Sunday, October 21, 2012

Catholic politicians and abortion

The other night (Thursday, October 11, 2012) Joe Biden and Paul Ryan were asked about abortion and their Catholicism. I want to focus on Joe Biden's answer.

Check it out here:

So Joe Biden starts off by saying he accepts that opposition to abortion in his religion is a "de fide" doctrine, which puts it at the highest level of Catholic teaching. According to Wikipedia, to deny a "de fide" doctrine constitutes heresy. It is at the same level as opposition to murder, and belief in the triune God, so very important.

In the next breath, he says although he accepts his Church's teaching that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder, he will not impose this belief on others. Does this make any sense? He's a politician. It's his job to create laws. If he find himself incapable of even legislating that murder is against the law, how can he say he is an actual politician to begin with?

He also says he refuses to impose this belief that life begins at conception on people of other religions, and he mentions Christians, Muslims and Jews. News flash: these religions also reject abortion as morally wrong.

Can anyone imagine Joe Biden saying "Although I believe torturing innocent children is wrong, I will not impose this belief on others."

So the question is what does this mean? Well there are limited possibilities. Perhaps he disagrees with the Church. Well, we know that's not true because he said he totally agrees with the Church on this issue. The only other possibility is that he knows he will lose support from certain voters if he says he is opposed to legalized abortion. Therefore, he is choosing to ignore a basic moral principle in order to advance his political career.

Perhaps he doesn't really take abortion seriously. To many abortion is something of a lesser crime. Even if they think it's bad, they often think it's some kind of necessary evil or that there are worse alternatives. They haven't thought it through logically. Logically speaking you cannot be opposed to abortion and then think it's perfectly fine for others to get one.

For politicians though, it's a tough place to be in. For Democrats especially, to be opposed to abortion, would essentially mean the end of ones political career. Of course, as Christians we are called to forsake everything for our faith. If Joe Biden cannot reconcile his beliefs with his job, then perhaps he should find employment elsewhere.

It's also important to note that although Biden's intentions, which me mentions at the beginning of his spiel, are laudatory, they are not equal in gravity to the issue of abortion. Reducing poverty or helping others in general are definitely good goals, but they do not supersede the need to end murder.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

As you've probably heard in the media, Kateri Tekakwitha, who lived in the 17th century in both the U.S. and Canada became the first aboriginal saint. She only lived a short life of 24 years, but gave it all to follow Jesus. She faced ostracism from her Algonquin-Mohawk family, but persevered anyway. Pope Benedict canonized her Sunday, October 21, 2012 at the Vatican.

Picture of St. Kateri Tekakwitha painted circa 1690.