Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on Saturday congratulated projected president-elect Joe Biden, and called for dialogue and compromise for the common good.
“We recognize that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has received enough votes to be elected the 46th President of the United States,” Archbishop Gomez said Nov. 7. “We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith.”
The statement issued by the USCCB thanked God “for the blessings of liberty” and stated that “now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good.”
Archbishop Gomez said, “As Catholics and Americans, our priorities and mission are clear. We are here to follow Jesus Christ, to bear witness to His love in our lives, and to build His Kingdom on earth.”
At this time, he said, “Catholics have a special duty to be peacemakers, to promote fraternity and mutual trust, and to pray for a renewed spirit of true patriotism in our country.”
“Democracy requires that all of us conduct ourselves as people of virtue and self-discipline. It requires that we respect the free expression of opinions and that we treat one another with charity and civility, even as we might disagree deeply in our debates on matters of law and public policy.”
The archbishop asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for the U.S., saying, “May she help us to work together to fulfill the beautiful vision of America’s missionaries and founders — one nation under God, where the sanctity of every human life is defended and freedom of conscience and religion are guaranteed.”
Several media outlets called the 2020 U.S. presidential election for Biden on Saturday after his leads in Pennsylvania and Nevada widened.
Though he will be the second Catholic president in U.S. history, Biden has faced criticism from U.S. bishops for a policy agenda that includes expanded legal protection and federal funding for abortion.
In his statement, Archbishop Gomez also congratulated Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, “who becomes the first woman ever elected as vice president.”
President Donald Trump has not conceded the election, citing recounts and legal challenges to some statewide counts.
The Trump administration was widely praised by U.S. bishops for enacting religious liberty protections, and promoting measures restricting abortion and the federal funding of abortion clinics. Trump also garnered praise among pro-lifers for his appointment of Catholic justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Trump also faced criticism from the bishops for restricting the number of refugee and asylum seekers seeking entry into the U.S., and for his use of the federal death penalty.