Tag Archive for: Cafeteria Catholic

Biden: Cafeteria Catholic or Something Far More Dangerous?

David Carlin: Materially speaking, President Biden is a heretic, publicly and persistently rejecting some moral doctrines of the Church.

Joe Biden, in addition to holding the exalted title of President of the United States of America, holds a number of informal and unofficial titles.  For instance:

  • Head of the Democratic Party.
  • Commander-in-chief of the US armed forces.
  • The second Catholic President of the USA.
  • Leader of the free world.
  • Father of Hunter Biden.
  • “Cafeteria Catholic” – this title having been recently bestowed upon him by the cardinal-archbishop of Washington D.C., Wilton Gregory.
  • America’s foremost champion of abortion rights.
  • America’s foremost champion of homosexual rights.
  • America’s foremost champion of transgender rights.

John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic President, was no model of Catholic virtue, at least when it came to the Sixth Commandment.  But Kennedy took the trouble to keep his sexual sins concealed from all but his friends and a co-operative press.  He didn’t broadcast them.  We (the general public) didn’t learn about them until after his death.  More important still from a Catholic point of view, Kennedy, unlike Mr. Biden, didn’t make public pronouncements declaring certain sins are morally good.  He didn’t, for instance, shout from the rooftops that fornication is good and adultery even better.

But something like that is what President Biden is doing.  When it comes to religion, Biden is not a man who presents himself to the public as a person who grew up Catholic but has long since outgrown that childishness and now embraces an anti-Catholic view of the world and of morality.  Far from it.  He presents himself as a true Catholic. “When you see me, you see a Catholic, a genuine Catholic, the real thing.”

And so when he tells the nation, including the very sizeable Catholic portion of the nation, that abortion and homosexuality and transgenderism are morally allowable and deserve legal protection, he is in effect saying, “I can assure you from the point of view of a true Catholic that abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism are morally permissible things.  And not only morally permissible but deserving of legal protection.”

A theologically unsophisticated person can hardly be blamed for saying to himself/herself, “If Biden, a good Catholic who must, after a lifetime of Catholicism, understand the teachings of his religion, says this, isn’t it almost certain that he’s correct?  And if an occasional bishop slaps him on the wrist for saying such things, isn’t the weakness of the slap a clear indication that the bishop doesn’t truly disagree with him?”

In 1984, Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, a New York Catholic, was running for Vice-President on a Democratic platform that endorsed the right to abortion. Cardinal John O’Connor of New York was quite blunt in denouncing her for that.  Mario Cuomo, like Ferraro a Catholic Democrat, and at the time governor of New York, rushed to the defense, delivering a then-famous speech at the University of Notre Dame arguing that it’s right and proper for a Catholic politician to be “personally opposed” but publicly indulgent.

That may sound like Biden’s defense of abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism.  But it wasn’t.  Just as Dan Quayle (according to Lloyd Bentsen) was no Jack Kennedy, so Joe Biden is no Mario Cuomo.  Cuomo was a man of a fair degree of intellectual sophistication – although at Notre Dame, in my opinion, he used his talents to create not a sophisticated, but a sophistical, defense of abortion.

Cuomo did not offer a moral defense of abortion, only a legal defense.  He argued that from his point of view, a Catholic point of view, abortion is morally wrong, very seriously wrong.  But that in a religiously pluralistic country like the United States, we Catholics, members of a minority religion, have no right to impose our moral beliefs on society.  We may try to persuade non-Catholics to agree with us on abortion, indeed we should try to persuade them; but if they don’t agree, we’ll just have to live with that. And if we are government officials, we’ll have to support and enable the wishes of the majority.

Now if President Biden were as intellectually gifted as Mario Cuomo, he might offer a similar argument.  He might say, “As a Catholic, I am in total agreement with the teachings of my Church that abortion is a great sin, and homosexual conduct is a great sin, and transgenderism is not only sinful but preposterous.  But as a citizen of a democratic republic that is religiously and philosophically pluralistic, and especially as an elected official in such a republic, it is my duty to respect the will of the majority.  I pray daily that my non-Catholic fellow-citizens will someday see the light that we Catholics see.  But until that day arrives, I have no choice but to support legal enactments that may be offense to us Catholics.”

But Joe Biden, being no Mario Cuomo, has not done this.  He has not made a distinction between a legal right to abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism and a moral right; instead he has given a plain and simple endorsement of all three.  In effect he has said, “I disagree with my Church on these matters.  Along with most atheistic humanists, I am right on these questions and my Church is wrong.”

Materially speaking, Biden is a heretic, publicly and persistently rejecting some moral doctrines of the Church.  It may be argued, however, that he is not, formally speaking, a heretic since he may well be ignorant of the Church’s teachings on these matters, and he has no wish to disagree with the Church.

But how can anybody, let alone a lifelong Catholic, be ignorant of such things?  Maybe in this way.  Biden quite stridently utters words that defy Catholic moral doctrine – and he gets little or no pushback from Catholic authorities.  Nothing from the Vatican, very little from America’s Catholic bishops.  And so he concludes, “Silence gives consent.  I must be doing the right thing.  The Church must be changing its mind on abortion and homosexuality and transgenderism.”

Joe Biden is something far more dangerous than a cafeteria Catholic.

You may also enjoy:

+Fr. Mark A. Pilon Joe Biden and the Gates of Hell

Fr. Gerald E. Murray Joe Biden and Public Scandal


David Carlin

David Carlin is a retired professor of sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island, and the author of The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in AmericaThree Sexual Revolutions: Catholic, Protestant, Atheist, and most recently Atheistic Humanism, the Democratic Party, and the Catholic Church.

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