The most conservative Catholic bishops in the United States were not satisfied with the extensive and cordial meeting between US President Joe Biden and Pope Francis at the Vatican on October 29. And within the framework of the confrontation that these ecclesiastical leaders have both with the US president and with the highest authority of the Catholic Church, they did not have any restraint in making their criticisms public aggressively and using social networks as support.

Although due to their positions on ecclesial issues Francisco is understood as an irreconcilable enemy for the ultra-conservative sector of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, President Biden is fundamentally attacked for his pro-abortion position.

A report by journalist Brian Fraga for the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) of the United States highlights part of those comments, some of them very offensive in tone.

Bishop Thomas Robin, of Providence (Rhode Island), who on October 27 had asked Francis via Twitter, to confront Biden “on this critical issue” of abortion, after the Vatican meeting wrote that “I am afraid that the Church has lost its prophetic voice “and wondered” Where are the John the Baptists who face the Herod of today? “. Tobin is among the group of bishops who have condemned Biden for his position in favor of abortion and asked that he be prevented from accessing the sacrament of the Eucharist. The same bishop had written before that “the support of the president (Biden) to the abortion is a shame for the Church and a scandal for the world ”.

The Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, wrote that as the Democratic Party “moves further to the left, Biden evolves with it” and further argued that within that political position the issue of abortion “is the most prominent and we can see how (Biden) progresses more and more towards abortion ”.

The report by journalist Fraga also rescues demonstrations by Cardinal Raymond Burke, an ultraconservative who also opposed the application of vaccines against the coronavirus and was later affected by the disease. The cardinal, who had been appointed in 2008 by Benedict XVI as Prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura (equivalent to the Supreme Court of a country), he was removed from that position in 2014 by Francisco, after Burke compared the Church to “a ship without a rudder.”

Now the cardinal asked his followers to pray for “the Church in the United States and in all nations, to be faithful and clear in defending the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist and in safeguarding the souls of Catholic politicians who they seriously violate the moral law ”. In 2009, Burke himself had asked the University of Notre Dame not to grant an honorary degree to then-President Barack Obama because he, too, supported abortion. In 2004 he had warned that, for the same reason, he would not grant communion to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Burke understands that the Church should not change its positions because it considers it to be “an immutable teaching.” And argued that the Code of Canon Law establishes that Eucharistic communion must be denied to Catholic politicians who uphold the legality of abortion.

Richard Strickland, Bishop of Tyler (Texas) not only joined Burke’s position, but thanked him for his statements and said that it is “a clear statement of Catholic teaching.” He also asked for prayers “for the repentance of all those who support the murder of unborn children.”

For his part José Gómez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, tweeted that “abortion and euthanasia concern the most fundamental question in any human civilization: who can live and who cannot, and who decides that question?” In his capacity as president of the Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Gómez is responsible for supervising the progress of a proposal by an episcopal commission that, after the election of Biden as president, proposed a declaration of “Eucharistic coherence” that goes in the same direction. of criticism to the position of the North American president.

All of the above also shows that the ultra-conservative sector of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States is one of the groups that, within Catholicism, leads the offensive against Francisco, while developing strategies thinking about the future succession of Jorge Bergoglio at the head of the Catholic Church.

wuranga@pagina12.com.ar

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