January 20, 2021 President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., was sworn in as the United States’ 46th president today in a sober ceremony where he emphasized unity and the continuation of the democratic principles on which this nation has operated for more than two centuries. Pope Francis released a statement of prayer for President Biden, asking that his, “decisions be guided by a concern for building a society marked by authentic justice and freedom, together with respect for the rights and dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable, and those who have no voice.” USCCB President and Los Angeles Archbishop Josè H. Gomez also offered a statement that he is “praying God grant [Biden] wisdom and courage to lead this great nation and that God help him to meet the tests of these times, to heal the wounds caused by this pandemic, to ease our intense political and cultural divisions, and to bring people together with renewed dedication to American’s founding purposes, to be one nation under God committed to liberty and justice for all.” “Rather than impose further expansions of abortion and contraception, as he has promised,” continued the Archbishop, “I am hopeful that the new President and his administration will work with the Church and others of goodwill. My hope is that we can begin a dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families. San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone responded to Archbishop Gomez’s statement, calling “Archbishop Gomez’s timely call for healing as a country as the new administration assumes office is both very welcome and needed. I thank him for clarifying how Catholics approach the broad range of issues facing us that pose threats to human life and dignity.” California Catholic Conference President and San Diego Bishop Robert W. McElroy released a statement echoing Pope Francis’ sentiments. “Pope Francis’ beautiful inauguration message to President Biden today points to the pathway that the Catholic community should follow as we seek to transform the political culture of our nation at this moment in our history,” said Bishop McElroy. “I join in the Holy Father’s prayer’s that Almighty God will grant President Biden and Vice President Harris wisdom and strength in the exercise of their high offices, and that together we might reforge the bonds of unity, freedom, justice and peace in a world torn asunder.” In his first day in office, President Biden enacted several executive orders and memorandums including preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate change. Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration issued a statement praising the decision to restore DACA. “We applaud President Biden’s restoration of the DACA program, and we also strongly encourage him and the U.S. Congress to immediately enact legislation that provides a path to citizenship for Dreamers,” said Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Doronsonville. “Permanent legislative protection that overcomes partisanship and puts the human dignity and future of Dreamers first is long overdue.” In addition, the USCCB and Catholic Relief Services also commended the President on the re-committing to working on global climate change. “It is our hope that the United States will not only seize this challenge to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, called for by the U.S. bishops in 2017, but also become the global climate leader by implementing successful policies that both preserve the environment and promote economic development through innovation, investment and enterprise,” said the USCCB Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace and Catholic Relief Services in a joint statement.