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The Catholic Church, a Dilemma and Coming Storm

The Catholic Church must decide how to deal with the unfaithful; one who happens to be President of the United States

March 8, 2021

The 2020 presidential election introduced into the American psyche what I believe is a new dynamic, and one that will cause a great deal of trepidation among Christians, but in particular the Catholic Church. This has created a challenge and an opportunity that will have to be addressed, and in the end, a decision made. Religion, politics, and the culture - these are the factions involved in what I believe is destined to manifest into a real dilemma and a coming storm.

These factions have for some time been in conflict, and religion, a principal of the elemental freedom of the constitution, poses a problem for the other two. When the individual attempts to live his or her religious faith within certain parameters and restrictions as established by the political class and what are deemed cultural conventions, there can be harsh repercussions, even being a victim of the "cancel culture."

What then are the consequences, if any, when the individual who happens to be a public figure in whatever profession, must confront and eventually choose which has greater importance in his or her life, religion, their job, or how they’re perceived in a culture that is at its root secular? When it comes to the Catholic Church, however, there can be no confusion, and the individual has only one choice - the church must come first. And what happens when the church’s doctrine and teachings are defied by one who professes allegiance to the faith?     

In the canon law of the Catholic Church there is what is termed an ecclesiastical censure, which in most cases is a preface to ex-communication or exile, depriving the individual of their rights, fellowship, and membership within the church community; the accused cannot receive any of the sacraments. For this to happen, there must be what is considered by an ecclesiastical authority a very grave offense, sin, or sins committed by the individual for such a serious penalty to be exacted. The attitude of the church, however, in these cases is not so much as being hostile or vindictive toward the accused, but the penalty is considered more medicinal in nature, a cure if you will, that allows the accused to repent and return to the full communion in the church.

From the 1st through the 21st century, there have been countless ex-communications that began with the birth of Christianity. Popes, bishops, cardinals, heads of state, Holy Roman Emperors, even saints during their lifetime have been one way or another censored or considered as persona non grata, many sought redemption, repented, and were forgiven. There have also been instances of ecclesiastical censor for an entire group or organization of Catholics who participated in what the church deemed objectionable, in a number of cases Catholics who promoted and supported abortion were excommunicated.

This begs the question, what does the Catholic Church do with a problem like a President Biden? His policies and executive orders are nothing short, in my opinion, of heresy. Biden wears his religion on his sleeve, and has on numerous occasions referred to himself as a devout Catholic; he even carries on his person a rosary bead, and yet he is an ardent supporter of abortion, and has revoked abortion restrictions that were put in place under the Trump administration. His excuse is that which we have heard from most Catholic politicians - he cannot allow his personal religious beliefs to interfere with his duties and fulfilling his obligations while holding public office.

This is post-modern America and not the middle ages. There have been cases down through the centuries where the church attempted to exert its authority over an individual, such as a king, and demand that the monarch follow doctrine and teachings, which lead to separation; think the Church of England.

It is therefore understood that the Catholic Church must carefully consider its next move. It must exercise prudence and sound judgment when it decides what to do with a problem like President Biden. Unlike the last Catholic President John F. Kennedy, who was pro-life and I doubt would have supported same-sex marriage and radical transgender policies, Biden is beholden to the dictum of cultural secularism and not that of his religious faith.

The Catholic Church considers abortion an abomination, and an intrinsic evil. How then could it acquiesce to a so-called devotee, the leader of the free world, who will not follow the dogma of the faith, even when it involves a grave sin? There is also division and unrest among the Catholic Church hierarchy that only adds to the dilemma. Cardinals, bishops, and priests are divided; most however believe that Biden should be held to strict canonical standards or be subjected to some degree of censure, beginning with his being denied the Eucharist during Mass, as some priests and bishops have done.

It is not only President Biden that defies the Catholic Church; politicians who profess their Catholic faith are just as guilty. In a recent study conducted by the Catholic League using statistics gathered by the National Right to Life and National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), it was revealed that 95% of Democrats in the House of Representatives, who claim to be Catholic, are pro-abortion, whereas 98% of Republicans are pro-life. In the Senate, 79% of Democrats are pro-abortion, and 91% of Republicans are pro-life.

If the Catholic Church remains silent, not wanting to make waves, so to speak, for the purpose of avoiding some form of backlash, what does it say to the tens of millions of American Catholics, many of who believe that President Biden and his cohorts in the congress should face punishment? Will the faithful perceive the church as weak and skittish, and too frightened to enforce its teachings, only to ensure its neutrality; in other words, go along to get along. God only knows. I for one will not remain silent.

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