Joe Biden and the Bishops after 100 Days
To what shall we compare the first 100 days of our “devout” Catholic president? In an unforgettable moment, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, said after a trip to Asia that at present, “those who best realize the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese.” In a similar vein, there are American Catholics who think that President Biden – despite a welter of “respectful disagreements” with the Church (i.e., abortion, sex, conscience rights, religious liberty, and players to be named later) – was “preaching Catholic social teaching” when he spoke to Congress last week.
The Chinese Communists and the Biden Administration talk – a lot – about the common good and national unity. What they mean by those terms, of course, is another thing. For all the differences between them, they have both shown themselves quite willing to ride roughshod over Catholics – unity and tolerance be damned – in pursuit of radical, party-driven social agendas.
The American bishops, thus, find themselves at a crossroads. To let things go on as they have in only the first three months of a presidential term would give the impression that they’re just fine with a self-proclaimed “devout” Catholic politician acting this way.
A large majority of bishops are not. They sense that there’s more at stake than political issues. Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, head of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said of Biden, “He doesn’t have the authority to teach what it means to be Catholic – that’s our responsibility as bishops. . . .Whether intentional or not, he’s trying to usurp our authority.”