U.S. Catholic Bishops Recognize Joe Biden as President-Elect

US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa pose for a picture during their meeting in Pristina on August 17, 2016. Biden is on a two day official visit to Kosovo. / AFP / ARMEND NIMANI (Photo credit should read ARMEND NIMANI/AFP via Getty Images)
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The president of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference recognized the election victory of Joe Biden on Saturday in a distinctly unenthusiastic statement, calling for national unity and commitment to the common good.

“The American people have spoken in this election,” said Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez in the notably frosty message. “Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good.”

We recognize “that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has received enough votes to be elected the 46th President of the United States,” Archbishop Gomez declares. “We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith.”

“We also congratulate Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, who becomes the first woman ever elected as vice president,” he adds.

“As Catholics and Americans, our priorities and mission are clear,” Gomez states. “We are here to follow Jesus Christ, to bear witness to His love in our lives, and to build His Kingdom on earth.”

“I believe that at this moment in American history, Catholics have a special duty to be peacemakers, to promote fraternity and mutual trust, and to pray for a renewed spirit of true patriotism in our country,” he notes.

The archbishop also calls on Americans of faith to seek to treat each other with civility despite enduring disagreements on policy.

“Democracy requires that all of us conduct ourselves as people of virtue and self-discipline,” he writes. “It requires that we respect the free expression of opinions and that we treat one another with charity and civility, even as we might disagree deeply in our debates on matters of law and public policy.”

The archbishop ends his statement with an evident shot across the bow, highlighting points where Mr. Biden has been at odds with his own Church — namely the right to life and religious freedom.

“We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of this great nation, to intercede for us,” Gomez writes. “May she help us to work together to fulfill the beautiful vision of America’s missionaries and founders — one nation under God, where the sanctity of every human life is defended and freedom of conscience and religion are guaranteed.”

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