A spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Antonio told The Pillar Monday that a controversial tweet from Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller has been misunderstood, and that the archbishop is “clearly aligned” with Catholic doctrine on life issues.
Garcia-Siller attracted attention Nov. 5 for a tweet that caused confusion among some readers, as it seemed to them to offer a controversial opinion on the legal regulation of abortion:
“Think about this thought,” the archbishop tweeted.
“If I am going to have a child, I don’t want the government have any say on it. It is a gift from God. I want to hear God’s voice and dialogue with my spouse to make a decision according to God. Many dialogues have to take place.”
The tweet prompted questions from Catholics online, some of whom argued that the archbishop’s sentiment seemed to echo the rhetoric of advocates for abortion protections.
But the archbishop’s spokesman said Monday that interpretation was not accurate.
“Archbishop Gustavo is disappointed that some have used this Tweet to question his position on pro-life issues, in which he is so clearly aligned with the Catholic Church for the promotion of all human life from the moment of conception to natural death,” Jordan McMorrough, communications director in the San Antonio archdiocese, told The Pillar.
“Archbishop Gustavo was referring to strengthening and enhancing families, with mothers and fathers having the paramount role of raising and educating their children in the faith in accord with the teachings of God and their conscience while free from governmental involvement or intervention in spiritual matters,” McMurrough added.
The spokesman pointed out to The Pillar that Garcia-Siller was “the leading opposition voice in San Antonio just three months ago regarding the City Council’s approval of a $500,000 ‘Reproductive Justice Fund’ in the municipal budget that could potentially cover costs to travel to other states outside Texas in order to procure abortions.”
Asked whether the tweet referred to the archbishop’s advocacy against the Reproductive Justice Fund, McMurrough said his archbishop had a broader intent.
“It is more general than that; it is voicing concern regarding any governmental action or legislation – at the local, state, or federal levels — that could impinge on the right of parents to raise their children according to the dictates of the faith and their consciences.”
Garcia-Siller, 66, has been archbishop of San Antonio since 2010. The archbishop was before that the auxiliary bishop of Chicago, and the U.S. superior for the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, the religious order to which he belonged.
The archbishop has faced controversy on social media in the past.
In 2019, he walked back tweets accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of racism.
In an Aug. 2019 twitter thread, the archbishop urged Trump: “President stop hate and racism, starting with yourself.”
After deleting the thread, Garcia-Siller explained in a statement that: “I regret that my recent Tweet remarks were not focused on the issues but on an individual. All individuals have God-given dignity and should be accorded respect and love as children of God, especially in our conversations and interactions. We should be aware of this in our discourse about the Office of the President of the United States, which is due our respect.”