VP Biden officiated at “same-sex wedding”. Where are his pastors?

The other day, pro-abortion, “practicing Catholic”, democrat Vice President Joe Biden performed a same-sex civil “marriage”.

In effect, Biden gave the digitus infamis to the Catholic Church.

Canonist Ed Peters has observations about this scandalous flipping of the proverbial bird.  HERE

Some canonical thoughts VP Biden’s recent deed

[After discussion of why excommunication doesn’t apply in this case….]

But if canonical criminal law as found in Book Six of the Code is not (at least not immediately) useful against Biden’s affront to Christ’s and the Church’s teaching on marriage, canonical sacramental law as found in Book Four of the Code, especially Canon 915 therein, could be useful against Biden’s scandal. Canon 915, recall, directs ministers of holy Communion to withhold that most August sacrament from those who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin”.  [What Biden did is gravely sinful and it is manifest and he obstinately perseveres in supporting “gay” (I hate the twisting of that word) “marriage” (and it isn’t marriage in any true sense of the term.  For some of Biden’s history on this issue HERE.]

Let’s be clear: Canon 915 is a sacramental disciplinary norm. As such, Canon 915 is not a response to canonically criminal behavior but rather it looks primarily to address the classical scandal (CCC 2284-2287) given by one’s on-going, public, objectively evil conduct. [That describes Biden’s public behavior.] Now, standing alone, a single, albeit grave, affront to Church teaching (such as voluntarily assisting at one “same-sex wedding”) would not suffice to trigger Canon 915 (which looks for, among other things, perseverance in evil conduct), but it would certainly qualify as an especially egregious manifestation of one’s general contempt for Church teaching, a contempt that might have been demonstrated in other behaviors such as, say, on-going political support for “same-sex marriage”, and, for that matter, for legalized abortion, and so on. [See the link, above.]

Now, setting aside a very few 915 cases that could be decided on the spot (see my discussion of Canons 230/915, here), before being visited with the consequences of Canon 915, a Catholic should be formally confronted by the competent ecclesiastical authority about why holy Communion is going to be henceforth withheld and the steps required for readmission to the Sacrament explained. [That would be the Archbishop of Washington DC, where Biden lives.  It could also possibly be the Bishop of Wilmington, since Biden is from Delaware.] I am not aware, however, of any Catholic official with canonical-pastoral authority over Biden who has ever made such contact with him. Still, whatever pastoral failing that past lack of formal contact might represent, it does not preclude their discussing his situation with him now.

And Joseph Biden, I would say, stands in obvious need of such outreach.

Can. 915.  Now.

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24 Responses to VP Biden officiated at “same-sex wedding”. Where are his pastors?

  1. juergensen says:

    No, no, no. You see, this is how it works. The Bishop of Washington, where Biden works, says it is up to the Bishop of Wilmington, where Biden maintains his permanent residence. And the Bishop of Wilmington, where Biden maintains his permanent residence, says it is up to the Bishop of Washington, where Biden works. In this way each bishop washes his hands of the scandal. In this same way, the bishops of Washington and San Francisco washed their hands of the Pelosi scandal some years back. It’s a neat system those bishops have in place. Frees them up to focus on making sure more illegal immigrants enter the country to replace the American Catholics who have lost the faith.

  2. AnthonyJ says:

    He went from support of sodomite “marriage” to formal participation in it. He should be turned back from the Communion line, but I doubt that will happen.

  3. Joseph-Mary says:

    Do we have leaders with the courage and moral fortitude of the apostles?

  4. Hoover says:

    Are his pastor and his bishop not complicit in the sin if they don’t speak out condemning it? Qui tacet, consentire videtur.

  5. lmgilbert says:

    Ain’t nothin gonna happen in any case, but as an intellectual excercise, Edward Peter’s discussion is interesting; or, as the Catholic equivalent of a zen koan.

    Rather than exploring what canon Biden may have violated, I’d be very interested to know what are the rights of the ordinary Catholic in this and similar situations, where public officials cause scandal, but the where appropriate canonical sanctions are not applied for “pastoral” reasons. Well, the rights are clear enough, though I am not going to look up the canon. We have a right not to be scandalized. For that matter, the badly instructed and badly formed public official has a right to be brought to book for the sake of his own salvation.

    Now, when that does not happen-and it almost never happens to my knowledge- what recourse does the ordinary Catholic have? If he has rights, unless he has recourse at canon law for redress, then his rights are fictive. Let us say that prominent Catholic public official X clearly and repeatedly causes scandal in the legislation he supports, in his public comments, and in his manner of life, but his ordinary never subjects him to any of the warranted canonical penalties, and to add to the gravity supplies him at his death with a Catholic funeral.

