How the Vatican tried to suppress criticism of the new President

Listen & Subscribe

Cardinal Blase Cupich, the ambitious left-wing archbishop of Chicago, must have imagined that Joe Biden’s inauguration last week would be a moment to savor. He and a small number of his liberal colleagues, known as ‘the Biden bishops’, have been working tremendously hard to make sure that, once their candidate was elected, any mention of his radical support for abortion would be sotto voce and preferably inaudible. They thought they’d succeeded.

But then things went spectacularly wrong. The president of the US bishops’ conference, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, drafted a statement on behalf of his colleagues that not only mentioned Biden’s pro-choice activism but also drew attention to the fact that the new administration planned to remove certain legal protections or ‘conscience rights’ from Americans who won’t participate in abortions or other affronts to their traditional morality.

The Biden bishops were horrified, and pulled a fast one: they contacted the Vatican’s left-leaning secretariat of state, which ordered that Gomez’s statement be spiked until after the inauguration. News of the censorship was immediately leaked – unsurprisingly, since most American bishops agreed with Gomez’s statement. A new online publication called The Pillar revealed what had happened – and named the two pro-Biden cardinals who had clashed with Gomez: Cupich of Chicago, who seems to have been the ringleader, and Joseph Tobin of Newark.

At which point Cupich did just about the most stupid thing imaginable: he resorted to Twitter. To find out what he said, and why he’s now blotted his copybook in Rome, listen to this week’s episode of Holy Smoke.

About the show

The most important and controversial topics in world religion, thoroughly dissected by a range of high profile guests. Presented by Damian Thompson.

More from The District

  • Pope Francis renewed his campaign against the Latin Mass this month, permitting his liturgy chief Archbishop Arthur Roche to issue all manner of threats to clergy celebrating the ancient liturgy. This “clarification” has been greeted with horror by bishops around the world, including many who aren’t keen on the old rite. This episode of Holy … Read more
  • Say what you like about Pope Francis, but he’s incapable of giving a boring in-flight interview. Last Wednesday, coming back from Hungary and Slovakia, he was asked about the problem of pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion. He immediately launched into a ferocious denunciation of abortion, describing it as homicide, saying there was no middle … Read more
  • America’s Catholic bishops are furiously divided among themselves this week, after a liberal faction led by the Biden loyalists Cardinals Cupich of Chicago and Wilton Gregory of Washington tried to stop them discussing the question of whether the radically pro-choice president of the United States should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. The US conference … Read more
  • Today’s Holy Smoke podcast is about the increasingly brutal bullying and silencing of people — especially Christians — who hold the ‘wrong’ opinions on controversial topics. A culture of censorship is becoming ever more deeply embedded in public institutions not just in Britain but also throughout Europe. In London last month we witnessed the nasty … Read more
  • This week’s Holy Smoke examines the fragmentation of American Catholicism following the election of pro-choice Catholic Joe Biden. It focuses on the strangest current of thought among the many conservative Catholics calling for an urgent change of approach in order to confront what promises to be an authoritarian liberal administration. It’s called integralism, a label … Read more