A front page article in the Wall Street Journal reminded me that a Roman Catholic priest in South Carolina denied Joe Biden communion just about one year ago. Reverend Robert Morey blessed Mr. Biden but refused him the host, later saying the former Vice-President’s liberal position on abortion defies church teaching.
As with many Catholic politicians, Mr. Biden fell back on the rationalization that he could not impose his “private” beliefs on other Americans. But in Biden’s case, that rings very hollow.
For decades then Senator Joe Biden supported the Hyde Amendment, which disallows federal money for the abortion procedure because that violates the religious rights of Catholics and other religious people. There are exceptions for rape, incest, and serious medical danger to the mother.
The Hyde Amendment was fair because pro-choice Americans can easily donate money to fund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers thereby assuring legal abortions can be made available to all.
There is no need for the federal government to force religious Americans to fund a life-ending procedure they reject on moral grounds.
But the new, progressive Joe Biden now repudiates the Hyde Amendment in a stunning reversal of conscience. He also selected Kamala Harris, an aggressive pro-choice advocate, as his running mate. Some describe the Biden-Harris ticket as the most pro-abortion political duo in history.
The Democratic platform is very clear: there should be no restrictions on abortion whatsoever. A number of states have rebelled against that using “science” to justify regulations. It is a medical fact that a baby is viable in the womb long before birth. Many legislators believe destroying a fetus after viability is a violation of human rights.
Joe Biden has not responded to that point-of-view and that’s his problem with the Catholic Church. His political posture enables abortion at any time, for any reason. Just this week, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Vigano, warned Catholic voters that killing babies is “demonic.”
With almost 70 million Catholics registered to vote, Biden’s flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment and his political embrace of Senator Harris, could be a problem for him on Election Day.
However, the former Vice President is counting on the Catholic clergy remaining largely silent. The church is frightened, intimidated, and under financial siege due to the clerical abuse of children. Few American priests will speak out on anything.
After Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the nation’s most powerful Catholic voice, said the opening prayer at the Republican National Convention, he was brutally attacked on social and traditional media. Some wealthy Catholic donors even resigned from church boards. The message was heard loud and clear by Catholic clergy in America.
So Mr. Biden may well believe he has little to fear from the Church.
As for Joe’s faithfulness to the faith, who really knows? In 1936, Stephen Vincent Benet wrote a short story entitled “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” In it, a good man sells his soul for prosperity. In real life, it would be unfair to suggest that any politician would ever do that.