Michael Gaynor
Vice President Joe Biden is a CINO (Catholic in Name Only). Pray for him.
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By Michael Gaynor
October 16, 2012

The "separation between faith and life" was condemned by the Second Vatican Council as "among the more serious errors of our age."

In a curious article titled "How Martha Raddatz's Abortion Question Won The Vice-Presidential Debate" (www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2012/10/12/paul-ryan-joe-biden-martha-raddatz-abortion-vice-presidential-debate/), Forbes' Meghan Casserly lauded debate moderator Martha Raddatz for "setting her personal or political preferences aside and...pursuing...questions...to get the answers she's looking for" and celebrated what she called "one exceptionally nuanced question" on "what role...religion has played in [the candidates'] own personal views on abortion."

Casserly suggested that Raddatz wouldn't play by any rules but her own, and seemed delighted with that. Casserly also reported that Susan J. Carroll, Senior Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, opined that Raddatz "clearly...strategically placed it towards the end" and concluded that Raddatz had framed the question so that the candidates were "forced...into explaining their own personal beliefs," and Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, believes Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's response "handed the Obama Campaign a gift on a silver platter" and soon will be included in Obama campaign ads for the campaign's home stretch as part of the Obama campaign's "a "masterful rhetorical" "War on Women" strategy.

I disagree. Raddatz followed the new debate rules and asked great questions on Benghazigate and faith that elicited great answers from Ryan and bad answers from Vice President Joe Biden that will help elect the Romney-Ryan ticket as they are fully appreciated (although some ardent pro-choice feminists obviously did not realize it as they watched the debate).

Ryan, a Roman Catholic, said, "I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do."

Ryan gave the appropriate answer. Candidates should explain how their faith, or lack of faith, affects their public lives, and faith should inform us in everything we do.

The candidate whose answer is very revealing and very problematic, especially with the important so-called "Catholic vote" is self-identified practicing Catholic Biden, whose position of abortion necessarily means that he is not in full communion with the Church he identifies as his.

Claiming to be a Catholic doesn't make a person a Catholic.

Accepting and advocating the basic tenets of the Catholic faith makes one a Catholic.

Biden is a CINO (Catholic in Name Only), not a real Catholic, and his discussion of his claimed faith and the Obama Administration's HHS mandate was a public scandal.

Pope Benedict during his 2008 visit to the United States asked and answer a very important question:

"Is it consistent to profess our beliefs in church on Sunday, and then during the week to promote business practices or medical procedures contrary to those beliefs.

"...Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted. Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel."

On June 14, 2012, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) unanimously approved (www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-108.cfm) a March 12, 2012 statement (www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/march-14-statement-on-religious-freedom-and-hhs-mandate.cfm) declaring that the Obamacare HHS regulation to be an "unjust and illegal mandate" and explained that the Obamacare regulation not only violates the rights of Catholic institutions but also the rights of Catholic business owners and individual Catholic lay persons, whom the regulation would force to act against their consciences.

"The HHS mandate creates still a third class, those with no conscience protection at all: individuals who, in their daily lives, strive constantly to act in accordance with their faith and moral values," the USCCB stated. "They, too, face a government mandate to aid in providing 'services' contrary to those values — whether in their sponsoring of, and payment for, insurance as employers; their payment of insurance premiums as employees; or as insurers themselves — without even the semblance of an exemption. This, too, is unprecedented in federal law, which has long been generous in protecting the rights of individuals not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. We have consistently supported these rights, particularly in the area of protecting the dignity of all human life, and we continue to do so."

Last August, the National Catholic Bioethics Center issued an analysis (www.ncbcenter.org/document.doc?id=450&erid=0) concluding that Catholics who own private businesses cannot morally obey the regulation and should be prepared to drop all insurance coverage of their employees by no later than Jan. 1, 2014 — when Obamacare comes into full force.

Citing Pope John Paul II's encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae, the Catholic ethicists further said that Catholics have a moral duty to resist the Obamacare regulation.

"Most importantly, we are impelled to recall the distinct moral obligation of all persons of conscience, and especially Catholics, to resist unjust laws," they said. "This duty was outlined explicitly by our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae: 'There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection.... In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, ... it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it.'"

Surely a practicing Catholic, as Biden claims to be, had to notice.

There's been no change.

USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert (September-October 2012) (www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/USCCB-Religious-Freedom-Bulletin-Insert_ENG-Color.pdf):

"Although the full impact of the Holy Father's words might not have been understood then, they had since proven prophetic. The Pope was challenging Catholics in the United States to resist the growing pressure to confine religious beliefs to houses of worship and to prevent the Church and individual believers from living their faith out in their day-to-day work and care for others."

