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SAN ANTONIO (LifeSiteNews) — San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller’s politics could not have been clearer the day he gave Holy Communion to pro-abortion President Joe Biden and ignored pro-life Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Professor Randall B. Smith of the University of St. Thomas in Houston told the story vividly in an August 29, 2022 article for Catholic World Report:

 … it’s odd that before the Mass for the families of those killed in Uvalde, Archbishop García-Siller had a special private meeting with President Biden and then went to the Bidens first to offer them communion at their seats before everyone else. This is a man whose support for actual murder means he shouldn’t be receiving communion at all. And Governor Greg Abbott? No special treatment there. He wheeled himself in his wheelchair to the back of the cathedral and came up the center aisle with his wife like everyone else. The Archbishop saw him but never acknowledged his presence.

Smith reported that García-Siller did worse than ignore the governor of Texas; he maligned Abbott before the mainstream media. García-Siller told the San Antonio Express-News that since “what happened at Uvalde, there has not been word from my leader in my state of compassion, of care, of pain” and that the governor was using tragic events in Texas “for personal gain.”

The Catholic professor found this behavior unbecoming in a bishop.

“First, he attributed ill or ignoble motives to someone whose heart and soul he does not know, which Christ forbids,” Smith wrote.

“And second, that statement was simply untrue, unless the only comments he cares about are those that show up in the media. Because when the Archbishop made that comment, the Governor had been in Uvalde for several days meeting privately with victims’ families: no cameras, no press, just the Governor in private with the families.”

“Perhaps his real sin, then, was that he didn’t let the reporters know he was there to watch him console and pray with the victims and make public his grief – so that the San Antonio Express-News would write about the Governor the kind of things they wrote about the Archbishop.”

But the San Antonio Express-News was not the only media outlet through which the archbishop expressed his dislike for Abbott. In an emotional outpouring to ABC News, García-Siller said that he had a message for the governor about his response to the Uvalde massacre.

“The message is ‘We don’t need to show power at this time. Power at this time… it will be for a while… diminishes people. We need you to accompany them. To walk with them.”

“The mistakes were made. Walk with them to resolve them (…) I will invite the governor to love these people.”

García-Siller’s voice broke as he repeated, “To love them, to love them,” and his interviewer remarked that the “lack of love touches you that deeply.”

“Yes,” the archbishop said. “Because that’s my life. To love is to live.”

He then reflected that midterms were coming up.

Now the 2024 presidential elections are coming up, and García-Siller’s contribution so far is to submit an article to America magazine daring voters to ask themselves “Who is my neighbor?” Given García-Siller’s lifelong work among migrants, it is easy to guess that he is not thinking primarily of the neighbors most in danger of death in the United States, that is, the unborn.

In fact, the archbishop drew ire in 2020 when he commemorated on Twitter the late John Lewis, a Democrat congressman the National Abortion Federation praised as a “champion of… abortion rights.” García-Siller called Lewis “a great man in the U.S.” who “showed endurance, love and service for all Americans, for all.”

The tweet was removed.

He got into trouble again more recently when his November 5, 2023, tweet about parental rights led Catholics to doubt his commitment to the rights of the unborn.

“Think about this thought,” he tweeted. “If I am going to have a child, I don’t want the government to 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.”

A spokesperson for the San Antonio archdiocese assured The Pillar that the tweet was “voicing concern regarding any governmental action of 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.”

The tweet has now been deleted.

Twitter – now X – is the medium on which García-Siller’s political opinions reach their widest audience. In April 2023, the archbishop added his mite to racial relations by tweeting that black people have “been disregarded in society for a long time” and “It seems that slavery (of African Americans) has not stopped.”

But even more famously, García-Siller responded to the El Paso Walmart shooting, which was inspired by anti-immigrant animus, with a series of poorly spelled tweets blaming then-President Donald Trump.

“President you are a poor man, a very week (sic) man. Stop damaging people. Please!”

“President stop your hatred. People in the U.S. deserve better.”

“Please stop racism. Please stop hatred. Please be people of good will. Please stop fake prayer. You have caused Too much damage already, you have destroyed people lives. Stop, stop, stop. Please, please, please.”

After the Twitter thread had become international news, the archbishop deleted it and issued an apology.

Archbishop García-Siller was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1956. The oldest son of a large family, he joined the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, an order founded in Mexico City in 1914, as a teenager. He was sent to the U.S. from Mexico in 1980 by his order to minister to migrants along the west coast. In 1984, he received priestly ordination in Guadalajara and taught there from 1988 to 1990.

In 1990, García-Siller returned to the U.S., this time as the Rector of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in Lynwood and Long Beach, California. In 1996, he was appointed Rector of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit at Mount Angel, Oregon. He served in this capacity until 1999, becoming a U.S. citizen in 1998.

From 1999 until 2003, García-Siller was the Major Superior of his order for the U.S. and Canada. In 2003, he was named auxiliary bishop of Chicago by the ailing Pope John Paul II and served as Cardinal Francis George’s liaison to the Hispanic community. He was named Archbishop of San Antonio by Benedict XVI in 2010.

His tenure has not been peaceful. García-Siller caused consternation over his dealings with a local Anglican Use parish, first attempting to banish its beloved founder, Fr. Christopher Phillips, in what parishioners suggested was a “land grab,” and then expelling three women religious attached to the community before, finally, stripping Fr. Phillips of his priestly faculties in December 2019. This was ostensibly for not having reported to the archdiocese in 2016 a historic sexual abuse allegation about a deacon with whom he worked. The deacon, who was himself suspended, had died that January.

García-Siller has also canceled Father Clay Hunt, refused faculties to Father Donald Kloster, and been accused of canceling many other priests and deacons in his diocese for unjust reasons.

Meanwhile, faithful in the archdiocese have suffered from the 2017 incardination of George Mbugua Ndungu, also known as Father Wanjiru. Ndungu/Wanjiru was charged in 2023 with sexually assaulting a 75-year-old woman. Fathers Ortega and Martinez-Solis, incardinated in 2021, were accused in 2023 of sexual misconduct toward minors. All three have also had their faculties removed.

In 2016, it was revealed that García-Siller had welcomed into the Archdiocese of San Antonio Father Marco Mercado, a Chicago priest who had been dismissed from ministry because of an inappropriate relationship with another adult man.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.