Is Biden Really a Good Catholic?
There is an old adage that one should never discuss politics or religion. Perhaps that is because both tend to be based on beliefs rather than empiricism. Regardless of the admonition, I will jump headlong into a subject that is both political and religious. I enter such dangerous ground only because the issue of religious devotion has been raised repeatedly by and about President Biden, especially when it comes to his stance on abortion.
Before I slip my toes into that cultural tarpit, some explanation is necessary. I am a firm believer in the biblical warning to “judge not, least ye be judged.” Nothing I say should be interpreted as any claims as to where Biden will spend eternity – if there is an eternity for us. I personally believe in an after-life existence, but not so much in the religiously claimed loci of a Heaven and a Hell.
Like Biden, I was raised Catholic. Unlike Biden, I left the Church of Rome when I realized Catholic dogma and my personal beliefs were increasingly incompatible. Unlike Biden, I am pro-life, but not based on religious devotion. But that is the issue where politics and religion – especially Catholicism – come into conflict.
The news media has played up Biden’s religious underpinnings – and his fealty to the Catholic Church. Biden, himself, tends to wear his religion on his sleeve. He is said to attend Mass frequently – maybe regularly. He has looked to his Church as a source of spiritual and emotional inspiration and healing – especially when tragedy has struck his family. And that is admirable.
But then there is that pesty issue of abortion.
Biden is as pro-abortion as a politician can get. Oh, he may finesse the issue with that “I am personally opposed, but I will not impose my religious views on society.” That is political double-talk. Abortion is not exclusively a religious issue. It is also a secular moral issue. Many – such as mine – come to our positions on abortion by secular logic. You either support or oppose abortion.
The Catholic Church is unequivocal in its opposition to abortion-on-demand with just a couple of extreme exceptions. In the view of the Church, having or supporting abortions is a major mortal sin. Left unrepentant, it leaves the sinner condemned to Hell – if there is such a place.
It is such a serious violation of Church membership that some Catholic clergy and theologians have said that it results in automatic excommunication from the Body of Christ.
There have been many instances in which pro-abortion Catholics have been denied the sacrament of Holy Communion.
One might recall when Senator John Kerry was running for President, three Catholic bishops announced that they would deny Kerry Holy Communion because of his staunch support for abortion. It was perceived to be such a problem for Kerry that he sought out Washington’s Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to seek a more favorable opinion.
He got it. McCarrick said that a Catholic can be in agreement on one matter and not another. McCarrick was wrong. Abortion is not just one matter over another. The Catholic Church has officially declared it a deal-breaker – even though a number of bishops and even popes have wavered on taking a stand for political reasons. Chicago’s Cardinal Bernadine was notorious for his refusals to address the younger Mayor Richard M. Daley’s pro-abortion position. His father – Mayor Richard J. – was religiously anti-abortion.
McCarrick was the right guy to ask since he was not exactly into upholding Catholic doctrine. He was eventually defrocked for sexually abusing minors and seducing seminarians.
Since Biden has given such importance in his Catholic faith, inquiring about abortion seems fair.
The question could be put to both Biden and Catholic clergy – but that is not likely since the media is more concerned with protecting him on that issue than exposing him. And that is because the vast majority of the news folks are pro-abortion – even such prominent Catholics as CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
One could ask Pope Francis since he has lots of opinions about America’s leaders and policies.
He could take a strong stand for the Church he heads – but he will not. If asked, he would likely dismiss the question by saying he does not want to meddle in American politics – at least not anything that would push against the radical leftwing politics the Peronist Pope tends to support.
Personally, I have no problem defending my pro-life position. I can disagree with Biden, and still not be disrespectful of his abortion views. But I do not have a lot of respect for an institution that leads the religious opposition to abortion and then does not enforce its own rules. The Church talks the talk but does not walk the walk.
Biden does not have to be pro-life.
It is just that he cannot have it both ways — simultaneously supporting abortion-on-demand and at the same time claiming, for political benefit, to be a Catholic-in-good-standing. If Biden wants to maintain his pro-abortion position, he should leave the Catholic Church. I left the Church over incompatibilities far less critical to membership than Biden.
Will the media ever raise the question? Will Catholic clergy deny Biden Holy Communion as they did Kerry? Stay tuned.
So, there ‘tis.