"But when politicians who profess the Catholic faith support them, there are additional problems. Among other things, it creates confusion among the faithful about what the Church actually teaches on these questions."
Biden made his Catholic faith a centerpiece of his election campaign, releasing several videos in which he discussed his religion. Biden also quoted Pope Francis during the closing days of the campaign, despite the pope's frequent and absolute condemnation of abortion.
"This is a difficult and complex situation," Gomez told the bishops. "In order to help us to navigate it, [the conference] will appoint a working group, chaired by Archbishop Vigneron and consisting of the chairmen of the committees responsible for the policy areas at stake, as well as the committee on doctrine and communications."
Gomez also noted that, although Biden's public Catholicism and opposition to core Catholic priorities and values was a unique problem for the bishops, a committee like to the one he was creating is not completely novel.
The creation and work of the committee "follows the precedent of four years ago, when Cardinal DiNardo – then president of the conference – similarly faced a transition to a new administration threatening grave and imminent harm on critical issues," Gomez said.
"Then as now, committees already existed to address those issues, and the goal was to emphasize our priorities and enhance collaboration."
The U.S. bishops' conference issued Nov. 7 a statement congratulating Biden and running mate Kamala Harris on their projected victory in the presidential election. The statement prompted pushback from Catholics who said it was issued prematurely, given that the Trump campaign has filed numerous legal challenges to election results, and by those who said the statement did not challenge Biden on his policies in support of legal protection and federal funding for abortion.
On Monday, Gomez said the congratulations was pro forma for the bishops' conference; his remarks Tuesday indicated a shift in rhetoric from the conference.
Gomez said additional details regarding the working group would be released shortly after the conclusion of the bishops' meeting, which adjourned into executive session shortly after the archbishop concluded his remarks.