Chicago Cardinal Slams Bishops’ Critical Statement on Joe Biden as ‘Ill-Considered’

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich presides over a Simbang Gabi Mass at the Old St. Mary's Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois, on December 20, 2018. - US bishops preparing for a meeting to address the sexual abuse scandal roiling the Catholic Church suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes credibility test following …
KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich said late Thursday that the U.S. Bishops’ statement criticizing Joe Biden for his overt support for abortion was “ill-considered” and should not have been issued.

Cardinal Cupich, a persistent critic of President Trump during his four years in office, issued his own separate statement warmly welcoming President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. In the statement, Cupich refrains from mentioning issues where Biden’s platform directly contradicts Church teaching, such as abortion, school choice, gender issues, and religious liberty.

“Only two weeks ago, the world watched as our democracy was attacked,” the cardinal said. “Today, we proved its resilience.”

In a series of tweets, Cupich registered his disapproval with the Bishops’ statement, which noted that Biden had “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.”

“Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration,” Cupich began.

“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,” he continued.

Cupich criticized the fact that the statement had been crafted “without the involvement of the Administrative Committee,” which he said is the normal course for statements that represent the endorsement of the American bishops, promising to rectify the situation in the future.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, on the contrary, praised the Bishops’ statement, expressing his gratitude toward Archbishop José Gomez, the president of the Bishops’ Conference, for the clarity of the message.

“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,’” Archbishop Cordileone stated.

“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,” Cordileone said. “Affirming this equal human dignity at every stage and in every condition is the path to healing and unity.”

For his part, the head of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, expressed the gratitude of his organization for the “balanced and prophetic statement” issued by Archbishop Gomez.

“We commend the Archbishop’s hope for working with the new Administration and support his clear statement regarding the defense of all vulnerable people and the preeminent priority of the defense of the unborn,” Anderson said.

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