The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) released a statement on Friday condemning Vice President Joe Biden for his role in officiating a same-sex wedding earlier this week.
The statement, authored by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Bishop Richard J. Malone and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, does not mention Vice President Biden by name. Instead, the statement opens by discussing the larger issue at hand:
“Questions revolving around marriage and human sexuality are deeply felt in our homes and communities. We join with our Holy Father Pope Francis in affirming the inviolable dignity of all people and the Church’s important role in accompanying all those in need. In doing so, we also stand with Pope Francis in preserving the dignity and meaning of marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The two strands of the dignity of the person and the dignity of marriage and the family are interwoven. To pull apart one is to unravel the whole fabric.”
However, the statement quickly pivots to a subtle, yet clear rebuke of Biden:
“When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics. What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth.”
The rebuke comes in response to Biden officiating the wedding of two longtime White House staffers at his residence on Tuesday.
Biden announced the wedding on Twitter:
Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn't be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys. pic.twitter.com/0om1PT7bKh
— Vice President Biden (@VP) August 1, 2016
The USCCB statement references Pope Francis’ visit to the US last year, noting that the Holy Father reminded them that all politicians “are called to defend and preserve the dignity of [their] fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.”