The True Source of Catholic Democratic Confusion
Townhall reports that Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has formed a working group of bishops expressly “to navigate challenges posed by a Biden administration.” The archbishop is concerned that Biden’s “positions that are opposed to Church teaching, like abortion,” not only “pose a serious threat to the common good whenever any politician supports them,” but cause “confusion among the faithful about what the church actually teaches on these questions.”
It’s a sad truth that every Catholic officeholder professing a heart aflame for the faith who meanwhile toils night and day for a party at war with every Christian value, wouldn’t be in office without the votes of a lot of confused Catholics. The most notorious burning heart right now beats inside Joe Biden, the man NPR loves to remind listeners “carries a rosary in his pocket and attends Mass every Sunday.” And of course Nancy Pelosi, whose grating sanctimony as she defends abortion as “sacred ground,” or lectures on the demands of morality (Trump’s impeachment), and depths of immorality (a secure national border), are peddled to Catholics as the prayerful outpourings of an “ardent” practitioner of the faith.
But, for all their scandalous hypocrisy, Pelosi, Biden, and the whole sorry lot of them are not the ones responsible for the confusion about what the Church actually teaches. For that, we have all the bishops, priests, and religious sisters who, for better than 50 years, have refused to actually teach what the Catholic Church actually teaches.
Without them, Biden and his pocket rosary could never insouciantly flit from Mass in the morning to a Planned Parenthood event in the afternoon without at least a smidge of conscience. As Declan Leary trenchantly observed this past September, Biden is merely “the perfect representative of the mainstream current of American Catholicism. He’s a squish who prioritizes the temporal and sentimental over the eternal and the sacred.” A recent Pew poll supports Leary’s view of the mainstream, reporting that “a full 77 percent of ‘Democratic and Democratic-leaning Catholic adults say they think abortion should be legal in all or most cases.’”
For years the unrestricted abortion license has been the most jealously protected plank in the Democrat platform. And for years the fervor of Catholic Democrat politicians to expand abortion access has exactly matched that of their non-Catholic colleagues. When pro-abortion Catholics faithfully vote for pro-abortion Catholics like Biden and Pelosi, it’s not because they’re confused about what the candidates’ believe. They know perfectly well Democrats have sacralized abortion. Their confusion has another source, i.e., the Church’s willfully ambivalent message on the impermissibility of supporting abortion or the impossibility of same-sex marriage. But the well-formed conscience the Christian voter needs to stand against the prevailing sensibilities of moral relativism and emotion can’t be nourished with the clerical tofu getting dished up.
For 19 centuries the first and foremost duty of a bishop was to teach “the Catholic faith and… the moral law.” But in the 1960s -- thanks to “the Spirit of Vatican II,” the catastrophic distortion of an ecumenical council -- practically overnight “[e]verything that belonged to the Church’s centuries-long Tradition was suddenly forbidden by those who controlled the parishes, chanceries, seminaries, and universities.” This hipper Church de-emphasized teaching in favor of being “pastoral,” encouraging “dialogue” with the already hostile post-Christian world, and patiently explaining to the faithful that two millennia of Church teaching was now outdated and wrong. But had the genuine faith continued to be taught, and required in all Catholic teaching institutions, there could never have been the mass-bamboozling of America’s Catholics that led to unrestricted abortion, same-sex marriage, and widespread scorn for Judeo-Christian values.
For years America’s bishops focused on temporal vanities, schmoozing with big shots and dallying with the sorts of liberal fads that earned them their sobriquet as “the Democratic Party at prayer.” Meanwhile their seminaries were being repurposed as recruitment stations for dissenting homosexuals. Instead of the richness of the faith, shepherds starved their flocks with dumbed-down “hootenanny Masses,” social-gospel homilies, and relativist catechetics that stress all religions are basically the same. The average American Catholic believes God doesn’t care if one is Christian, Muslim, pantheist, Wiccan, or atheist, as long as he’s sincere, and that all religions essentially teach the same thing, i.e., niceness and self-actualization. Besides, everybody goes to heaven anyway. While devotion to the Eucharist as the actual Body and Blood of Christ is the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith, 69% of American Catholics don’t believe it.
Archbishop Gomez’s prompt stepping up to take public issue with Biden’s un-Catholic policies is still commendable, if misguided. He’s even catching flak from all the right people for not following Pope Francis’s unpredictable “lead.” If nothing else, it’s a sign that America’s pathetic bishop’s conference may have changed course after years of trailing after progressive fads -- the Sandinistas, the nuclear-freeze movement, and environmental extremism.
The 2020 campaign did see some prelates speak out against Biden, making it utterly clear that, no matter how exemplary a Catholic NPR says he is, his policies contradict Church teaching. One group of eleven bishops reiterated the USCCB’s guidance that “[a] Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion...” Former Archbishop of St. Louis Cardinal Raymond Burke warned that neither Biden nor Pelosi should be taking communion, because their open declarations of support for abortion removes them from the state of grace required to receive it. “[P]oliticians can’t claim to be good Catholics and support abortion…” said Burke. "I don’t know why Catholics who are involved in politics can’t get this straight in their heads."
One reason they can’t might be the many Church leaders whose public demeanor and statements preach the exact opposite. Like the man who will be Biden’s bishop if he ends up in the White House, Washington, D.C.’s “very liberal” Archbishop (now Cardinal) Wilton Gregory, who told media last week that “he will not deny Holy Communion to a politician who has pledged to enshrine access to abortion in federal law and permit federal funding of abortions.” Governor Cuomo, so delighted with a law permitting abortions until birth he lit up New York’s One World Trade Center, got the same treatment from Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Last year Biden’s public support for abortion did lead one brave South Carolina priest, following canon law, to deny Biden communion. When PBS asked about it, an unperturbed Biden responded he hadn’t run into that anywhere else, “including from the Holy Father, who gives me Communion.”
So take that, pro-life voters!
“If the bugle gives an indistinct sound,” wrote St. Paul, “who will get ready for battle?” Six decades of contradictory messages has the faithful so disconnected they don’t even know they’re in a battle, let alone who the enemy is. But with all due respect to His Eminence Archbishop Gomez, the real challenge isn’t the disobedient politicians, but his own colleagues with the shepherd’s crooks.
T.R. Clancy looks at the world from Dearborn, Michigan. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.