(Editor’s note: On Nov. 16, Archbishop Gomez delivered his first presidential address to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ General Assembly. The gathering was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, Archbishop Gomez was elected by his brother bishops to a three-year term as USCCB president. His column this week is adapted from his address.)
Recently we celebrated a beautiful moment in the history of the American Church — the beatification of Father Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus.
Father McGivney was a newly ordained priest in the years just after the Civil War. Blacks had been freed from slavery, but they were far from free. It was a time marked by racist violence, anti-immigrant intolerance, widespread poverty, and growing social problems. Catholics faced discrimination and suspicion from politicians, the media, and cultural leaders.