Dr. Robert Royal, the president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C., is joining the chorus of conservative Catholics deeply troubled by having a popular likable Catholic in the White House because Joe Biden (like so many other practicing Catholics) doesn’t agree with all the Church’s hardline views on social issues.
He’s not alone. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a similar pronouncement just last week. But even they didn’t do what Royal did, calling Biden an “anti-Catholic ‘Catholic.'”
… the thing that’s most “unprecedented” — that’s given rise to these recent in-house Catholic squabbles — is the election of a self-described “Catholic” president, who not only believes personally that abortion, gay “marriage” (he performed one as vice-president), transgenderism (“the civil rights issue of our time”), and much more are matters of overriding political urgency, despite the long teachings of the Church and American history. He’s determined — actually seems to be going out of his way — to impose those views. On all of us.
You can carry around rosary beads and bless yourself publicly as much as you want. But please, don’t expect Catholics to be blind. Or stupid. It’s not surprising when political partisans, religious or not, place their party and ambitions first, while masking it as an appeal to compassion and patriotism. But when a Catholic politician openly chooses to follow his wayward political party rather than his Church, lays out a whole set of policies that will negatively impact that Church, and immediately sets out to implement them, he’s seeking neither civic unity nor religious fidelity.
Imagine thinking anti-discrimination laws against trans people somehow make your life worse. Or that someone else’s same-sex marriage (no quotation marks needed) or medical procedures will ruin America because the Catholic Church doesn’t approve.
Whatever Biden is able to do, it’ll affect federal law, not what goes on inside church buildings.
Royal knows that. His real issue is that the most prominent Catholic in the world outside the pope is someone who doesn’t sign onto the Church’s awfulness. Biden has the audacity to make the Church look decent. He also recognizes that the Church’s rules may not make for good public policy. And when those two are in conflict, public policy has to win. That means nominating qualified liberal judges even if that means they’ll support women’s rights and LGBTQ issues.
If Royal doesn’t think Biden’s brand of Catholicism should count, then he needs to acknowledge that most U.S. Catholics would be dismissed as well. Nearly half of all U.S. Catholics support abortion rights in all or most cases. 57% of them support marriage equality. In other words, Biden’s form of Catholicism is far more in line with the people in the pews.
I know I’ve said this before, but defenders of the Catholic Church have no foundation to complain about Biden when roughly half of Catholic voters had no problem backing Trump (twice) and the Church leaders themselves are complicit in the Church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse.
It’s not like Biden is asking to be a Church representative. He’s a president who happens to be Catholic; the Church can take it or leave it.
You would think after what Donald Trump just did to the evangelical Christian brand, they would be thrilled that someone like Biden represents their faith instead of Amy Coney Barrett or William Barr. Not that I’m eager for this to happen, but Biden may have stopped the bleeding of young Catholics leaving the Church.
If Royal’s life or the Catholic Church is affected by Biden, they should be grateful for it. They had nowhere to go but up.
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