The ‘c’atholic Biden Problem

How does one participate in the sin of another person?  We sin through another person’s actions by …

  1. counsel
  2. command
  3. consent
  4. provocation
  5. praise or flattery
  6. concealment
  7. partaking
  8. silence
  9. the defense of the ill done

1. Counsel: If you tell or advise another person to do something sinful, so that they do it, you have sinned by participation in that person’s sin.

2. Command: If you have authority over another, and you forced that person to commit something which is sinful, while that person might have mitigated guilt, you don’t.

3. Consent: If you are asked if you think a sin is good thing to do, and have some power over the situation, and if you permit or approve or yield to the commission of the sin, you’ve sinned.

4. Provocation: You badger or drive or dare a person to do something such that he does it.

5. Praise of flattery:
 Pretty clear.  This is another way of prompting a person.

6. Concealment: A person commits a sin and then you help that person conceal the evidence or the action.

7. Partaking: Another person is the principal person involved, but you are right there helping the actual sinful deed.  For example, a person helping a doctor commit an abortion, a politician helping an aggressive governor or president or speaker of the house drive through recognition of contrary-to-nature “marriage” by providing a vote.

8. Silence: There is an old adage that “silent implies consent”.  If a person with great authority or moral authority is in a position to stop a sin from happening, and yet stays silent and doesn’t get involved, then that may constitute participation in the sin committed.  This is trickier to figure out, but it isn’t rocket science.  There may be attendant mitigating circumstances, such as the probable invasion of Vatican City, the capture of the Roman Pontiff and destruction of the Church in many places.  In the meanwhile one could work quietly.  One cannot, however, do nothing.  Another point must be considered: the rules governing fraternal correction.  It may not be your place to correct another person, depending on the circumstances.

9. Defense: Pretty clear.  You defend or justify or give an apology in favor of the sin committed.  This is not the same as what a defense lawyer does in the case of a person who is guilty.

It is good to review this list once in a while with a view to your own examination of conscience.

It is also helpful to know this list when looking at the catholic media coverage of this critical upcoming election.

I direct the readership’s attention to something that Jesuit-run Amerika magazine has posted:

Joe Biden’s Catholic politics are complicated—but deeply American


But despite the thrill of meeting John Paul, there was one thing Biden refused to do: kiss the pope’s ring, a customary greeting when meeting an esteemed cleric. It was later revealed that it was Biden’s mother who insisted he refrain, telling her son, “Don’t you kiss his ring.”

His refusal has become a hallmark of how Biden manages his faith, a throwback to a brand of mid-20th-century political Catholicism that eschews obsessive obedience to the Holy See on matters of policy.


It’s a form of faith that experts describe as profoundly Catholic in ways that resonate with millions of American believers: It offers solace in moments of anxiety or grief, can be rocked by long periods of spiritual wrestling and is more likely to be influenced by the quiet counsel of women in habits or one’s own conscience than the edicts of men in miters.


“His separating of the secular sphere and the sacred sphere, not in his personal life but in his approach to governing, is straight out of that Kennedy lineage,” Natalia Imperatori, a professor at Manhattan College who studies Catholic ecclesiology, said of Biden.
But in the years that followed, the line between public policy and private beliefs seemed to fluctuate. Biden voted against the anti-abortion amendment when it once again appeared before the Judiciary Committee in 1983, but in 1984, he backed an amendment praising the so-called Mexico City policy, which banned the use of federal money for foreign groups that provide abortion counseling or referrals. By 1987, advocates for abortion rights were already describing his voting record on the issue as “erratic.”

(Editor’s note: Vice President Biden’s position on public funding for abortion has also shifted over time. Though once a longtime supporter of the Hyde Amendment, which restricts the use of taxpayer funds for abortion, he reversed course in June 2019 after intense criticism in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. See “Joe Biden Says He No Longer Supports the Hyde Amendment,” June 7, 2019.)

Do you see what Amerika has done here?    He’s sooooo deeeeeply Catholic.  Like JFK!   But you have to really sophisticated to get it how Catholic he is.

Fr. Z says:


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. LeeGilbert says:

    “The Lord is just. He loves just deeds. The upright shall see his face” (Ps 10:7).

    Regarding #8: SILENCE

    Our Diocesan Catholic paper has decreed that between now and the election it is not accepting letters to the editor supportive or critical of any one candidate or party. Since the bishop is the publisher, presumably this is his policy.