Biden, who as a United States Senator once voted for a pro-life constitutional amendment and later chose to effectively throw his Catholic faith under the bus in the pursuit of national politic office as a nominee of the Democrat Party, either somehow doesn't understand the faith he professes to be his...or worse.

Either way, he's not fit to serve in national office.

Yet he's running for reelection and spreading falsehoods about his faith, himself and the Obama Administration's HHS mandate.

Biden, astonishingly, during the vice presidential debate:

"My religion defines who I am, and I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And [my religion] has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church's position on abortion as a — what we call a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

"But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I'm not going to interfere with that. 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. Now with regard to the way in which the — we differ, my friend says that he — well I guess he accepts Governor Romney's position now, because in the past he has argued that there was — there's rape and forcible rape. He's argued that in the case of rape or incest, it was still — it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend."

That bulletin insert continued:

"The U.S. bishops have since raised numerous concerns over the increasing threats to religious freedom, especially the now-finalized rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which would force virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception — including abortifacient drugs.

"While there is an exemption for certain 'religious employers,' it only covers employers that serve people of their own faith. Jesus and his apostles would not qualify. Mother Teresa would not qualify. As the bishops noted in their statement, United for Religious Freedom, this is an extremely narrow and unprecedented federal definition of religion, resulting in coercion to act against our teachings and the violation of civil rights.

"Federal law has long been generous in protecting the rights of individuals and institutions to not to act against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. Is that now changing? Are we entering a time when the federal government may now force the Church — consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions — to act against Church teachings?

"While we seek remedies from the White House, Congress, and the courts, the U.S. bishops have called upon the Catholic faithful, and all people of faith, throughout our country to join in prayer and penance for our political leaders, and for the complete protection of our first freedom — religious liberty. Prayer is the ultimate source of our strength — for without God, we can do nothing; but with God, all things are possible."

But God gave Biden free will and he chose to exercise it badly.

Biden's statement was so egregious that the next day the USCCB issued this statement titled ."USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate" (www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-163.cfm)"

"Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

'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.'

"This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain 'religious employers.' That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to 'Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,' or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

"HHS has proposed an additional 'accommodation' for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as 'non-exempt.' That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation 'to pay for contraception' and 'to be a vehicle to get contraception.' They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

"USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

"For more details, please see USCCB's regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed 'accommodation': www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf

What Biden also did during the debate was much worse than making a false statement about the scope of the HHS mandate: he claimed to be a practicing Catholic and then essentially preached the "separation of life and faith."

As Father James Poumade put it in a homily delivered on May 30, 2004:

"It is inconsistent to claim that one can reject the faith publicly and still be Catholic. Those who try to do so are the only ones truly guilty of mixing politics and religion. Being a practicing Catholic means following the will of God as revealed to us through Scripture and Tradition and the teaching authority of the Church."

The "separation between faith and life" was condemned by the Second Vatican Council as "among the more serious errors of our age."

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life. It stressed that "[t]here cannot be two parallel lives...the so-called 'spiritual life,' with its values and demands; and...the so-called 'secular' life, that is, life in a family, at work, in social responsibilities, in the responsibilities of public life and in culture."

The Doctrinal Note emphasized that lay Catholics, in fulfilling civic duties, are to be "'guided by a Christian conscience,' in conformity with its values," and that "their proper task [is] infusing the temporal order with Christian values, all the while respecting the nature and rightful autonomy of that order, and cooperating with other citizens according to their particular competence and responsibility."

The Doctrinal Note categorically rejected the claims that citizens have "complete autonomy with regard to their moral choices and lawmakers...are respecting this freedom of choice by enacting laws which ignore the principles of natural ethics and yield to ephemeral cultural and moral trends, as if every possible outlook on life were of equal value." The Doctrinal Note distinguished legitimate and illegitimate freedom. It explicitly respected "the legitimate freedom of Catholic citizens to choose among the various political opinions that are compatible with faith and the natural moral law, and to select, according to their own criteria, what best corresponds to the needs of the common good."

"Political freedom is not — and cannot be — based upon the relativistic idea that all conceptions of the human person's good have the same value and truth," the Doctrinal Note warned.

The Doctrinal Note rejected moral relativism and related the essential basis of democracy in the clearest terms: "If Christians must 'recognize the legitimacy of differing points of view about the organization of worldly affairs,' they are also called to reject, as injurious to democratic life, a conception of pluralism that reflects moral relativism. Democracy must be based on the true and solid foundation of non-negotiable ethical principles, which are the underpinning of life in society."

© Michael Gaynor

 

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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