The history of the church's response to racism, Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton noted in a debate intervention (his second so far), would not be seen in the light it were today had Archbishops Joseph Rummel of New Orleans and Joseph Ritter of St Louis (later a cardinal) not imposed ecclesiastical sanctions on defiant public officials during the civil rights movement.
In this meeting's first public reference to Joe Biden, Martino said that he "cannot have a Vice President-elect coming to Scranton, saying he learned his values there, when those values are utterly opposed to the teaching of the church."
At the outset, Martino acknowledged that his comments might not be the most desired in the room... but even so, they came in his usual fluid, quick, forceful cadence.
Asked after the debate how the morning's executive session went, one prelate from the big center said "You just heard it." Several others later confirmed the impression.