USCCB chief: Nation's leaders must now 'come together' with election of new U.S. president
WASHINGTON – With Joe Biden now elected as the nation's 46th president, it is "time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity," said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
They also must "commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good," he said in a statement issued late Nov. 7.
A few hours earlier, news organizations such as The Associated Press, The New York Times and Fox News announced Biden and running mate Kamala Harris had won the race.
The projection came following the announcement from Pennsylvania officials that Biden had won the state's cache of 20 electoral votes, putting him over the 270 electoral-vote-threshold needed to secure a victory.
Biden is the second Catholic in U.S. history to be elected to the nation's highest office, following the late President John F. Kennedy, who was elected 60 years ago, on Nov. 8, 1960. Harris becomes the country's first female vice president-elect.
"We thank God for the blessings of liberty. The American people have spoken in this election," Archbishop Gomez said, congratulating Biden and Harris on behalf of the USCCB.
"As Catholics and Americans, our priorities and mission are clear," he said. "We are here to follow Jesus Christ, to bear witness to his love in our lives, and to build his kingdom on earth."
Archbishop Gomez said he believes "at this moment in American history, 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," he added.
"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 Mary, as "patroness of this great nation," to "intercede for us."
"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," Archbishop Gomez said.