Much as this readership in all its parts will have very differing reactions to it, the fact remains that the nation's largest religious body – a full quarter of the American electorate – has yet again wielded the keys to the Oval Office, with the result of four more years.
If the prior cycle's precedent holds, later this morning a statement expressing congratulations and prayers
to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be released in the name of the US bishops.
Perhaps most keenly, however, tonight's results have come three days before the bench gathers in Baltimore for its Fall Plenary in the wake of Maryland voters' approval of same-sex marriage at the ballot box, breaking what had been an electoral streak of 32 straight victories for the union's traditional definition on these shores. (In what could be considered a societal watershed on the charged issue, Maryland was one of four states to side with gay nuptials at this election; voters in Maine and Washington State likewise sanctioned the full legal recognition of same-sex unions, and after a particularly intense ecclesial effort, Minnesota's electorate rejected a proposed constitutional amendment which would've defined marriage as the coupling of a man and a woman.)
All that said, perhaps the most fitting ecclesial word for the moment is a re-run of the telegram sent by Benedict XVI to Barack Obama on his inauguration as the 44th President:
ON THE OCCASION OF YOUR INAUGURATION AS THE FORTY-FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I OFFER CORDIAL GOOD WISHES, TOGETHER WITH THE ASSURANCE OF MY PRAYERS THAT ALMIGHTY GOD WILL GRANT YOU UNFAILING WISDOM AND STRENGTH IN THE EXERCISE OF YOUR HIGH RESPONSIBILITIES.
UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP MAY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CONTINUE TO FIND IN THEIR IMPRESSIVE RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL HERITAGE THE SPIRITUAL VALUES AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLES NEEDED TO COOPERATE IN THE BUILDING OF A TRULY JUST AND FREE SOCIETY, MARKED BY RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY, EQUALITY AND RIGHTS OF EACH OF ITS MEMBERS, ESPECIALLY THE POOR, THE OUTCAST AND THOSE WHO HAVE NO VOICE.
AT A TIME WHEN SO MANY OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD YEARN FOR LIBERATION FROM THE SCOURGE OF POVERTY, HUNGER AND VIOLENCE, I PRAY THAT YOU WILL BE CONFIRMED IN YOUR RESOLVE TO PROMOTE UNDERSTANDING, COOPERATION AND PEACE AMONG THE NATIONS, SO THAT ALL MAY SHARE IN THE BANQUET OF LIFE WHICH GOD WILLS TO SET FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN FAMILY (cf. Isaiah 25:6-7).
UPON YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, AND UPON ALL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, I WILLINGLY INVOKE THE LORD’S BLESSINGS OF JOY AND PEACE
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI