By Vatican News staff writer
Archbishop José Gomez said Tuesday evening that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is setting up a team to deal with policies the future president may put in place which diverge from Church teaching.
He announced the move at the conclusion of the public portion of the USCCB Fall plenary assembly, which was held online on 16-17 November.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, USCCB vice president, will lead the special working group.
The team will be composed of the chairmen of various committees, including those covering doctrine and communications.
Joe Biden is set to become the second president who professes the Catholic faith in America’s history. The first was John F. Kennedy.
Opportunities and challenges
Speaking to US Bishops, Archbishop Gomez said the Church in the country is facing a “unique moment”, which “presents certain opportunities but also certain challenges.”
He added that President-elect Biden “has given us reason to believe his faith commitments will move him to support some good policies.” Archbishop Gomez counted immigration reform, aid to refugees and the poor, racial justice, capital punishment, and climate change among the list.
President-elect Biden has “also given us reason to believe that he will support policies that are against some fundamental values we hold dear as Catholics.”
Archbishop Gomez said these include the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for most abortions, and the preservation of Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion. “Both of these policies undermine our preeminent priority for the elimination of abortion,” said Archbishop Gomez.
Other potential issues include “unequal treatment of Catholic schools” and the Equality Act.
‘Confusion among the faithful’
“These policies pose a serious threat to the common good whenever any politician supports them,” said Archbishop Gomez. “We have long opposed these polices strongly and we will continue to do so.”
“When politicians who profess the Catholic faith support them there are additional problems,” he added. “And one of the things it creates confusion among the faithful about what the Church actually teaches on these questions.”
He called it a “difficult and complex situation.”
Concluding his remarks, Archbishop Gomez said the USCCB responded similarly four years ago when President Donald Trump was elected, establishing a committee to address “critical issues”.
“Then as now,” he said, “committees already existed to address those issues and the goal was to emphasize our priorities and enhance collaboration.”