Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 2, 2021 / 02:33 pm (CNA).- In a statement Tuesday responding to media inquiries about US president Joe Biden’s stated devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops of Mexico expressed hope that public office holders would be enlightened by her.
“As the Mexican Bishops’ Conference we are proud that the Virgin of Guadalupe is so loved and appreciated everywhere, beyond the bounds of languages, cultures, and traditions. We wish that all those who hold public office allow themselves to be enlightened by Our Mother in their way of living and serving so that they know how to promote the highest values that give life to peoples, such as health and peace, justice, truth, solidarity, care for the earth, defense of the poor, and promotion of the marginalized,” the bishops said in a March 2 press note.
They said their statement was “in response to inquiries from the media about what was expressed by the President of the United States Joe Biden about his devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.”
Biden had cited Our Lady of Guadalupe and displayed his rosary in a conversation with Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador March 1.
Biden, who is Catholic, claimed a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe from his previous travels to Mexico as vice president.
“During my visits, I got to know Mexico a little bit and its people, and paid my respects to the Virgin of Guadalupe. As a matter of fact, I still have my rosary beads that my son was wearing when he passed,” Biden said, according to a White House transcript of the event.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness, not only of the Americas, but of unborn children.
Biden is the second Catholic U.S. president, and the U.S. bishops’ conference has noted the unique circumstance of having a Catholic president who is not inconsistent with Church teaching on topics such as immigration and fighting poverty, yet contradicts Church teaching on abortion, marriage, religious freedom, and gender ideology.
Biden has supported taxpayer-funded abortion and has pledged to sign the Equality Act, legislation the USCCB has warned would codify gender ideology in law and would “punish” objecting religious groups.
In a Jan. 20 statement for Biden’s inauguration, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles offered prayers for the new president and emphasized his own role as bishop in forming consciences, rather than in being a partisan.
Biden, warned the USCCB 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. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”
Abortion, said Gomez, “remains the ‘preeminent priority’” of the conference, as it “is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family.”
Although Biden’s staff have referred to him as a “devout Catholic,” the USCCB’s pro-life chair has said they should stop using that term due to his support for abortion.
“The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, in an interview with Catholic World Report published on Feb. 13.
Archbishop Naumann noted that “we bishops have the responsibility to correct him” for using the term. He added that Biden “is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people” by calling himself a “devout Catholic” while opposing the Church’s teaching on life.