Catholic President-elect Joe Biden's stance on abortion causes confusion, said Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, as he announced the formation of a working group to examine what this would mean for the bishops' conference.
Sad because the bishops failed to communicate that they understood the report's implications; predictable in that some bishops defended John Paul II against the report's finding that the pontiff shared culpability in the McCarrick case.
Distinctly Catholic: As president of the U.S. bishops' conference, Archbishop Gomez needed to stand up to the pressure for this statement, which was churlish and unbecoming. Instead, he decided to swim with the culture warriors.
At the conclusion of the U.S. bishops' two-day virtual meeting, Archbishop Gomez issued a warning to President-elect Biden, a Catholic, saying his position on abortion rights creates a "difficult and complex situation."
Although the U.S. bishops' four-year strategic plan was adopted one year ago, it was not scheduled to go into effect until January 2021. That gave the bishops a window to address two issues that have captured the world's attention since last November: the coronavirus pandemic and racial inequality.
Distinctly Catholic: On Day One of the bishops' meeting, we saw all the things that served to cover up the sins of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and that now keep the bishops from acknowledging the sins of John Paul II.
Several U.S. bishops expressed concerns about the process for selecting bishops, unanswered questions about McCarrick's finances, the psychological and sexual health of priests and bishops, and both the progress and remaining challenges of transparency and accountability.
Distinctly Catholic: The fall assembly raises the question again: Will the U.S. bishops continue to resist the direction Pope Francis is trying to steer the church or will they engage his evangelical vision?
We say: Given what we know now about the long-lasting repercussions of the decision-making of Pope John Paul II, the U.S. bishops should seriously consider whether American Catholics can continue practices that publicly celebrate him.
Distinctly Catholic: At their 2020 fall meeting, the U.S. bishops should abandon the culture-warrior approach, be guided by concern for the common good, and build communion by focusing on poverty and racism.