The U.S. Catholic Church is still trying to figure out how it should position itself in the face of President Biden’s initiatives.
It is not so much a question of doubting the good intentions behind his executive orders on climate or immigrants, but rather of not allowing itself to be manipulated for political ends.
Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued a long letter calling on the faithful to support new President Biden, but warning them of his approach to various ethical issues such as abortion and marriage.
Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago and close to Pope Francis, immediately qualified this text as “ill-considered” and lamented that it was not coordinated within the Conference.
Several bishops and another cardinal then made a public statement, disclosing the internal debate which is rattling the leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church.
Such a crisis is without precedent since the 1980s.
HH Pope Francis, who clearly supported Joe Biden during his electoral campaign, gave a private audience at the Vatican to Cardinal Cupich, whose pastoral line he endorses.
He spoke on the phone with Mgr. Gomez whose line he had, in private, characterized as “too orthodox”.
Although the Holy See seems satisfied to have helped a Catholic gain entry to the White House, it is nevertheless wary of the initiatives that he might take.
This crisis delayed by two weeks Joe Biden’s restoration of the Office for Faith-Based Initiatives (renamed the White House’s Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood-Based Partnerships) which should have been created upon his taking office.