Biden Should be Honest: Church Leaders Lambast President for His 'Devout Catholic' Label

Biden, who is only the second Catholic president of the US after President John F Kennedy, describes himself as a 'devout Catholic.'

President Joe Biden should drop his 'devout Catholic' label and be honest about his religious principles, a senior Archbishop of the Catholic Church in the United States has said. The Archbishop of Kansas City also said Biden is usurping the role of bishops and confusing the faithful.

The church figure was expressing his view about whether the President is right about describing himself as a devout Catholic despite renouncing the pro-life fundamentals of the Catholic church. The bishop even said Biden doesn't believe in the Church's teachings on the Sanctity of Human Life, referring to the president's support of abortion rights.

Joe Biden taking a knee
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with pastor of the Bethel AME Church, Rev. Dr. Silvester S. Beaman and attendees during a visit to the Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware, in June 2020. Twitter

Archbishop Joseph Naumannn, who serves as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said: "The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic, and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching. It would be a more honest approach from him to say he disagreed with his Church on this important issue and that he was acting contrary to Church teaching."

Biden, who is only the second Catholic president of the United States after President John F Kennedy, often describes himself as a 'devout Catholic.' He was plain lucky that his Catholic faith did not deny him the presidency, like it happened in the case of John Kerry. In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate Kerry failed to get the Catholic support despite being a catholic himself owing to his pro-choice stance.

Breaking WASP Convention

In general, the American tradition is to elect a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) as the president of the country, a convention that's very rarely breached. The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 marked a significant break from this tradition. In Biden's case, obviously, he was propelled to victory by voters who just wanted Trump out. Biden's chances against a Republican candidate with a broad-spectrum appeal would have been very weak.

Biden Bible

Biden, who has often said he is a devout catholic, also openly practices his faith. He never misses a Sunday mass when he is in Delaware, where he attends the holy mass at St. Joseph on the Brandywine. He also often wears a rosary on his wrist or carries one in his pocket. During the presidential campaign Biden would often proudly talk about his working class Irish Catholic family legacy.

Hyde Amendment Flip-Flop

However, the Catholic leadership is bemused with him over his support to abortion. Biden had earlier supported the Hyde Amendment, which mooted stopping taxpayer money to pay for abortion, Catholics are clear that his public pronunciation of his faith runs counter to the church's principles. However, in 2019, ahead of joining the 2020 presidential race, Biden withdrew that support. "I can't justify leaving millions of women without the health care they need ... If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support [the amendment]." he said.

"When he says he is a devout Catholic, we bishops have the responsibility to correct him. Although people have given this president power and authority, he cannot define what it is to be a Catholic and what Catholic moral teaching is," says Archbishop Naumannn.

"What he is doing now is usurping the role of the bishops and confusing people. He's declaring that he's Catholic, and is going to force people to support abortion through their tax dollars. The bishops need to correct him, as the president is acting contrary to the Catholic faith."

In 2019, Biden was denied Holy Communion at a catholic church in South Carolina. The priest refused to give Communion to Biden, Catholic, over his stand on abortion. The priest, Robert Morey of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Charleston, refused Holy Communion at the Sunday Mass.