Biden bumbles, misunderstands own faith

Biden balances his faith with social responsibility.

Joe makes some uh...rather interesting points here. He's all over the road in typical Joe fashion so I'll try to unpack it.

"We have mortal sins, venial sins, well, up until Pius IX, there were times when we said, 'Look, there are circumstances in which it's wrong but it is not damnation. Along came Pius IX in the 1860s (Ed -this was Joe's first term in the Senate) and declared in fine doctrine, this was the first time that it occurred that it was absolute human life and being at the moment of conception."

Joe's playing fast and loose here. Abortion has always been a grave sin. The idea that it was somehow less of a sin because mortal and venial sins weren't codified is silly. Sort of like saying beating someone to death and beating someone are the same thing because they're both felonies.

"It's always been a debate. I take my religion very seriously."

No, it hasn't. It's a grave sin and always has been. Just one question earlier he admits it:

"We've always believed from the outset that abortion is wrong."

More than that. Not just "wrong", it's a sin. A really big one. Punching your brother is wrong but it's not in the same ballpark.

Joe's code of canon law must be dusty because he follows with this doozy:

"The same moral dilemma exists in euthanasia. When do you conclude that there's human life and being that no longer exists? Under what circumstances can that occur?"

It can't. Euthanasia is forbidden. To wit:

2324 Intentional euthanasia, whatever its forms or motives, is murder. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

That's pretty clear but hey, I'm no lawyer so I'm sure there's some magical out clause which allows Joe to somehow figure this to be up for discussion.

The only difference that I can find between abortion and euthanasia is that the latter does not carry with it an automatic excommunication.

Moving on....

"Then they say, in third trimester, the state has an interest in the fetus. Now, it's pretty hard to acknowledge there's no viability and so now the state has a much greater interest and you have much less control over the absolute ability when you make the decision about termination."

Yet the man he's running with has voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. Three times. We're not just talking about third trimester here. We're talking about living, breathing human beings left to die. If you walked past someone on the street struggling to breath and did nothing you'd be labeled a heartless monster.

Next up, Joe throws contraception into the mix:

"Well, wait a minute. My church thinks that contraceptive use is morally wrong. Who the hell am I to tell you that you can't choose not to procreate?"

This is also a grave sin for Catholics. However, a case can be made for civil accommodation as there is a distinct lack of harm. That is, life precluded is not life ended. Biden says he's trying to seek accommodation with people of other faiths (sorry Atheists, you don't get a mention here). You'd think a guy with a law degree and decades of Senate experience would be able to draw this distinction but since it undermines his argument.

The last line, however is the kicker.

"To sum it up, as a Catholic, I'm a John XXIII guy, I'm not a Pope John Paul guy."

Joe doesn't bother to explain how John XXIII connects to Pius IX 100 years earlier. Did John XXIII reverse Pius' encyclical? No. Does that matter? No. This is about who gets to decide. He's trying to argue that Catholics themselves can decide what being Catholic means. There are people who do that and they're called Protestants.


I kind of feel bad for Biden on this. I imagine that there are other Catholics that feel the same way as he: confused and unsure.

I'm not Catholic, but what I do know is that there is no compromising on this issue. That being said, I cannot fault him for struggling with it.
Duffy said…
I understand his struggle to balance civic duty with faith but to somehow argue that this is unclear or up for debate in the Catholic Church is either ignorance or dishonesty.

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