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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Biden and Ryan: Catholics divided

(Photo by ProtoplasmaKid)
Although Joe Biden and Paul Ryan are both staunch Catholics, what they are staunch about can (and often does) differ greatly.

According to Melinda Henneberger of The Washington Post's "She The People" blog, Biden's mother "once counseled him to put off any decision about the priesthood until after he'd gone on some dates…"  The Vice President never misses Mass, which means that his trip-planners have to continuously seek out churches that will not deny him Communion due to his pro-choice politics.  Biden, who wrote that his ideas of self and the wider world come "straight from my faith," held on to "the rosary he prays with daily" as Navy SEALs moved in on Osama bin Laden.

Ryan, too (Ayn Rand aside), has had a long allegiance to Catholicism.  Henneberger reports that he was an altar boy who remains "just as serious in his practice" as Biden.  Ryan's children attend a parish school in Wisconsin, and his many clergy friends include Cardinal Tim Dolan of New York.  Mitt Romney has described his vice-presidential running mate as "a faithful Catholic" who "believes in the worth and dignity of every human life…"

And therein lies the rub…  How that last phrase is interpreted has caused a split in the overall Catholic Church.  Some Catholics base their anti-abortion stance on "the worth and dignity of every human life." Others focus more upon the "every" in "every human life" and grapple with the many facets of what that could mean.  Los Angeles Times reporter Mitchell Landsberg quotes liberal-Catholic Anne Gindorff Heinz as
saying that Biden supports using government for "the common good."  "Like many liberal Catholics," Heinz believes that "life" must "be seen in a broader context than just abortion."   


Copyright October 11, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved


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