Exactly two weeks after Trump’s last and most violent effort to overturn the outcome of the Presidential elections, President Joseph R. Biden pronounced his Inaugural Address as 46th. President of the United States of America. The (annotated) text of the Address is attached to this entry. Like many millions in and outside America, we watched the day on CNN: from the pettiness with which former President Trump left Washington a few hours before the Inauguration – to the ceremony after the Inauguration at Arlington Cemetery. The contrast between the outgoing and incoming presidents was sharp and shocking. The tone and content of President Biden’s Inaugural were impressive, remarkable and conciliatory given the complete absence of any (required) cooperation from Trump in the transition. The Address was a very personal plea for unity in a time of deep division and complex crisis: first of all the crisis of the pandemic, worse in America than anywhere else; secondly the political crisis manifested by the insurrection against Congress and the vandalizing of Capitol Hill provoked by Trump and carried out by his supporters. January 6 was the “American Abyss”. We can only hope and pray that January 20 stands for the recovery of democracy and American leadership.
As is mentioned in the annotations, President Biden is the second Catholic President of the United States. He is deeply religious and a practicing Catholic. Catholic voters in the November 2020 Presidential Election apparently were as deeply divided among themselves as other American minorities. The division was reflected in the reactions of the “official” Catholic Church. The presiding cardinal of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had a Statement ready for publication before the Inauguration, but postponed publishing it – so urged by the Vatican – until Pope Francis’ congratulation had reached the President; apparently not agreed upon by all American bishops..
Bone of contention was the following criticism in the Statement to the President: “So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”(Source CNA).
There was no good reason for such a statement and no holy wisdom behind it.