Last night I watched the Vice Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. Both men claim to be Catholic, but have extremely different ideas about not only how their Catholic Faith should or should not be an influence on their public lives, but also on just what the Catholic Faith teaches regarding various issues, especially abortion.
Now, with 2,000 years of our developing understanding of Christianity and an ever-changing world, there are many Catholic doctrines which may be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or worse, misrepresented. We have the Magisterium. We have the pope. We have our bishops. One should not be doing their "evolving" apart from these.
But on what should have been the clear defining moment of what the Catholic Faith holds true about the sanctity of life and especially the Church's defense of the unborn, both Biden and Ryan failed to step up. Worse, because they are high-profile public figures, they added to the scandal which has long existed because of the likes of such cowardly men (and women).
By the way, the first known Church statement in defense of the unborn is from about the year 100 AD.
Near the end of the debate, the candidates were asked about their Faith with regards to abortion.
Paul Ryan started off well by saying that you cannot separate Faith in your personal life from your public life. Check. He affirms that life begins at conception. Check. He identifies himself as "pro-life". Check. Moments later, however, he re-asserts that "the policy of a Romney Administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother". No check. This is not what the Catholic Faith teaches Mr Ryan. Life does begin at conception. Placing these automatic "exceptions" for abortion weakens the pro-life argument and devalue lives. They devalue innocent human lives.
Of course Joe Biden is so far removed from an acceptable representation of what the Catholic Faith teaches that he would have done better to just say, "Pass." He starts by saying "My religion defines who I am." He then says that he is particularly informed by Catholic Social Doctrine. For my non-Catholic friends or my lesser-aware Catholic friends, this is often (not always, but more often than not) code language for "I am about to distort and misrepresent the Catholic Faith to be some quasi-liberal entity" which may even sound good and logical but is actually Satan in the works. There's that forbidden fruit reference again. Anyway, "Smokin' Joe" continues, saying that we need to take care of "those who can't take care of themselves." Wow Joe, like unborn babies? Nope, not Joe. He continues, "with regard to abortion" saying that he "accepts" that life begins at conception (Of course he calls it "the Church's judgement" which ignores the fact there is also scientific proof.) but that he refuses to impose that upon "equally devout Christians, Muslims, and Jews." But he has no problem imposing forced payment for abortions and abortificant drugs by all of us who oppose such evil. He continues to ignore scientific evidence against his position by referring to the baby in the womb as a woman's "own body". Hello Mr Biden, at conception, the baby's DNA is unique. It is NOT the "Mother's own body".
I've posted and had enough. You can see the entire debate below. The parts that I referenced begin at 1:12:30.