The Danger of A Cafeteria Catholic President
No president of the United States will ever be perfect. However believers have a duty to call our elected officials to strive for a higher standard, especially when an elected official publicly confesses Christian faith. During the Trump administration I was frustrated that so many zealous Catholics embraced a man who mocked God by aligning himself with the Christian faith while simultaneously promoting biogtry and white supremacy. Now that Biden is President-Elect I am relieved that a more rational individual will be leading one of the most powerful countries in the world. Nonetheless I am once again frustrated by the response of some of my Catholic bretheren.
Is Joe Biden A Cafeteria Catholic?
A Cafeteria Catholic can be defined as someone who professes Catholic faith, but picks and chooses which doctrine they will accept, analogous to the selections one makes when setting food on a cafeteria tray. This process of accepting some beliefs and rejecting others is problematic because matters of faith and morals are objective truth. There are some choices that are matters of preference and not matters of faith and morals. Thus it is not Cafeteria Catholicism to choose a contemporary mass over a traditional mass, as long as the mass is valid. The musical setting or the use of Latin prayers are exterior qualities of the mass that do have guidelines, but allow for some personal selection. However attending mass every Sunday is a matter of faith.
Faith concerns those truths God reveals about how we enter into relationship with Him as articulated through scriptre and tradition. Scripture calls us to keep holy the Sabbath, the third commandment, and church tradition has given us a precept to further explain the importane of worshipping God every Sunday as a matter of justice. So if one desires to accept faith in God, there are truths that are essential elements of that faith.
Abortion is a matter of faith because it concerns a sin against the fifth commandment and the practice is clearly comdemned in various official church documents such as Pope St. John Paul II's encyclical letter Gospel of Life. Therefore Catholics cannot pick and choose whether or not abortion is a right deserving of legal protection. We have a duty to protect life in all stages. It is unknown whether or not Joe Biden personally believes in abortion, but he has publicly embraced the Democratic Party's erroneous view that abortion is a "right." Furthermore on the campaign trail Biden promised to "codify Roe v. Wade."
So again let's celebrate the fact that President-Elect Joe Biden is a step in the right direction. Biden's ability to speak words of peace and to demonstrate how a man of faith worships God in an assembly will be a powerful witness to our divided country.
Furthermore studies indicate that when a president has economic policies which benefit the oppressed, abortions will decrease because less people will be in desperate financial constraints. So there is certianly reason to hope for a better future. However let’s be clear that Joe Bien is not the ideal Catholic president. We must encourage President-Elect Biden to do better, by putting public pressure on him to make a public stance against abortion in defense of the Catholic faith he holds dear.