Washington D.C., Nov 9, 2016 / 10:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishops in the United States called on Catholics to pray for elected officials on the morning following the 2016 presidential election, and exhorted them to work for unity and to promote the common good.
“Now is the moment to move toward the responsibility of governing for the common good of all citizens,” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated Wednesday following Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s electoral victory. “Let us not see each other in the divisive light of Democrat or Republican or any other political party, but rather, let us see the face of Christ in our neighbors, especially the suffering or those with whom we may disagree,” he added Nov. 9.
Trump scored a surprising victory in the Electoral College Tuesday night, ascending to the presidency despite being projected to lose the popular vote to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. Trump picked up traditionally-Democratic states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and swept through swing states like Ohio and Florida. In states not yet called for one candidate by late Wednesday morning, he held narrow leads in New Hampshire, Michigan, and Arizona, and trailed Clinton slightly in Minnesota. Republicans kept the Senate as well as their lead in the House, winning key Senate races in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Pennsylvania to hold their majority.
According to New York Times exit polls, Catholics overall voted 52 percent for Trump and 45 percent for Clinton. NBC News exit polls showed the results fell sharply along racial lines: Trump won white Catholics by 23 percentage points, 60 to 37, while Clinton won Hispanic Catholics 67 percent to 26 percent. In his victory speech at a hotel in Manhattan,
Trump called for unity. “Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American Dream,” he told his audience. Clinton, in her concession speech later Wednesday morning, said Trump is owed “an open mind and a chance to lead,” adding that “We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought.”
Other bishops called for prayers for the newly-elected and re-elected officials. “We are now called to commend our new president and all other newly elected officials to God, that they may be guided by Our Lord as they prepare to take office and serve the common good of those entrusted to their care,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington stated.
“Congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump. May God grant you good health, wisdom and courage during your presidency,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston tweeted. “Jesus Christ is sovereign King; yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” Bishop James Conley of Lincoln tweeted on Wednesday.
Archbishop Kurtz cited Pope Francis’ 2015 address to Congress, in which he urged members to promote the common good and human dignity. “Yesterday, millions of Americans who are struggling to find economic opportunity for their families voted to be heard. Our response should be simple: we hear you,” the archbishop said. “The responsibility to help strengthen families belongs to each of us.” He reaffirmed the bishops’ commitment to upholding the sanctity of all human life, welcoming “migrants and refugees,” and defending religious freedom at home and abroad.
Pro-life groups applauded the victory of pro-life Senate candidates and expressed their desire to work with Trump’s administration to pass pro-life legislation. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, called it “an historic moment for the pro-life movement” and said that “four critical pro-life goals now within our reach: end painful late-term abortions, codify the Hyde Amendment, defund Planned Parenthood, and appoint pro-life Supreme Court Justices.”
“Acknowledging the divisiveness in our country we also commit to working for the day when all Americans know that abortion is unthinkable, and to building a lasting culture of life,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, stated Wednesday morning. “We applaud candidates that took a stand on the most critical human rights issue of today, abortion,” she said.
In Defense of Christians, an advocacy group for persecuted Christian minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, congratulated Trump on his victory and asked that he “make the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East a foreign policy priority for the United States.”
“The Christian values of tolerance and coexistence, and the innovations that these communities have contributed to their societies for so many centuries are essential for a stable and secure Middle East, which is in the national security interests of the United States and the world,” the group’s executive director Philippe Nassif stated.