Biden meets the Pope – and what did NOT get discussed?
Presidents often meet popes. Pope John Paul II was a key player in President Reagan’s successful plan to bring down the old Soviet Union. Pope Pius XII was a key player in getting Jews out of Nazi Germany – although President Roosevelt blocked the refugees from entering the United States
Today we have the Peronist Pope Francis more devoted to pushing an international political agenda than a religious one. He is a so-called liberal Pope. He does not change the longstanding rules of the Catholic Church, but he does ignore them in order to pursue his secular agenda.
President Biden is only the second Catholic President in American history – the first being President Kennedy. Unlike Kennedy, Biden has not faced any concern over his religion. The controversy surrounding Kennedy was that he might be too influenced by his religion. With Biden, it is Catholics worried that he is not sufficiently devoted to his religion.
MSNBC’s resident liberal Democrat historian John Meacham said the meeting with the Pope has great meaning because he is a devout Catholic, who has worn his deep religious convictions on his sleeve. On CNN they gave a similar assessment of Biden as deeply religious in the Catholic faith.
It is true that Biden often tells of the importance of his Catholic faith in dealing with life’s issues. He often says “God bless” or “God love, ya” to voters – and to the Pope. When he is hoping for a favorable outside in some matter, Biden occasionally “crosses himself.” He is said to attend Mass religiously. Biden has overtly used his religion as a political asset – wrapping himself in religiosity to appeal to the voters.
There is a problem with his public displays and those media reports. There is one issue that prevents Biden from claiming – or being described — as a “devout Catholic.” It is his active private and political support for abortion-on-demand.
In the initial news reports, there was no mention of abortion. As the day proceeded, however, there was no way the issue could be avoided. One analyst said that the issue of Biden’s proclaimed religious devotion and his stand on abortion will always dog the President. There is no way he can escape the issue.
While Biden has never been officially excommunicated from the Church, many theologians and Catholic hierarchy argue that support of abortion – the killing of human life in the womb – is an automatic excommunication. Several Catholic bishops have announced their refusal to give Biden the holy sacrament of Communion. In other words, they do not consider Biden to be part of the communion of the faithful – the body of Christ.
Biden can be fairly called a “questionable Catholic,” a “fallen away Catholic” or even a “bad Catholic.” What he cannot be called accurately, a “devout Catholic.”
I am not making any judgment about whether Biden will attain the “heaven” that Christians see as the happy afterlife – what I refer to as the great perhaps. However, I do believe in an afterlife existence of some sort. If the Catholic Church is correct, then it is between Biden and his God to make any judgment. Not me. But it is fair to have an opinion on Biden’s less-than-private claim of religious devotion to the Catholic Church – and the media’s failure to challenge that claim in view of the controversy it invokes.
What I can say in our temporal environment is that the Church has a rule – arguably a condition of membership — and Biden is breaking it continuously. And has for many years.
Considering how important the abortion issue is to the Catholic Church – and the juxtaposition of Biden and Francis on that issue – you would think that would be a topic of discussion between them. But noooo.
More surprising is the fact that the initial CNN and MSNBC (did not watch FOX) reports on the meeting between Biden and Francis completely ignored the 500-pound gorilla in the room. The very fact that the networks praised Biden’s religious devotion begged the question: What about abortion? It is the key question that the networks did not want to ask or be asked. And when they finally did address the issue, it was very gingerly – with a pro-Biden spin.
And if you expected Francis to raise the topic, you would be wrong. He talks the talk of the Church but does not walk the walk. The traditions of the Catholic Church are secondary considerations to Francis’ secular political agenda. Where the two come into conflict, dogma loses.
If Francis were the protector of the Catholic Church, he would have voiced his criticism of Biden’s abortion-on-demand policies. He might have even excommunicated him – and a few other Catholic politicians who promote abortion. Hmmmm. Did the name Nancy Pelosi come to mind?
The Pope could have – and maybe should have – refused to meet with Biden as a protest to the President’s pro-abortion policies.
Instead, Francis wants to talk climate control and welfare – even though the Pontiff has no real power to enact policies on those subjects. He can only address them from his pulpit – which is not an insignificant power.
Coming out of the meeting, Biden said that he is a “good Catholic” – and that he should “keep receiving Communion.” As much as Francis wanted to avoid the subject, that does not sound like something he would have said. When asked for confirmation, the Vatican declined to comment.
Nothing will come of the meeting between Biden and Francis. They will have a nice discussion. They both will agree on a progressive socialist public policy agenda. There will be no substantive agreements. No implementable actions. Biden will enter the meeting as a strong advocate for abortion-on-demand. And he will leave the meeting as a strong advocate of abortion-on-demand.
For Biden, the controversy will continue unresolved. He will still wear his Catholic religion on his sleeve. He will continue to promote abortions and claim to be a good Catholic. In that regard, the meeting was a win for Biden.
Not so much for Pope Francis. He lost an opportunity to defend Catholic dogma. As a result, he will lose respect from more of his sheep. He will lose influence among more of the Church hierarchy. He will show himself – again — to be a religious wimp.
So, there ‘tis.