    What remedy at canon law is available to to the ordinary Catholic in that situation? What are the procedures? Most Catholics are under the impression that the only remedy is to write letters to the editor, complain on FB and the like Of course, we can always dash off a letter to the pope, but that is not what I am talking about. How do we launch a formal, canonical petition that penalties be levied against the negligent ordinary, a petition with teeth in it, that will make its way through formal channels and actually result in action being taken?

    Perhaps the “average” Catholic needs “Canon Law for Dummies” to become aware of his own rights in the Church and how to vindicate them. As it is, my definite impression is that canon law only has active relevance in the marriage tribunals, but otherwise is a dead letter, and moreover that this is definitely the situation those who hold jurisdictional power prefer. Yet, this leaves ordinary Catholics without remedy, they and their families subjected to endless scandal and with no recourse.

    If I am wide of the mark in any of this, I would definitely appreciate informed remonstrance.

  6. Mike says:

    It’s kind of sickening to hear all the USCCB blather about “standing up for marriage” and then all the silence when there’s someone whose public defiance actually needs to be stood up to.

  7. jhayes says:

    Dr. Peters says in the linked article

    Now, setting aside a very few 915 cases that could be decided on the spot (see my discussion of Canons 230/915, here), before being visited with the consequences of Canon 915, a Catholic should be formally confronted by the competent ecclesiastical authority about why holy Communion is going to be henceforth withheld and the steps required for readmission to the Sacrament explained. I am not aware, however, of any Catholic official with canonical-pastoral authority over Biden who has ever made such contact with him. Still, whatever pastoral failing that past lack of formal contact might represent, it does not preclude their discussing his situation with him now.

    Which seems to say that no priest (let alone an EMHC) should decide to withold Communion from anyone unless the local ordinary has informed them that that meeting and discussion has taken place.

    I wondered about that when I read this post here on 25 July regarding T. Kaine:

    “I take Canon 915 seriously. It’d be embarrassing for you & for me,” tweeted Dominican Father Thomas Petri, the vice president and academic dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies.

    Does the fact that Fr. Petri is a religious rather than diocesan priest change the situation?

  8. Kathleen10 says:

    It would be superb if the bishops would defend Catholic doctrine once more. The more Catholic teaching is abandoned because it is “unpopular”, the worse things are going to get. The public figures who claim to be Catholic and then flout church teaching are a complete scandal. We understand that people make choices and typically follow the secular world, but when it is allowed to continue unaddressed by our bishops, it becomes a much bigger scandal. There appear to be many Catholics who will never capitulate to the progressive world on moral issues, but who can quite easily identify capitulation when they see it. Nobody’s fooling anybody, anymore.

  9. Packrraat says:

    We recently lived in Seaford, DE, in the diocese of Wilmington, and went to Our Lady of Lourdes which is now pastored by two Redemptorist priests from India. Not sure that excuses them, though. Joe Biden came to a funeral Mass at that church, went up to communion and was NOT turned away empty-handed. I knew he was going to be there and avoided the Mass because I couldn’t have sat silently while that sacrilege was going on. I would have had to confront Biden and the priest who welcomed him. As outspoken and blunt as I usually am, I doubt it would have been pretty.

    Bishop Malooly followed us to Delaware from Baltimore where he had been bishop. I was not impressed with him in Baltimore and I wasn’t impressed with him in Wilmington.

  10. AndrewPaul says:

    While I think public officials who openly dissent from Church teaching should be publicly called out (and even ex’ed if it gets to that point), it could possibly do more harm. I spent two years as a Mormon convert (the last year as a liberal Mormon who took the theology more figuratively) and I noticed that the high profile excommunications caused PR nightmares for the LDS church (I’m thinking specifically of Kate Kelly, for OrdainWomen, John Dehlin, pro-LGBT activist and podcaster). It led to the “Big Bad Church of Old Men” going up against “powerless women” and “champions of the oppressed.”

    So part of me thinks that’s the thinking behind some of these priests and bishops being hushed about it… they don’t want to cause controversy and just hope it all passes. Problem is, when a public official cited their “traditional practicing Catholicism” and then acts in a way contrary to Church teaching, it opens a door for others.

    I wonder if this is part of the “reverse clericalism” of the left. They claim to be anti-elite, but the elites get a free pass where us lesser ordinary lay men and women won’t.

    Either way, I do not envy their pastors or bishops.

