US Bishops Chaos
Extraordinary events last Wednesday when USCCB conference president Archbishop Jose Gomez, issued a statement which took uncompromising positions on abortion, gender, and religious liberty, warning that the Biden administration’s policy agenda would advance “moral evils” on several fronts, which was then spiked.The statement was expected to be released at 9:00 am Jan. 20. The Pillar (a new Catholic news source founded by Canon Laywer Ed Condon and former editor of CNA J.D. Flynn) reported that it was not released Wednesday morning, and bishops were informed by USCCB officials that it remained under embargo, even after one media outlet reported it had been released.
Sources in the Vatican Secretariat of State, others close to the U.S. bishops’ conference, and sources among the U.S. bishops have confirmed to The Pillar that the statement was spiked after intervention from the Vatican Secretariat of State, hours before it was due to be released.
The statement had been debated hotly late into Tuesday evening, but multiple sources say it was the intervention of the Vatican that led to its delay.
Sources close to the USCCB say that several American bishops had raised concerns about the statement’s release, deeming it unduly critical of the incoming administration.
Three sources close to the bishops’ conference said that objections to the statement’s release came from Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, among other unnamed bishops.
"Archbishop Gomez is a quiet and gentle person who does not seek the spotlight; he is not an inveterate tweeter; he is not confrontational. More to the point, however, he is a man of deep faith and solid piety, who understood in November that an inflection point had been reached and that the Church’s evangelical credibility was at stake because of that. He offered a profile in episcopal courage at a moment when a few others—the real outliers in this drama—were demanding (one hopes without recognizing the analogy) a reprise of the accommodationist approach to Catholic public officials long championed by Theodore McCarrick, not least during the 2004 election."
"Over the past several months, a consensus has emerged among the American bishops, including virtually the entire episcopal leadership of the USCCB: Maintaining a false façade of episcopal unity is not worth the sacrifice of the truths which the Church must speak. Those include the truth about the Church’s own sacramental integrity and eucharistic coherence; the truths about the inalienable dignity and value of every human life from conception until natural death; the truth about religious freedom in full and the conscience rights of those who refuse to act against human dignity; and the truth about the Church’s concern for the spiritual health of Catholic public officials who, with whatever degree of subjective culpability, nevertheless facilitate grave moral evils."
As we mark the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, now is the time to rededicate ourselves to the work ahead. From codifying Roe to eliminating maternal and infant health disparities, our Administration is committed to ensuring everyone has access to the health care they need.— President Biden (@POTUS) January 22, 2021
How did you go from supporting the Hyde Amendment & other policies to reduce abortion to this? 🤷♂️ (The former isn't ideal but it a whole lot better than your current policy of abortion extremism well beyond what the average American wants.) https://t.co/IOnNsifKob— Fr Matthew Schneider LC 🙏 (@FrMatthewLC) January 22, 2021
"Among those who responded was Mark Dowd, an award-winning British journalist and author of Queer and Catholic.
He said that “the obsession with abortion continues to alienate millions of Catholics worldwide. Where are these Bishops on Climate Justice, on LGBT values, women and racism??”"
This is such a typical attitude amongst many Catholics today, but it sadly completely misses the point! While these issues may be important (I'm not so sure about LGBT issues, but certainly racism, women's rights, care for our planet, etc are all good things we all want) the Church does not exist to forward these human issues, it exists to preach the Gospel!!
If bishops fail to uphold & teach Catholic doctrine, what does it mean to be Catholic at all?
A few bishops have expressed fears that if they disciplined Catholic politicians for promoting the culture of death, the angry public backlash might cause a net setback for the pro-life movement. Well, how has their soft-sell strategy been working all these years? The duty of Catholic bishops is not to make political calculations. Their duty is to protect the souls of the faithful and the integrity of the faith. Do that, and let the faithful lay Catholics who are active in political life cope with the consequences.
The Catholic Church is not a debating society. And after decades of public debate about abortion, it is extremely unlikely that one more episcopal statement will suddenly turn the political tide. We all know, at this point, what our bishops say about Catholic politicians who promote abortion. What we want to know now is what—if anything—they will do."