CNA Staff, Jan 20, 2021 / 05:04 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, used Twitter to issue a scathing criticism of the USCCB’s official statement on the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
In his four-part Twitter thread on Wednesday, Cardinal Cupich said that “the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration. 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.”
“The statement was crafted without the involvement of the Administrative Committee, a collegial consultation that is a normal course for statements that represent and enjoy the considered endorsement of the American bishops,” he said.
“The internal institutional failures involved must be addressed, and I look forward to contributing to all efforts to that end, so that, inspired by the Gospel, we can build up the unity of the Church, and together take up the work of healing our nation in this moment of crisis,” the cardinal said.
The overt criticism of the USCCB came after Cardinal Cupich published a separate statement on his website that did not include these critiques. It follows a flurry of public reactions from his fellow U.S. bishops, who have supported the USCCB statement.
Three different bishops speaking on background to CNA said they were aware that Cardinal Cupich wanted a more supportive, clearly pro-Biden statement, and that he spent most of Wednesday trying to get the support of other bishops to come up with an alternative statement.
The USCCB statement to which Cupich was responding was originally expected to be released at 9 a.m. Eastern time. However, it was delayed and published only after Biden was sworn in to office and around the time Pope Francis published a message to the new president.
The statement was from Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the bishops’ conference.
Gomez stressed that the bishops’ job is not to be political, but to preach the truth. He said that while there are numerous issues of concern to the bishops’ conference, abortion is the preeminent issue that cannot be ignored.
Gomez said that “abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family. It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity, and inclusion in the human community. It is also a matter of social justice. We cannot ignore the reality that abortion rates are much higher among the poor and minorities, and that the procedure is regularly used to eliminate children who would be born with disabilities.”
“Rather than impose further expansions of abortion and contraception, as he has promised, I am hopeful that the new President and his administration will work with the Church and others of good will. My hope is that we can begin a dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families,” he continued.
“My hope, too, is that we can work together to finally put in place a coherent family policy in this country, one that acknowledges the crucial importance of strong marriages and parenting to the well-being of children and the stability of communities,” Gomez said. “If the President, with full respect for the Church’s religious freedom, were to engage in this conversation, it would go a long way toward restoring the civil balance and healing our country’s needs.”
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