The American Episcopate’s statement warning that on abortion Joe Biden’s stance is in total contradiction to his declared faith some cardinals.
The Episcopate’s statement signed by archbishop Jose H. Gomes, apart from calling for prayer for the new president, observed that “the president has pledged himself to supporting policies on abortion, contraceptives, gender, and marriage which are damaging to morality and threatens the life and dignity of man”.
The letter goes on to declare that the church cannot remain silent when almost a million unborn children are killed as a result of abortions that scar women and families alike.
Biden has promised to overturn the Hyde Amendment of 1976 which forbids the financing of abortions from federal funds. He is also pledged to defend the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling that limits state rights to tackle abortion.
This is why the strident tone of the Episcopate’s letter is justified. Moreover, according to Catholic media, the Vatican itself had asked for the letter to be even firmer.
Still, there are divisions. Cardinal Blase Cupich has publicly disagreed with the letter and has published his own which is conciliatory in tone towards Biden.
Cardinal Cupich, a Croatian-American, then proceeded to question the Episcopate’s line on social media. He called the Episcopate’s statement ill thought through on the day of the inauguration and a surprise for many bishops who received it just a few hours before it was published.
Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration.
— Cardinal Cupich (@CardinalBCupich) January 20, 2021
It is most unusual for bishops to debate on social media, but it is probably only the beginning of the debate.
The dilemma over how to treat the first Catholic in the White House since JFK, but one who certainly does not behave like a Catholic, is one which will test the unity and resolve of the American Church.