America: The National Catholic Review identifies itself as a “smart, Catholic take on faith and culture, the leading provider of editorial content for thinking Catholics and those who want to know what Catholics are thinking,” but their new interview with Vice President Joe Biden is strikingly indistinguishable from the secular mainstream media’s normal practice of giving pro-abortion politicians a complete pass.
Much of the interview consists of Biden monologuing about how much he cherishes his Catholic faith and how it supposedly defines his political philosophy, culminating in this statement:
I don’t think there’s any fundamental disagreement that, you know, we hold these truths self-evident, that all men are created equal. You can say it another way, the pope says it, every human being is entitled to be treated with dignity. So I find it totally consistent.
Say, isn’t there a group of human beings Biden has opposed granting equal dignity to? It is true that he was more moderate on abortion earlier in his career, going so far as to oppose partial-birth abortion and favor overturning Roe v. Wade. But it’s also true that he now endorses Roe, later in his career voted for taxpayer funding of abortion, and the majority of his Senate scores from the abortion lobby since 2001 have been 100 percent.
And since becoming vice president, Biden has dutifully gone along with Barack Obama’s absolutist pro-abortion presidency, with his most shamefully anti-life moment being the 2011 trip to China where he went out of his way to make clear that he “fully underst[ood]” and wasn’t “second-guessing” the regime’s one-child, forced-abortion policy.
We expect the usual suspects on CNN or MSNBC to gloss all that over, but presumably a Catholic priest would find the contradiction worth a little digging, no? Well, Father Matt Malone asked him about it—sort of:
And yet there have been times in, when talking about specific public policies where you’ve had to take positions that were at odds with the bishops of this country, contentious questions like abortion; has that been hard for you?
Wait, what? Malone’s phrasing of the question raises three major red flags: that Biden “had to” support abortion (who made him? Did I miss an asterisk in the Bible that says “unless it hinders your political career advancement”?), that supporting abortion conflicts with American bishops rather than the more salient point of it conflicting with the Bible itself and nearly two millennia of Catholic doctrine), and asking “has that been hard for you?” as if the real issue is poor Joe’s personal struggle rather than God’s children in the womb his position targets.
The softball thrown, Biden swung:
I’m prepared to accept as a matter of faith, my wife and I, my family, the issue of abortion. But what I’m not prepared to do is impose a rigid view, a precise view, a rigid view sounds pejorative, a precise view that is born out of my faith, on other people who are equally God-fearing, equally as committed to life, equally as committed to the sanctity of life, and I’m prepared to accept at the moment of conception there’s human life and being. But I’m not prepared, I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing and non-God-fearing people that have a different view […]
There’s even been disagreement in our church, not that— abortion is always wrong. But there’s been debate, and so there’s for me a point where the church makes a judgment— as we Catholics call de fide doctrine— said, ‘This is what our doctrine is.’ All the principles of my faith, I make no excuse for attempting to live up to— I don’t all the time. But I’m not prepared to impose doctrine that I’m prepared to accept on the rest of them.
This should have raised a number of questions, from “then why are you prepared to impose your interpretation of doctrine on other issues?” (such as when Biden lectured Rep. Paul Ryan for a budget proposal “contrary to the social doctrine”) to “why do you define life at conception as an article of faith when it’s also a fact of secular science?”
But the most important thing on which Biden should have been challenged is that his faith doesn’t leave the decision up to him. It’s hard enough to read Catechism paragraphs 2270-2272 as prescribing personal opposition and nothing more. But 2273 explicitly commands the very imposition Biden is “not prepared to accept”:
The inalienable rights of the person must be recognized and respected by civil society and the political authority. These human rights depend neither on single individuals nor on parents; nor do they represent a concession made by society and the state; they belong to human nature and are inherent in the person by virtue of the creative act from which the person took his origin. Among such fundamental rights one should mention in this regard every human being’s right to life and physical integrity from the moment of conception until death […] As a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child’s rights.
Inalienable rights. Must. Civil society. The law. Penal sanction. Biden knows full well that Catholicism’s abortion teachings are (small-p) political as well as moral, that it clearly and deliberately calls on public officeholders to do everything in their power to end this atrocity. But he has neither the decency to repent and challenge his party’s devotion to death, nor the honesty to own the fact that he’s defying his own religion and to leave it for one more compatible with his biases.
Surely no man of the cloth would let such a blatant affront to the Word of God on something of such moral severity go unchallenged, would he? Alas, it turns out Malone did. His only follow-up:
MALONE: Is there a place in the Democratic Party for people who are pro-life?
BIDEN: Absolutely. Absolutely, positively. And that’s been my position as long as I’ve been engaged.
My, how generous of you not to actively blacklist people who take murdering children more seriously. Actually, even that sarcastic lamentation is too charitable toward the second-most prominent member of a political party who hasn’t made a peep about his party pushing pro-life members away for years.
And that was that. Off to other topics.
Biden’s shameless heresy on preborn rights is nothing new; what is more alarming is that a Catholic publication so completely let him get away with it. Disturbingly, it seems this wasn’t just an instance of an interviewer being overly deferential to a major public figure—Father Malone once worked as special assistant and speechwriter to radically pro-abortion Massachusetts Rep. Marty Meehan, suggesting his views may not be all that different from Biden’s after all.
If we’re going to make the culture of life a reality, pro-lifers of faith must challenge those who help give the culture of death a veneer of religious legitimacy.