The Biden presidency is already exposing fissures within the Church. On inauguration day, his Catholic apologists bathed him in praise and took bitter issue with Archbishop José Gomez for daring to criticize his anti-Catholic stances. Gomez, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, issued a tame statement, offering prayers and good wishes while noting, “Our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils.” But that was too much for Cardinal Blase Cupich, who declared Gomez’s statement “ill-considered.”
Other members of the bloc of bishops aligned most closely with Pope Francis also moved to undermine Gomez’s statement. San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, building on the pope’s criticism-free approach to Biden, wrote,
Pope Francis’ message to President Biden fundamentally speaks to him in his humanity, a man of Catholic faith striving to serve his nation and his God. This is how we, the bishops of the United States, should encourage our new President: by entering into a relationship of dialogue, not judgment; collaboration, not isolation; truth in charity, not harshness.
Apart from the criticism of Gomez, Biden enjoyed almost a Catholic coronation on inauguration day. It began with a Mass in his honor at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, where the homilist, Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien, burbled, “We have much to look forward to as a country because of your and Kamala Harris’ leadership.”
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