    Ever since discovering Rick Steve’s latest book Travel as a Political Act, my mind has been haunted by the phrase, “Silence as a Political Act.” So, it is forbidden to say that the Democratic party is the party of death, that President Trump is the most pro-life president in the history of the country; that Joe Biden is pro-abortion, that the policies of the Democratic party have ruined the black family, that it was the party supportive of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan, that it has become the agent both of Marxism, sodomy and transgenderism.

    Part of the reason given for this temporary suppression of Catholic opinion is that the party in power may not work with us if they see our opposition. Politically, the effect of suppressing the Catholic voice runs only one way. Our silence is a boon to the Democrats and, therefore, to the machinations of Satan..

    The online version of Catholic World Report for July 22nd had an article by George Weigel called “The Next Pope and Vatican Diplomacy” which is germane to this situation. Essentially he contrasts the conciliatory policy of John Paul II ’s secretary of state, Cardinal Casaroli, with the strong, principled voice of John Paul II himself at the UN on October 2, 1979. Then, turning to Vatican policy today– and it applies equally to the bishops of the United States– he writes:

    “I suggest that the institutional default positions in Vatican diplomacy do not reflect two lessons taught by the late 20th century: the only authority the Vatican has in state politics today is moral authority; that moral authority is depleted when the Church fails to speak the truth to power, especially totalitarian and authoritarian power. The truth can be spoken prudently and in charity; but it must be spoken. If the truth is not spoken, the Vatican tacitly confesses its weakness and is always playing defense on a field defined by the enemies of Christ and the Church.” Every word of this applies mutatis mutandi, to how our bishops are relating to the politics of our cities, states, and nation.

    Possibly they are hesitant to speak truth to power or strongly to guide the consciences of the Catholic people as they decide the fate of this nation Nov. 3 for fear of what damage may be inflicted on our churches in reprisal. If so, we are paying for “protection” with episcopal silence, just as shop owners in Palermo pay the “pizzo” to the Mafia for the same favor.

    If our bishops speak out and condemn the Democratic party and the local Marxists as they should, it may be that some damage will be done to our churches, but it would gain national attention and would go a long way toward preventing the entire nation becoming like China with the Catholic Church thoroughly suppressed and many churches and persons destroyed, not by mobs but by the government. For that matter, it may well contribute to the reformation of the Democratic party and our national politics.

    Honestly, I cannot imagine anything more evangelical, for it would likely result in a number of conversions. What would be more bracing and formative both for Catholics and Evangelicals alike than for our bishops, or even one bishop to stand up like Athanasius against the world? Paradoxically, the riots in our cities have given our bishops a huge megaphone to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a nation already reeling under the Marxist hammer. We have become Godless and now comes the judgement. They cannot say that?

    Is it now impolitic to say that Marxism is atheistic? It is unimaginable that St. John Paul II would be so cautious. For that matter, is it truly imprudent on the part of our pastors to state the overwhelmingly obvious, namely that the Democratic Party is the party of death? Everyone knows it, but it would be bracing to hear someone say so. In reality, our silence is the most wildly imprudent policy possible. It seems, of course, that speaking out is dangerous, but silence is by far the more dangerous course. Paradoxically, safety now lies in doing the dangerous thing. “From this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.” (Shakespeare, Henry IV).

  2. Kerry says:

    “…complicated—but deeply American”. More akin to the Platte River, “Mile wide, an inch deep. Too thick to drink, too thin to plough”.

  3. JustaSinner says:

    JFK was Catholic? Who knew? I guess compared to Teddy, he was down right a Saint…

  4. teomatteo says:

    Thank you for this Father Z. When hear the reading about judging, the wheat and tare, etc and then our Lord’s words about those condemned “evil doers and those who lead others to sin”. Pretty sobering.

  5. Sonshine135 says:

    If no one explicitly told me Joe Biden was Catholic, I would never have known. By their fruits you know them. Unfortunately, this can be said of many who proclaim the Catholic faith. Then, you also have the Pelosi-types that climb on the arms of the cross and hoist the Papal banner when it suits their ideology. She really comes across as the worst of them all. Biden may have done this before, but not that I can recall.

  6. Gaetano says:

    Someone should inform America Magazine that it is not necessary to pander to Biden to demonstrate how much they hate Trump.

