CAN CATHOLICS SUPPORT JOE BIDEN FOR THE PRESIDENCY?
31 Ottobre 2020
Dear Stilumcurials, the U.S. Presidentials are getting to the crucial point. Dr. Leo Conti has sent us this meaningful and documented reflection on why it is not possible for a Catholic to vote for Joe Biden, despite the fact that he professes to be Catholic. Good reading.
CAN CATHOLICS SUPPORT JOE BIDEN FOR THE PRESIDENCY?
(Dr. Leo Conti, Washington DC)
On November 3, two opposite visions of America will confront each other: order against violence, rule of law against arbitrariness, freedom against tyranny, Christianity against neo-paganism. The two knights of these opposite visions could not be more distant from each other by their history and personality. President Trump, full of energy and optimism, remains a political outsider (as is attested by the waves of enthusiasm he generates among his supporters), while the Democrat Joe Biden, Obama’s former vice-president embracing a dark idea of the US future, is a typical representative of that Washington swamp that Trump wants to drain. Trump, a man of prayer, is Protestant, while Biden presents himself as a “practicing Catholic”. It is therefore legitimate to ask whether Catholics may licitly support Biden with their votes and /or financial contributions. Actually, the problem exists, not for Catholics alone, but for all men and women of good will, namely whether it is licit to support Biden in light of natural morality. However, for the limited purposes of this note, the issue will be addressed from the perspective of the “Catholic question”.
The beginning of a “Catholic question” within the context of the race for the US presidency dates back to the end of the 1920s, when the Catholic Al Smith, governor of the state of New York, became the Democratic contender for the presidential elections of 1928, which were then won by the Republican Herbert Hoover. In a fairly articulate public letter, Joseph Marshall asked Al Smith to explain if and how Catholic doctrine could be reconciled with the fundamental principles of the US political system. In his reply, Al Smith wrote that both his faith and American law are based on the Commandments and, in any event, he was a firm believer in the “absolute separation of Church and state”. (Apparently, Al Smith’s reply was initially drafted by Joseph Proskauer, with the consequence that, as it has been remarked, a Protestant attorney (Marshall) challenged a Catholic politician (Smith) regarding his faith, and this challenge was taken over by a Jewish judge (Proskauer)!)
Thirty years later, the “Catholic question” resurfaced when John Kennedy sought the presidency. In a speech to Protestant ministers, Kennedy came out with that trick (which has since been embraced by all those who want to continue doing what pleases them while at the same time presenting themselves as men of principles) according to which, in a president, “religious views are his own private affair”, and on such thorny issues as birth control and divorce (back then abortion had not yet taken central stage) “I will make my decision in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates”. (Should we therefore assume that “those who love me observe my commandments” is a “religious dictate” that a president’s (not adequately formed) conscience may simply set aside?!)
We finally reach the 1980s, and what has ironically been named “the encyclical by Mario”, i.e. the speech that the then governor of New York, and father of the current one, gave at Notre Dame University. The mystifying “pearls” of this speech are many, from the opportunistic distinction “as a catholic I think… but as a governor…”, to the appeal not to “impose financial burdens on poor women who want abortions” (obviously, no issue of… discrimination arises against children murdered in poor mothers’ wombs, as they are dismembered in exactly the same way as the aborted children in rich mothers’ wombs), to the idea, true but irrelevant, that the right to life does not end at birth. (The real issue is that the right to life is denied between fertilization and birth, or immediately after birth, when children miraculously escaped from abortion are criminally murdered or let die by those who should care for them). In summary, the “Catholic question”, which had initially been raised to ascertain whether a faithful Catholic could aspire to the US presidency, had turned into the different question whether a Catholic aspiring to the presidency could legitimately seek Catholic votes, even though in thought and action he would show he could not care less about the non-negotiable principles of natural morality and Catholic teaching (while still paying lip service to them, of course). To Mario Cuomo’s absurdities, Cardinal O’Connor, then Archbishop of New York, objected in simple and cogent terms: “If a candidate for political office were going to support, to nurture abortion then, as a citizen, I would say that, regardless of his or her other political qualifications, I could not in conscience vote for that individual for political office”. This was true in 1984, is true today, and will remain true tomorrow.
Joe Biden (like his own Democratic party, ever more the party of death) is in breach, not of one, but of all the non-negotiable principles so aptly summarized Mons. Crepaldi, Archbishop of Trieste, Italy. As Obama’s vice-president, and in his express plans should he become president, Biden has declared war (a) on the children targeted by the crime of abortion, (b) on the natural structure of the family as the union based on marriage between one man and one woman, and intrinsically different from any other relationship, and (c) on the right of parents to educate their children, also in religious schools. Not to speak of religious freedom, and the shameful persecution of the Little Sisters of the Poor, forced by the Obama-Biden administration to go all the way before the Supreme Court to affirm their right not to cooperate in the evil of abortion (and forced to engage in this pathetic saga again, should Biden become president).
Given this situation, one can hardly see how a Catholic faithful can ever support Biden. In 2019, Pope Francis appealed to all politicians “to place, as the corner stone of the common good, the defense of the life of the unborn”. In this same vein, in their new introduction to the document on Forming Consciences, the US bishops have reiterated that “the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed”. Therefore, there is no way out. Formalcooperation with Biden and the Democrats (hence voting and/or financing them precisely because they promote abortion) is gravely immoral. But likewise excluded is any material cooperation (namely voting and/or financing them for other reasons that would morally be licit), because this material cooperation would allow them to win the elections and then put in place their murderous policies against the unborn. (Voting for a party because it advocates an efficient train network, while conveniently ignoring that some of those trains will carry innocent people to their slaughtering, would be a fairly poor defense, right?!)
Biden can repeat as often as he likes that he is a “practicing Catholic”. If he truly is one, then let the facts, not any wishful thinking, speak for themselves. As Cardinal Burke (former head of the highest Church tribunal) has remarked with his proverbial clarity, anyone saying “I am a devout Catholic”, while promoting abortion, “gives the impression to others that it’s acceptable for a Catholic to be in favor of abortion and of course it’s absolutely not acceptable. It never has been, it never will be”.
In conclusion, instead of voting for Biden or contributing to his election campaign, every Catholic (like every man and woman of good will who wants to abide by natural morality) had better say a prayer for his conversion.
 The text of Marshall’s letter is at https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1927/04/an-open-letter-to-the-honorable-alfred-e-smith/306523/; Al Smith’s reply is at https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1927/05/catholic-and-patriot/306522/.
 The transcript is at https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16920600.
 The transcript is at http://archives.nd.edu/research/texts/cuomo.htm.
 Democrats are stubbornly against any measure aimed at caring for the children escaped from abortion: https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/born-alive-abortion-survivors-protection-act-democrats-justify-infanticide/. President Trump adopted a protective executive order: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-protecting-vulnerable-newborn-infant-children/.
 See https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/cardinal-burke-biden-should-not-receive-holy-communion-15439. In this interview, Cardinal Burke confirmed that, in accordance with canon 915, a Catholic politician who supports abortion (like anyone obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin) cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. In fact, some bishops have issued clear instructions on the administration of the Eucharist (see, for example, https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/worthy-to-receive-the-lamb-catholics-in-political-life–3829), on which basis Biden has been denied Communion (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/29/joe-biden-denied-communion/2494025001/).
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