This is a response to a Washington Post article, which can found here.
President-elect Joe Biden is poised to make his mark on American Catholicism. Over the next four years, the country will watch our new president go to Mass every Sunday, take out a rosary at times of contemplation, and quote his favorite childhood nuns and Catholic poets.
This is a rare opportunity for all Catholics to see past the legalities of the religion of men, and to our common heritage as members of the human family of God. Our new president will try to navigate controversial issues of special interest to our Catholic faith such as abortion, LGBTQ rights, climate change, housing, food insecurity, COVID assistance and end of life issues - just to name the big ones.
When the president is directly opposed to the most basic of human rights, there is a problem on a foundational level in terms of whether or not to implement policies to protect abortion access. How the church addresses all of these challenges will be no easy task, and if the church does not address them then President Biden will redefine the perception of what it means to be a Catholic in good standing
This is an opportunity for all Catholics to rise above in love for the greater good of us all. We must pray for Joe Biden and the new administration to prevail in grace and not stand in opposition to our collective and individual responsibilities as the faithful. In 2020, the Biden campaign likely had the most extensive faith-outreach operation of any democratic presidential candidate ever. This shows a willingness to find common ground. Mutual interests are the place where trust rises and ideas become action.
For those who embrace Pope Francis’s philosophy, there is hope that Biden’s focus on healing and unity will allow for a spirit of common interests. There is some evidence to suggest that this will be how our new president will rise to the occasion. Biden was among the democratic leaders during the Obama administration who pushed for more compromise on controversial issues, including how wide religious exemptions can be a part of the Affordable Care Act. He specifically advocated for exemptions from mandatory coverage of contraception or abortion.
Some Catholic democrats who are pro-life or moderate on the issues wonder if, as president, Biden will offer conservatives concessions. It is time to stop wondering and beg God the father, creator of the universe, to give Biden the wisdom, understanding, compassion and courage to do the right thing on these issues throughout his term as president. Biden will have to be frankly honest about how he balances his strong personal Catholic faith and his advocacy for some progressive policies, because if the church disapproves, he will have difficulty keeping together the coalition of Americans who are attracted to his spiritually framed message of empathy and unity.
St. Joseph, pray for president Biden.