mercoledì 16 novembre 2016

Card. DiNardo - Mons. Kurtz
(Ian Lovett and Francis X. Rocca) American Roman Catholic officials on Tuesday elected a theological conservative and an outspoken immigrant-rights advocate to head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, setting up potential conflicts with President-elect Donald Trump on one of his signature issues.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the archbishop of Galveston-Houston, was elected president of the conference, which steers church policy in the U.S. José Gomez, the archbishop of Los Angeles, and a Mexican immigrant, was elected vice president.
The men will help guide the American church’s relationship with Mr. Trump and Pope Francis, at a time when American bishops remain divided over what many see as the pope’s attempts to liberalize the church.
The election of Archbishop Gomez—who is one of the church’s loudest voices in support of immigrants—sends a clear message to Mr. Trump, who vowed during the campaign to build a border wall and deport millions of immigrants in the country illegally. In a recent interview on “60 Minutes,” he said he would focus on those who commit crimes.
Archbishop Gomez, who leads the largest archdiocese in the country, said that in electing him, “the bishops of the United States recognized the presence of Latinos in our community, in our country and also in the church.”
William Lori, the archbishop of Baltimore, said the election of Archbishop Gomez “acknowledged the future of the church” which has been buoyed by Hispanic immigration to the U.S.
“Are we also saying, perhaps to the administration, that our concerns about immigration are not going to go away?” he said. “You bet we are.”
Mr. Trump has pledged to nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overrule the 1973 decision recognizing a Constitutional right to abortion, which is forbidden by Catholic moral teaching, and to repeal requirements in the Affordable Care Act that require Catholic hospitals to provide contraception services.
Cardinal DiNardo has served as vice president of the USCCB for the past three years, a position that traditionally leads to the presidency. Following his election on Tuesday,
“Pro-life issues are very dear to me,” he said. “The beginnings and ends of life are extremely crucial for us.”
The pope and the president-elect traded barbs on immigration earlier this year. The pope—a strong advocate of open-door policies for immigrants—said in response to a question about Mr. Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border that anyone who builds only walls, not bridges, is “not Christian.” The candidate retorted that questioning his personal faith was “disgraceful.”
Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s highest official after the pope, struck a diplomatic note after Mr. Trump’s victory, saying the Vatican respected the outcome of the vote and offering congratulations to Mr. Trump. He voiced hope that the new administration would work for the “well-being and peace of the world” in times of “grave conflict.”
Mr. Trump is more aligned with the church on the issue of abortion, pledging to nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices who would overrule the 1973 decision recognizing a Constitutional right to abortion.
At the bishops meeting this week, the same social issues that divided the country were immediately at the center of the discussion.
Thomas Wenski, the archbishop of Miami, said, “If they’re going to build a wall, we have to make sure they put some doors in that wall.”
But the church, like the country itself, is divided on Mr. Trump, whose promises to appoint conservative judges and defend religious freedom claims have won him greater support from some members of the conference.
Mr. Trump won 52% of Catholic voters, while 45% favored Hillary Clinton, according to national exit polls.
Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis and a theological conservative, said in an interview with the National Catholic Register after the election that Mr. Trump offered an opportunity for the church to make progress on abortion and religious liberty.
Christopher Coyne, the bishop of Burlington, Vt., and chairman of the conference’s communications committee, said Mr. Trump could potentially prove more friendly to Catholics on major issues like abortion, though he wasn't yet convinced.
“We’ve just begun a conversation about how we’re going to move forward with the presidential election, because it’s so beyond the pale of what we’ve faced before with the status quo,” Bishop Coyne said. “This election has thrown all of that out the window.”