    I also don’t see this as a winning strategy. One effect of end-stage modernism is that appeals to Catholic identity alone doesn’t get many votes these days.

    It might have worked 40 years ago, but religious voters these days examine positions, not identity.

    The strategists have no real understanding of religious voters. Likely because it is a mindset thoroughly alien to them.

  7. Fulco One Eye says:

    The Catholic bishops and the clerics who follow them are forcing us to conclude that they are irrelevant in one of their primary purposes, namely as moral guides. It is essentially unimportant what their excuses are for their failure.

  8. ChesterFrank says:

    The problem with demo-Catholics ,the Biden group, in the public sector workplace (of Strong Democrat States) is that Catholics cannot claim religious discrimination , for there are plenty of demoCatholics employed who think all is swell in the progressive state. Cryptic enough? (Q)

  9. The Egyptian says:

    The problem is that Biden is a nightmare, PERIOD, and going senile, fast!
    Oh and Harris, i yi yi, whole new definition of “piece of work”

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    Amerika mag: “Joe Biden’s Catholic politics are complicated—but deeply American”

    The Manhattan Project was complicated, Joe Biden’s “progressive” politics are not. His Potter-esque ambition to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor is neither “deeply American” or Catholic.

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Amerika mag: “It’s a form of faith that experts describe as profoundly Catholic in ways that resonate with millions of American believers: It offers solace in moments of anxiety or grief…”

    Joe Biden to a female college student who asked him a question at a Biden campaign event: “You’re a lying dog-faced pony soldier.” *crowd laughs*

  12. The Egyptian says:

    just noticed you friend Don Camillo is right next to the comment box, wonder what he thinks of Biden as catholic??? Seems to be rolling up his sleeve as if to let him know!

  13. JonPatrick says:

    We are going through all this angst over Biden’s “catholicism” when it is fairly likely that we will not serve for very long, perhaps even resigning shortly after his swearing in. It also seems unlikely that Kamala Harris would actually serve as President unless just as a figurehead, given her lack of qualifications. One wonders who is the real power behind the throne – the Obamas? Hillary Clinton? Nancy Pelosi? Bill Gates? Or perhaps there are several and we will witness a power struggle that rivals the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin or China after Mao. Undoubtedly whoever ends up on top will be hostile to the Church and the faith, so perhaps this is a moot point. I actually don’t believe the Democrats have much of a chance anyway, unless they steal the election via mail in ballots.

  14. jhogan says:

    Both candidates are deeply flawed (to be expected I suppose). However, when I look at who better supports the Catholic issues, Biden fails despite being a “devout” catholic. I am minded of the Parable of Two Sons in Matthew 21, a warning against lip-service. I see Biden as the son who says “yes” but does not do the will of his Father.
    While this informs my vote in November, it also means that Biden needs my prayers for his soul.

  15. Pingback: The ‘c’atholic Biden problem | Catholic Canada

  16. Semper Gumby says:

    LeeGilbert: Good comment.

    “Is it now impolitic to say that Marxism is atheistic? It is unimaginable that St. John Paul II would be so cautious.”

    Good point.

    Marx was an anti-Semite, regularly mooched money from Engels (which explains Marx’s obsession with “capital” and “usury”), and had an unpleasant personal life.

    Paul Kengor recently wrote a book: “The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism’s Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration.”

    Anne Hendershott in CWR a few days ago on Kengor’s book:

    “In the chapter entitled “My Soul is Chosen for Hell,” Kengor provides excerpts from the demonic poetry and prose of Marx— written several years before his Communist Manifesto (1848)— in which he waxed poetic about “the hellish vapors that rise and fill the brain, Till I go mad and my heart is utterly changed. See this sword? The Prince of Darkness sold to me. For me he beats the time and gives the signs. Ever more boldly I play the dance of death.” Remarking on that poem, entitled “The Player,” Kengor notes, “The blood violinist is not destroying the world because he hates it, but is doing so in order to spite God, out of derision and mockery against the Creator. He is a rebel, like Satan, the ultimate rebel against God and Heaven.” Marxism does the same by destroying the world as it exists, creating a new world in which God is destroyed and man is elevated.”

    Her article is well worth reading. She also comments on Francis accepting a hammer and sickle “crucifix” from Bolivian dictator Evo Morales.

    Kengor also wrote “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.”

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