Washington D.C., Jan 20, 2021 / 10:47 am (CNA).- The Archbishop of San Francisco on Wednesday stated his support for the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) president, who had noted areas of collaboration and concern with incoming President Joe Biden.
In a prepared statement that was not released on Wednesday morning as scheduled–but published later in the day after the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States–USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles prayed for Biden. He noted areas of both agreement and disagreement between the bishops and Biden, who is Catholic.
According to sources at the conference, figures within the conference pushed back on language in the prepared statement that had highlighted areas of concern with the incoming Biden administration on abortion, gender, and religious freedom.
In particular, sources at the conference told CNA that Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago opposed the inclusion of language noting abortion as a problem with the incoming Biden administration. Biden has pledged to support taxpayer-funded abortion, among other pro-abortion policies.
On Wednesday, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco welcomed Archbishop Gomez’s “timely call for healing as a country as the new administration assumes office.”
“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’,” Cordileone stated.
Gomez on Wednesday had praised Biden’s witness of relying upon his faith in difficult times, and his commitment to the poor.
At the same time, Gomez said, “our new President has 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.”
“For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the ‘preeminent priority’,” he said, adding that “preeminent does not mean ‘only’,” and there are a wide variety of challenges and threats to human dignity facing the country today.
He added that religious freedom is “[o]f deep concern” to the bishops.
Cordileone on Wednesday also said he was praying for new President Biden.
“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,” he said. “Affirming this equal human dignity at every stage and in every condition is the path to healing and unity.”
In a letter accompanying their 2020 document on voting, “Faithful Citizenship,” the U.S. bishops’ conference stated that “[t]he threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.”
“At the same time, we cannot dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty,” the letter stated.