President Joe Biden’s profession of Catholic faith has been widely advertised. Interestingly enough, he is only the second President of the United States to claim Catholicism as his religion. However, his faith could be more cause for harm than celebration.
Despite his faith, a survey of Catholic leaders throughout the nation suggests there is a divisive split when it comes to supporting the new president.
Biden has been seen worshipping at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown twice since his inauguration on January 20th. Reporters asked Reverend Kevin Gillespie about the president’s appearances at his church, who responded by saying, “People were very happy, not that they all agree with his views, but he's one of us." This reverend’s decisively neutral response was not entirely echoed by his colleagues; other parishioners and church leaders were surveyed, and some had less flattering things to say.
Reverend Brian Lynch from Minnesota said, regarding Biden’s faith and attending mass, “I don’t care! That does not impress me!”
Meanwhile, Jim Gigliotti from Fort Worth, Texas referred to Biden as a “man without value”.
And the Archbishop of Los Angeles, despite appreciating Biden as a man, warned that the president would “advance moral evils and threaten human life” with his political goals.
Perhaps the most abrasive quote was uttered by Reverend Jeff Kirby of South Carolina. When addressing his flock, he said, “some of you I know voted for someone who is now going to suffer and persecute the church for the next four years. That, on top of the fact that he supports the slaughter of the unborn” would make our current president a traitor to his religion in this man’s eyes.
The divide created by Biden's actions and faith is enough that he was once even denied communion in 2019. So, why the vitriol and hatred toward the new president? While Joe Biden did receive 52% of the Catholic vote, the division among his people centers around one major topic: abortion.
Biden wrote in his memoirs in 2007 that he opposes abortion at a personal level, but does not believe that he has the right to impose his private view on others, despite his position of power.
His past senate votes align consistently with this statement: he voted multiple times to maintain bans on federal funding for abortions. However, as president, he now suggests otherwise. Two days after his inauguration, he committed to making women’s right to abortion a federal law. Within that same week, he rescinded the “Mexico City Policy”, which blocked the US from funding non-profits that offer counseling or abortion referrals internationally.
All Catholic eyes will undoubtedly be on the White House in the coming months. It will be interesting to see how “Diamond Joe” plans to unify the nation when he can’t manage to unify his religion.