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Mexico’s bishops hope politicians would be enlightened by Our Lady

March 2, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

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.


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Biden mentions Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows rosary beads, in meeting with Mexican president

March 2, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Mar 2, 2021 / 09:00 am (CNA).- President Joe Biden cited Our Lady of Guadalupe and displayed his rosary beads in a conversation with the president of Mexico on Monday.

In the virtual conversation with Mexico’s President López Obrador, Biden—a 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. He noted that he visited Mexico four times as vice president.

Biden has previously referenced his son Beau’s death from brain cancer as an incident where he relied upon his faith. In a 2020 campaign ad, he said that his faith supported him through tough times, noting that “I go to Mass and I say the rosary. I find it to be incredibly comforting.”

Our Lady of Guadalupe is patroness of the Americas, given the title by Pope St. John Paul II.

Biden is just the second Catholic U.S. president, and the U.S. bishops’ conference has noted the unique circumstance of having a Catholic president who upholds Church teaching on policies such as immigration and fighting poverty, but contradicts Church teaching on life issues, marriage, religious freedom, and gender ideology.

The USCCB formed a working group in November to advise the conference on how to deal with Biden; the working group made two chief recommendations before stopping its work in early February.

One of the recommendations was for USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez to send a letter to Biden that was pastoral in nature, but clarify areas of agreement and disagreement with the conference—especially his contradiction on the “preeminent” issue of abortion.

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 Gomez offered prayers for the new president and emphasized his own role as bishop in forming consciences, rather than in being a partisan.

Biden, warned Gomez, “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 issues.

At the bilateral meeting on Monday, both presidents discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, economic cooperation, and climate change.

During his conversation with Lopez, Biden also noted that he has a bust of Catholic social activist César Chávez in the Oval Office.

In response to Biden’s remarks on Monday, President Lopez thanked him through an interpreter “for your confession regarding your devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.”

“We, as Mexicans, respect and admire two symbols,” he said, one being “the Virgin of Guadalupe” and the other being former president Benito Juárez.


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EWTN’s Warsaw: Pro-life movement faced with challenges and opportunities

February 18, 2021 CNA Daily News 0

Washington D.C., Feb 18, 2021 / 11:16 am (CNA).- A Catholic president pushing pro-abortion policies should be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity for the Church, the head of the EWTN media network says. 

 

In an interview airing on Thursday, the 200th episode of EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Michael Warsaw, EWTN board chairman and CEO, said that President Joe Biden’s support for taxpayer-funded abortion “is very confusing for Catholics.”

 

“His positions, on the life issue especially, just simply are not in line with Catholic teaching,” Warsaw said, noting that Biden and his staffers have talked about “how devout a Catholic he is.”

 

“I think we’ve seen our bishops try to grapple with this, I think we’ve seen the tensions within the Church as we try to deal with this, and understand what this means,” he said.

 

Warsaw called the political moment a challenge, but also a “great opportunity.” EWTN, he said, can be a clear voice for communicating Catholic teaching in its entirety and on the issue of life. 

 

“I think it’s for us to re-double our efforts and our mission to be very clear—and to make very clear to all who listen—what the Church’s teaching is, and that life is the preeminent issue,” Warsaw said. “I don’t think we can say that often enough.”

 

President Biden has stated that his administration’s “policy” will be to “support women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States, as well as globally.” The term “sexual and reproductive health” is commonly used by international groups, including the United Nations, to refer to abortion and contraception.

 

On Jan. 28, Biden issued a memorandum allowing for taxpayer funding of international pro-abortion groups, and took the first step toward allowing funding of domestic pro-abortion groups in the Title X family planning program. 

 

In addition, Biden has supported taxpayer-funded elective abortions by opposing the Hyde Amendment. The White House has reaffirmed his position in recent weeks, and on Tuesday would not guarantee that a proposed massive COVID relief bill would not include funding of abortions. 

 

The U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) has stated that abortion is a “preeminent priority,” because of the high number of abortions, the attack on “life itself,” and because it “takes place within the sanctuary of the family.” Archbishop Jose Gomez, president of the USCCB, noted Biden’s support for abortion as contradicting the teachings of the Church, in his Jan. 20 statement for Biden’s inauguration.

 

Clarity on the “preeminence” of the life issue, Warsaw said, is “what is missing, in certainly this administration, and in certain quarters of the Church where there seems to be a tendency to want to try to go along to get along.”

 

“We can’t pursue some sort of artificial unity, just for the sake of unity, when there are fundamental issues here—the issue of life—that we have to speak out on, and continue to speak out on, and continue to engage on,” Warsaw said.  

 

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, appeared on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly with Warsaw, and said that the pro-life movement “shouldn’t be distracted with all the disappointments of late.”

