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Texas bishop calls for prayer until election result is ‘officially authenticated’

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CNA Staff, Nov 11, 2020 / 11:05 am (CNA).- While the U.S. bishops’ conference congratulated presumptive President-Elect Joe Biden on the election results this weekend, the bishop of Fort Worth has called for prayer, saying the vote tallies are not yet official.

“This is still a time for prudence and patience as the results of the presidential election have not been officially authenticated,” Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth stated on Nov. 8. He called on Catholics to pray for peace if the results are challenged in court.

“It appears that there will be recourse made in the courts so it is best for us in the meantime to pray for peace in our society and nation and that the integrity of our republic, one nation under God, might be maintained for the common good of all,” Bishop Olson stated.

Bishop Olson’s statement appears to be a departure from the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB), which on Nov. 7 congratulated Joe Biden as the second Catholic to become president.

A statement by the USCCB president, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, noted that “we recognize that Joseph R. Biden, Jr., has received enough votes to be elected the 46th President of the United States.”

“We congratulate Mr. Biden and acknowledge that he joins the late President John F. Kennedy as the second United States president to profess the Catholic faith,” Gomez stated. “We also congratulate Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California, who becomes the first woman ever elected as vice president.”

As Bishop Olson asked for prayer and peace, Archbishop Gomez also called on Catholics “to promote fraternity and mutual trust.”

“The American people have spoken in this election. Now is the time for our leaders to come together in a spirit of national unity and to commit themselves to dialogue and compromise for the common good,” he said.

Several networks had already declared Biden the winner on Nov. 7, when his leads in multiple battleground states widened and the same day as when the USCCB issued its statement.

As of Wednesday morning, AP reported that Biden won at least 290 electoral votes—20 more than needed for victory–and was ahead by more than five million votes total. AP has not yet called the races in North Carolina, where Trump holds a narrow lead, in Georgia, where Biden holds a narrow lead, and in Alaska, where Trump holds a sizeable lead.

President Trump, meanwhile, has not conceded the election. His campaign has filed election-related lawsuits in several states, with the hope of tossing out allegedly-fraudulent ballots and effecting a recount that could put him over the top in the Electoral College.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito granted the campaign’s request to have certain mail-in ballots separated from the rest in Pennsylvania, but permitted those ballots to be counted for the time being. The state’s supreme court had allowed for those ballots to be counted that were postmarked on Election Day, but delivered up to three days afterward.

Georgia’s Secretary of State announced a recount on Wednesday morning, as AP results showed Biden ahead by less than half a percentage point–or less than 15,000 votes.


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