George Weigel: Cupich’s criticisms of Gomez are baseless

George Weigel. Credit: Bohumil Petrik/CNA

CNA Staff, Jan 22, 2021 / 07:56 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, showed courage in releasing a statement on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration despite opposition from within the conference, said papal biographer and longtime Church observer George Weigel.

Weigel said Gomez displayed “episcopal courage” at a time when others demanded “a reprise of the accommodationist approach to Catholic public officials long championed by Theodore McCarrick.”

Weigel, a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Washington D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, penned an essay published in First Things on Friday, commenting on the statement released by Gomez on Inauguration Day and the subsequent criticism from Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago.

The statement from Gomez noted that Biden’s inauguration marks the first time in 60 years that a president has professed the Catholic faith. This presents a unique circumstance, Gomez said, particularly because Biden is in support of legal abortion and has pledged to increase taxpayer funding for it.

Cupich later criticized Gomez for releasing the statement, saying it was an “ill-considered statement” that “was crafted without the involvement of the Administrative Committee, a collegial consultation that is normal course for statements that represent and enjoy the considered endorsement of the American bishops.”

Norms from the bishops’ conference, however, indicate that standard procedures were followed ahead of the release of the statement.

Weigel argued that Gomez releasing a statement on the inauguration was in keeping with the recommendations from the Working Group on Engaging the New Administration created by the bishops at their November 2020 meeting.

As Gomez told his brother bishops, Weigel said, the working group had proposed “a letter to the new president from Archbishop Gomez, writing as a pastor. The letter would promise support for the new administration in areas of agreement. It would also identify administration policies, including abortion, that the bishops believed violated human dignity, and it would urge the new president to reassess his positions on these questions.”

The letter did just that, Weigel said. It noted numerous issues of concern among both political parties, but said that “the continued injustice of abortion remains the ‘preeminent priority’.”

“By any reasonable standard, Archbishop Gomez’s statement was balanced and measured; absent the controversy that erupted before and after its release,” Weigel said.

However, he said, “Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago and Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark put intense pressure on Archbishop Gomez to make no statement, as did the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.”

Weigel said the controversy “underscored the statement’s firm, clear, and unambiguous stance on the ‘preeminent priority’ of the life issues—and thus heightened the impact of those parts of the statement that the dissident cardinals may have found so objectionable that they tried to quash the entire document.”

He said Cupich’s suggestion that Gomez was somehow acting against the norms of the bishops’ conference “is itself unfair and irresponsible.”

“To suggest that there was something unprecedented here is to falsify history,” he said. “What was indeed unprecedented, as Archbishop Gomez pointed out in his statement, was the situation of a president of the United States who professed a devout and heartfelt Catholicism and yet was publicly committed to facilitating grave moral evils.”


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7 Comments

  1. Cardinal Cupich is lionized by the Left and demonized by the Right. Archbishop Gomez is demonized by both the Left and the Right. Why?

    • Because Cardinal Cupich thinks he needs to play nice with the new globalist regime, lest they speed up the plans already in place for the destruction of the rest of the Catholic Church in America –> which will only embolden them to actually pick up the pace. It’s the “not defending the faith” by our spiritual leaders(?) that leads to, “The Disappointed Catholic.” Forums like this are a rare blessing these days of darkness.

    • Because the extremist right which is deadly to our country. The insurrection at the Capitol is a warning that more violence will follow. Trump was a outrageously terrible leader, immoral and narcissistic. Any wind he gets from Catholics is morally bereft. We Catholics can preach to our own members first and leave the rest to the new federal administration.

  2. George Weigel is perfectly correct, as is Robert Royal in a recent article calling Biden the first Catholic Anti Catholic president. Archbishop Gomez and the USCCB should not have omitted the rebuke of Biden’s Anti Catholic political intentions “leading to evil”. As defenders of the faith the bishops were justified even required to hold to their rebuke of Biden’s publicly made intentions. No one can advocate, pursue even greater injustice [unlimited license to abort] against the innocent infant in the womb, against the sanctity of the traditional family [sanctifying genetic preference] and dare pretend to be following a good conscience as a faithful Catholic. No one can do this free of grave fault. God’s law is known, engraved in the hearts of men the very ground of conscience. Cardinals Cupich and Parolin [Parolin demanded the rebuke be removed from they original Gomez letter] reveal where they stand in the scheme of things. Time has arrived to finally witness to Christ without trepidation.

  3. There is a vast difference between ‘professing’ the Catholic faith and ‘practicing’ the Catholic faith – surely that much is obvious by now.

    So, can we please move along?

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