Melinda Hennenberger presents an excellent piece at washingtonpost.com analyzing how Joe Biden and Paul Ryan incorporate their Catholic faith very differently when it comes to public policy — most notably on abortion.
She writes that the two men “almost perfectly embody the split in the American church as well as in American politics, with Biden representing the old-school, union-tied, Vatican II generation of Kennedy-loving Catholics whose focus is social justice and who are comfortable with questioning. … Ryan, meanwhile, upholds the younger, more conservative, John Paul II-era, anti-abortion-focused Catholicism of the sonogram generation.” She continues:
What Biden could learn from Ryan is that the vice president’s insistence that he doesn’t want to impose his morality on anybody in a pluralistic country doesn’t really track; the Civil Rights Act imposed morality on lots of people who wanted no part of it, and thank goodness. And same-sex marriage is doing the same, isn’t it?
What Ryan could learn from Biden is that the leading cause of abortion in this country is poverty; once you recognize that cutting Medicaid would surely increase the number of financially struggling women who’d opt to have the procedure, the Catholic calculus even on that one issue isn’t so clear any more.
Many Catholics stick with the Republicans because they keep promising to overturn Roe v. Wade, but they don’t ever deliver on that promise, and won’t. As even strongly pro-choice Nancy Pelosi told me recently, “Let’s face it, the Republicans have had the House, Senate and White House any number of times; they could have overturned Roe and they didn’t.’’
She’s right about that. And Catholic leaders such as Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who recently wrote on the subject of abortion and the upcoming election that “a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil .?.?. places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy” might consider whether 40 more years of supporting Republicans would bring any different result.
Read her full post here.