  11. LarryW2LJ says:

    Good thing for Mr. Biden that St. Nicholas is not walking the Earth now. I sense that a good right hook upside the head might have been issued.

  12. FrAnt says:

    This will be treated like all Catholic politicians’ support for abortion. If he is identifying as a practicing Catholic, then there’s no need to speak with Biden, Kaine, or Pelosi.

  13. acardnal says:

    I am not sure this will work or not but here is Vice President Biden’s actual Tweet with photograph. If this doesn’t work and a reader has a Twitter acct they can view Biden’s Tweet made on August 1:

    Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn't be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys. pic.twitter.com/0om1PT7bKh— Vice President Biden (@VP) August 1, 2016

  14. adriennep says:

    Forget the “church leaders” then. Do not the parishioners in DC and Wilmington have the courage and moral fortitude to tackle Mr. Biden down and out of the communion line? If Mr. Kaine can be given a standing ovation at his parish Mass, we need to take up the charge ourselves and “Shame!” him out the door.

  15. kekeak2008 says:

    I hope one of those two bishops says something PUBLICALLY about what VP Biden did. There seems to be a great lack of healthy guilt in the Church. There is no sense or idea of scandal; everything is fair game and all can do as they please. Surely they must know that what VP Biden did is a grave public scandal and can’t be tolerated. A healthy and well-ordered sense of scandal is good; it keeps people from doing outrageous things.

  16. Tim in Dixie says:

    A “pro-abortion, “practicing Catholic””. Would that be analogous to a pro-steak “practicing vegan”?

  17. Kerry says:

    The headline I saw read “Biden marries two men”, and I wondered, “Does his wife know about this?”

  18. tcreek says:

    Our problem would seem to be at the top. Does anyone think that Pope Francis would deny communion to Biden, or Pelosi, or Kerry, or Kaine, or . . .

    VATICAN CITY — Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. came to this tiny city-state to talk about two of his deepest passions: his Roman Catholic faith and curing cancer. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/30/world/europe/joe-biden-speaks-about-faith-and-curing-cancer-at-the-vatican.html?_r=0
    excerpt
    While fiercely committed to the church, Mr. Biden often has seemed to take pride in defying parts of its hierarchy. His mother, he often has said, taught him never to kiss the pope’s ring. And of those who doubted his faith because of his disagreement with Catholic dogma, he once said, in 2005, “The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious, I’m going to shove my rosary down their throat.” . . . his fondness for Pope Francis is obvious.

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  20. OldProfK says:

    “So part of me thinks that’s the thinking behind some of these priests and bishops being hushed about it… they don’t want to cause controversy and just hope it all passes.”

    If Andrew Paul is correct, things are even worse than they look.

    Fiat justitia, ruat caelum. (And I say that with trembling, borrowing from Jefferson.)

  21. Giuseppe says:

    Any good recommendations for further reading about lmgilbert’s comment about “the right not to he scandalized”?

    I find the concept of scandal as sin hard to pin down. The libertarian in me says “who cares what x or y says or does or endorses, especially in a pluralistic nation” but I’d love to read more.

  22. SKAY says:

    The US bishop’s response.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/pulse/the-u.s.-bishops-just-responded-to-biden-celebrating-that-gay-wedding

    Father Stephen Scheier’s near death experience comes to my mind quite often these days.

    http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/wake-up-call-changes-priest/

  23. un-ionized says:

    Giuseppe, the catechisms both old and new have info on that. Scandal is a sin which is serious because it involves leading people astray, among other reasons. That particular aspect of libertarianism that you mentioned is particularly odious to Catholics and indeed most serious Christians.

  24. Giuseppe says:

    Dear Un-ionized,

    Doesn’t a non-Roman Catholic democratic republic inherently lead people astray with laws that are cobbled together with negotiations with non-Catholics? We are a Roman Catholic minority in the US, I do not expect any US law to adhere to Roman Cathilic teaching. I’m happily surprised when it does.

    Can a Roman Catholic’s choice in an election be considered a sin? I think of the secular hedonist Donald Trump, and I am worried that I am going to be ordered to vote for him, lest I sin, and I will not vote for him unless Pope Francis says infallibly that I must.

    I am so much more comfortable choosing who I want to represent me without having to simultaneously have to rate them on specific issues vis a vis church doctrine. The pressure has resulted in my not voting in at least 5 major elections in the last 10 years. Or writing in a name of someone who stands no chance of being elected, just so I can sleep that night.

    I understand that gay marriage and abortion are far more important than the issues that touch me directly, but it results in my inability to vote for anyone or to write in someone (a neighbor) destined to lose.