Gomez On Biden

I noticed Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez’s statement on the new president, and this commentary:

Image result for archbishop gomezI must point out that our new 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.

Must he? I don’t think so.

I despaired of commenting on it. But I notice many comments in the press and social media. The former are predictable, but make for egg on the Catholic face. The AP headline described it as “warn” and the WaPo as “assail.” I’m not sure what the statement did but plant a flag on a hill. It won’t persuade anybody on the issue. Twenty percent on either end of the political spectrum are unmoved. And the majority of Americans who feel disconcerted by abortion as well as deeply troubled incarcerating women for it will likely not be moved by either a statement they will not read or the criticism of it by third parties.

I also noticed a few bishops lining up on one side or another on the prudence of the statement.

I think it’s a stretch to term people pro-abortion. There is a significant difference in actively utilizing the procedure personally or financially. Quite a few clergy and Republicans have been tripped up by the latter. For poor women, abortion is a desperate decision. For rich men, it’s a matter of convenience, thanks mostly to other rich white Republican men of the 1960s. I’ve not forgotten where legalized abortion was first promoted, even if two political parties have used it as a generator of cash for the past two generations.

Most disappointing was the quick dismissal of Archbishop Gomez’s statement from many Catholics in social media. They understand things like the biology of human beings, the persistence of poverty, civil rights of responsible people, and that the Church isn’t really persecuted for taking difficult stands. We utterly fail when it comes to standing up for good people, let alone those whose morality might be in question.

I’m sad for Archbishop Gomez, but to be sure, not because I disagree with him on abortion. But because he and his brother bishops are so ineffectual outside of their own dioceses. They make a difference more or less within their sees–I’ve seen this from bishops good and bad. But when they step out into the national or world sphere, they seem unable to avoid tripping over their own feet.

Bishops seem called to a new kind of leadership these days, but many are still trapped in the expectations of 1978-2013. Not so much 1962-1978 any more. (But there were problems with some of those bishops, too.)

Joe Biden, Catholic, won’t be moved by these statements. He’s not a perfect man, but he’s a good one. True Believers won’t be budged; they will simply nod in agreement under their MAGA 2024 hats. Catholics on the fence will ask about the children, the victims, the economy, the virus, opening up for Mass, and spiritual leadership in a time of crisis. Not politics so much. And those more described as CINOs won’t budge either. Yawn, if they even hear about it. Move on. That’s not necessarily good, but this statement was rigged to play to a certain set anyway. A bishop has done his duty. He has done what he “must.” And that’s it.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to Gomez On Biden

  1. Liam says:

    Compare and contrast:

    Message of the Holy Father

    The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
    President of the United States of America
    The White House
    Washington, DC

    On the occasion of your inauguration as the forty-sixth President of the United States of America, I extend cordial good wishes and the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high office. Under your leadership, may the American people continue to draw strength from the lofty political, ethical and religious values that have inspired the nation since its founding. At a time when the grave crises facing our human family call for farsighted and united responses, I pray that your decisions will be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom, together with unfailing respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and those who have no voice. I likewise ask God, the source of all wisdom and truth, to guide your efforts to foster understanding, reconciliation and peace within the United States and among the nations of the world in order to advance the universal common good. With these sentiments, I willingly invoke upon you and your family and the beloved American people an abundance of blessings.


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