The “threat” of abortion is the “preeminent priority,” said the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). This position does not seem to be the taste of several American bishops close to Pope Francis.
“The threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed,” reads a letter published on November 12, 2019 by the USCCB.
Although the document makes politically correct allusions to other threats to life such as “racism, the environmental crisis, poverty and the death penalty,” the priority given to the fight against abortion has caused several senior American prelates, known for their assumed favorable liberal positions, to protest in indignation
Two bishops immediately and publicly expressed their disapproval of a letter which, according to them, “does not honor this pope’s own way of framing life issues.” This dialectical argument aims to put Pope Francis in opposition to the American episcopate, a climate that has already been tense for several months.
For example, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago—who has sadly illustrated defending the use of Pachamama idols in a Roman shrine during the Amazon Synod—said he was “not satisfied” with the USCCB document. His confrere, Cardinal Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, went in the same direction.
On the contrary, Archbishop Charles Chaput was keen to reframe the debate: “I am against anyone stating that our stating it [abortion] is ‘preeminent’ is contrary to the teaching of the Pope. That isn’t true. That sets up an artificial battle between the bishops’ conference of the United States and the Holy Father, which isn’t true; the defense of life remains the priority.”