President Biden, Archbishop Paglia and the Mortification of the Church

No one who has worked in Washington for more than four decades like me can imagine Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., as one of the sharpest knives in the drawer. Even looking back 31 years, his attempt to teach future judge Clarence Thomas natural law theory during Thomas’s confirmation hearings is still thrilling. He self-destructed in several presidential campaigns due to verbal gaffes (and plagiarism). Any honest account of his success in securing the 2020 Democratic nomination will concede that he was more or less anointed due to fears that Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialite who honeymooned in Moscow during the cold war, does not lead the party over the cliff.

Today, it is obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of geriatric medicine that Mr. Biden has cognitive impairment. So the burdens of age have overlapped with intellectual incapacity, with Biden’s usual bluster becoming a very thin cover for dysfunctions, indiscretions and one malapropism after another. Given these realities, ethicists can debate Biden’s degree of moral culpability for his relentless pro-abortion policy, which has escalated since the Supreme Court rightly consigned Roe vs. Wade in the dustbin of jurisprudential history last June. Objectively speaking, however, Mr. Biden has become not just an embarrassment to the Church, but a counter-witness to the gospel the Church proclaims.

Sensing, along with other Democrats, that the political winds were blowing in an unfavorable direction as the 2022 midterm elections entered the final round, the man who brazenly yells that he will ram his prayer beads down anyone’s throat questions his Catholic good faith announced that his first act, if the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate from January 2023, would be to “codify” by legislation Roe vs. Wade. In fact, what Mr. Biden and his supporters are proposing is the most draconian assault imaginable on the right to life: a national abortion license that, in the name of unspecified threats to maternal “health,” would legalize abortion. dismemberment of an unborn child. child until birth. The bill proposed by Biden and the Democrats leaves the definition of “health” so vague that it allows the last of late-term abortions, in cases of “mental health” problems that could be practically anything and everything .

By promoting a virtually unlimited license to kill, Mr. Biden has declared himself outside the full communion of the Church. The priests and others who told this superficial, ill-catechized man that his position on abortion can be reconciled with being in full communion with the Catholic Church may well bear the heaviest burden of responsibility moral – just like the bishops called to exercise a pastoral care for the soul of Mr. Biden. But there is no doubt that objectively President Biden has put himself in a position of diminished and defective communion with the Church he loves. The pity is that what he likes, he does not know. And unconscious love is just a feeling.

Then there is Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. We were, I imagined, friends once. In the mid-1990s, we worked with the late Cardinal William Keeler to erect a memorial to Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, including Msgr. Paglia was the rector. In 1887, Cardinal Gibbons delivered in this venerable basilica, which had just become his “titular” Roman church, a sermon that anticipated the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on Church and State. Keeler and I felt that this moment should be commemorated, and Paglia could not have been more helpful in carrying out the project, even suggesting that the Gibbons memorial be paralleled in the sanctuary of the basilica with a memorial at another great defender of religious freedom, Polish Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, now beatified.

But that was then, and this is now. And the archbishop, who presided over the deconstruction of the Pontifical Academy of Life as Pope Saint John Paul II created it, is not the man I knew thirty years ago. of years. Thus, Bishop Paglia recently accepted the appointment of Professor Mariana Mazzucato, a pro-abortion economist, as a member of the Pontifical Academy, in the name of a “fruitful interdisciplinary, intercultural and interreligious dialogue”.

This is the most superficial nonsense, and in fact the most deceitful. Will we now have heretics who deny the divinity of Christ appointed members of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the name of “dialogue”? Or anti-Semites called to official Vatican posts in the name of a “dialogue” on Judaism?

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The mortification of the Church continues. It will strengthen us in the truth in the end. But it’s still mortification.

Martha J. Finley