 

“Our greatest strength is in what we’ve already accomplished in the last six years, and that is through the Supreme Court, over 230 new judges across the federal court system, and all of the massive number of pro-life pieces of legislation coming up from real people in real states that want their voices and their opinions expressed in the law,” she said.

 

A top priority, she said, is to “make sure that the filibuster stays in place” in the Senate. If the filibuster is abolished, she said, then a simple majority vote in the chamber could increase the number of Supreme Court justices and allow for more pro-abortion justices and federal judges.

 

The late Mother Angelica, foundress of EWTN, “was very clear” in support of the life issue, Warsaw said.

 

 “I think because of her own personal sufferings and the depth of that suffering, and all the things that she went through in her life—physical sufferings, emotional sufferings, all of these things—yet she was able to do these remarkable things through God’s providence,” Warsaw said.

 

“And I think that gave her just a unique insight when it came to the issues of life, and the value of life, and the importance of every life. And the meaning that every life created by God brings,” he said.

 

He cited Mother Angelica as inspiration for the pro-life movement today, to remember that “all is not lost” and “this is not a time to be down.”

 

“It’s a time to push forward. It’s a time to be even more vocal, and even stronger and more strident in our fight for life,” Warsaw said.


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Why pro-lifers should be concerned with Biden’s OMB nominee

February 11, 2021 CNA Daily News 1

Washington D.C., Feb 11, 2021 / 05:00 pm (CNA).- A former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) warned that pro-lifers should be concerned about President Biden’s pick for the position.

 

Neera Tanden, the CEO and president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, was nominated by President Biden in December to be the next OMB director. If confirmed by the Senate, Tanden will have a critical role at the White House in ensuring the success of the administration’s policies.

 

“It is certainly one that should trouble pro-lifers, from the standpoint of the policy agenda that she’ll be asked to articulate,” said Russ Vought, former director of OMB from July, 2020 to January, 2021, of Tanden’s nomination to the post. Vought was interviewed by EWTN Pro-Life Weekly in a segment that will air Thursday night.

 

The position of OMB director is a critical one, Vought explained. Tanden, if confirmed, would be tasked with seeing that Biden’s “policies are reflected throughout the federal government.”

 

“You’re really the nerve center, from the federal government’s perspective, to be able to put a high-level policy position into effect. And to make sure that the bureaucracy, quite frankly, isn’t going in a different direction,” Vought said on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

 

President Biden has already stated that it is the “policy” of his administration to promote “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” in a Jan. 28 memorandum that allowed for taxpayer funding of international pro-abortion groups. That language is commonly interpreted by international groups, including the United Nations, to refer to abortion and contraception.

 

At her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Tanden reaffirmed President Biden’s opposition to the Hyde Amendment; the policy bars federal funding of elective abortions. When asked by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) if she would push to preserve the Hyde Amendment in future presidential budget requests, Tanden would not say.

 

Biden has also stated that his administration’s “policy” will be to “prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation,” in a Jan. 21 order redefining sex discrimination to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Legal experts told CNA that his order would have broad implications and would ignite many conflicts over religious freedom.

 

A president’s choice of an OMB director is reflective of his thinking, Vought said, wanting someone who “consistent with his ideology” in the position.

 

Tanden has previously served as president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. During her tenure, the organization fought religious freedom protections for groups opposed to same-sex marriage. The think tank sought to redefine religious freedom to include LGBT “equality” and “reproductive rights,” and has also promoted figures who are seeking to split Christianity over LGBT issues.

 

Tanden has also been a strong supporter of the HHS contraceptive mandate, using contraception as an issue to divide and marginalize abortion opponents.

 

During her confirmation hearings this week, Tanden was pressed by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) over a 2012 article where she called the mandate a successful “cudgel” used to cast opponents of contraception as “extreme.”

 

Tanden initially did not apologize for her words, saying instead that “for anyone offended by my language, you know, I feel badly about that.” Tanden later apologized for her comments contributing to polarization.

 

Tanden has also supported abortion during her tenure at CAP. She called efforts to defund Planned Parenthood “partisan attacks on women’s access to critical health services”; she lauded the Supreme Court’s 2016 Whole Woman’s Health decision that struck down Texas restrictions on abortion clinics; and she praised former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards as someone who has “fought tirelessly to improve women’s access to abortion.”

 

Vought served as acting OMB director from Jan., 2019, until July, 2020, when he was officially confirmed in the position by the Senate.

 

He said that, during his time in the office, he was able to help enact policies such as the Protect Life Rule which required recipients of federal Title X grants to not be co-located with an abortion facility. He also claimed credit for the administration stopping federally-funded research with fetal tissue at NIH facilities.  


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