Both Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan profess to be Catholic. Thursday, October 11, 2012, was the first U.S. Vice Presidential debate in history between two Catholics.
Is it a coincidence that this debate was held on the first day of the Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI? I don’t this so. I don't believe in coincidences. Soon I will write about the Year of Faith, but for now let’s look at how each candidate’s faith is reflected in his political life and our responsibility as Catholics to vote our values.
Vice President Biden claims to be a practicing Catholic and says he follows Catholicism in his personal life, and he very well may do so. But, in his political career he chooses a very different stance. He supports abortion, saying he does not want to impose his belief on others.
Sorry, VP Biden, when it comes to our faith there are no “buts.” We are called to live our faith, not pick and chose what we want to believe and/or when to believe it.
“In case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is never licit to obey it, or to ‘take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to VOTE FOR IT.’ ” -- Pope John Paul II
Congressman Ryan stands by his pro-life stance and assures us that a Romney administration will oppose abortion, with a few exceptions - rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk. While this doesn’t align fully with our faith, it is most certainly more inline with the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion than what Biden and the Obama administration support, which is a pro-abortion stance. In fact, President Obama is the most pro-abortion president the United States has ever had. I’m sorry, I cannot call it pro-choice because I believe we all have a choice. We can choose to support and defend life, or we can choose not to support and defend life.
Ryan stated he believes that life begins at conception, which is right inline with our faith.
“…when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.” -- Pope John Paul II
Now let’s look at the healthcare issue: Obamacare and the HHS mandate.
When Congressman Ryan brought up how Obamacare would affect the Catholic Church and our religious freedom, Vice President Biden’s response was a blatant lie.
“Look at what they're doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They're infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals. Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties.” -- Paul Ryan
"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact." -- Joe Biden
No, VP Biden, that is not a fact. In fact the opposite is true. The HHS mandate has a very narrow exemption for some religious employers, which does not include Catholic social services, hospitals, or any other religious charity that offers services to all, not just those of the same faith. The Catholic Church offers many services to all people, therefore many Catholic institutions will be greatly affected by the HHS mandate. Obamacare and the HHS mandate seriously jeopardizes our religious liberty.
The Catholic Church does not endorse any candidate in any political race, but as Catholics we are called to vote our values on issues of importance. We have a moral obligation to do just that. There are five non-negotiable issues we as Catholic Christians are to never support: abortion, cloning, euthanasia, same sex marriage, and embryonic stem cell research.
We must not only profess our faith during Mass, but we are called to live our faith each and every minute of every day of our lives. That includes the choices we make in the voting booth of any and all elections we face.
Peace in Christ,
© Melissa Knoblett-Aman
From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Catechism of the Catholic Church - Review