of the Poor against “attempts to force Catholic religious to cooperate with immoral activities.”
For his part, Joe Biden promised to reverse the religious protections guaranteed by the U.S. Supreme Court in recent decisions allowing private companies and religious groups exemption from Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.
“As disappointing as the Supreme Court’s ruling is, there is a clear path to fixing it: electing a new President who will end Donald Trump’s ceaseless attempts to gut every aspect of the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said.
In his statement Tuesday, which received “unanimous support” from the bishops’ executive committee, Archbishop Gomez stressed that for a Catholic politician to uphold such positions threatens the common good and confuses other Catholics regarding what the Church teaches.
“These policies pose a serious threat to the common good whenever any politician supports them,” Gomez said. “We have long opposed these policies strongly, and we will continue to do so.
Catholic pro-life leaders have denounced the Catholic Bishops Conference for congratulating abortion supporter Joe Biden. https://t.co/Mwks63pZiB
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 16, 2020
“But when politicians who profess the Catholic faith support them, there are additional problems,” he continued. “Among other things, it creates confusion with the faithful about what the Church actually teaches on these questions.”
Archbishop Gomez said that he has created a bishops’ “Working Group” to deal with a Biden transition, comprising “the chairmen of the committees responsible for the policy areas at stake, as well as Doctrine and Communications.”
According to veteran Catholic commentator Rocco Palmo, the archbishop’s statement responded to “a steady chorus of conservative prelates” who urged “a unified opposition to a Biden White House, lest any cooperation with it be perceived as undermining the church’s pro-life witness on abortion.”