- Apr 11, 2021
On Wednesday both the Vatican and the USCCB released statements on the inauguration of President Joe Biden, and once again it was a Tale of Two Tones.
Just before noon Wednesday Joe Biden put his left hand on his family’s 19th century Bible and was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, and the first Catholic president since John F. Kennedy in 1960.
“We ask a special blessing upon our new president, Donald Trump,” prayed Jesuit Father Patrick J. Conroy. “Give him an understanding heart to discern between good and evil. May he be strengthened in his work and grow in understanding, as he proves ever attentive to the American people. We pray that he might become his best self.”
The Inauguration Day protests were scattered throughout large areas in downtown Washington, where diverse crowds of young and old turned out to make their displeasure, ire, or sorrow heard. Other protests took place leading up to it, producing vitriol from both sides.
On inauguration day, Pope Francis kept up the tradition of sending a congratulatory telegram to the incoming president of the United States. “Under your leadership, may America’s stature continue to be measured above all by its concern for the poor, the outcast and those in need,” the pontiff said.
Six religious leaders, five Christians and one Jew, prayed at Friday’s inauguration ceremony for President Donald Trump, and for the most part, they stressed piety over politics, offering prayers that could be shared by Americans of virtually any political persuasion.
As Donald Trump becomes the 45th President of the United States, it’s easy to find areas of possible clash with Pope Francis and the Vatican. One point where the two leaders find themselves in more or less the same boat is their Russia policy, which faces blowback from their respective bases.
As the country approaches the day Donald Trump becomes president, on the eve of his January 20 inauguration as the country’s 45th president, Jesuit parishes, schools and other communities plan to pray for those who fear him and will declare sanctuary status for themselves.