I never envy the decisions the bishops in our country have to make. I would never want to be in their shoes and deal with the problems they have to deal with. So, I will never offer public criticism of what they do as long as they continue to hold and teach the faith. It is tough to be Catholic in a country where the values have drifted so much from basic Christian morality. On one hand, some people think that they do not do enough and that our country is in the state that it is in because they have not spoken up against this or that evil. They are then also told by others that they should stay out of people’s bedrooms and just talk about religious things in their own churches.
Recently, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles (the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) issued a statement that I think strikes the perfect balance between showing cooperation with our new president while still criticizing him. Archbishop Gomez rightly praises President Biden for his “piety and personal story” and his longstanding commitment to the poor. He looks forward to working with Biden in the future. However, he also criticizes Biden’s stances on certain moral issues like the expansion of abortion and contraceptives saying that abortion especially is an attack on life that wounds the family. Overall, the whole letter is worth a read and it can be found by searching for “USCCB President’s Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America.”
It is easy to say that the bishops could be bolder in condemning any politician that diverts from the teachings of the faith. However, the Bishops must leave some room open for dialog so that there might be some room for conversion. Both parties have their issues and have some things in their platform that are against Catholic social teachings. (Though, protections of the unborn is the largest concern.) So, the Bishops are not going to promote the common good by favoring one party over another. They need to do their best to work with whoever is in power.
Over this past year, it seems like politics have become more and more extreme with so many protests over the past summer and then the storming of the Capitol this past month. We do not need more condemnations and reasons to think of our neighbors as the enemy. We need to recognize that even if we do disagree politically, we should all still work for what is good for all to the best of our abilities. I hope one day we do have a leader that perfectly reflects the Catholic Faith and rules with justice. Until that day, we have to live with the politics we do have and above all pray for one another.