President Biden’s inauguration marked a historic moment as he became the second Catholic to serve as president of the United States. The White House asserts that Biden is “devout,” but many in Church leadership and among the rank-and-file have denounced his policies.
Biden’s faith became an issue early in the campaign when a South Carolina priest denied him communion over the then-candidate’s pro-choice abortion views. Cardinal Raymond Burke similarly said Biden was not a Catholic in “good standing” and shouldn’t receive communion, explaining that supporting abortion was a mortal sin.
Some in media have been supportive of Biden’s standing as a Catholic.
The New York Times was met with criticism when it published an article this month declaring that Biden was “perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief in half a century.”
The Washington Post similarly published an article disputing Trump’s claims that Biden “hurt God.” “Biden has spent his life drawing from his Catholic faith,” an August headline read. Another from December claimed “Biden could redefine what it means to be a Catholic in good standing.”
But with a series of actions many claim contradicts Catholic doctrine, the first weeks of his administration have raised questions about his approach to his faith.
Abortion and contraception
Perhaps critics’ biggest complaints with Biden surround his embrace of policies favoring abortion.
Within his first two weeks, Biden has repealed the Mexico City Policy, which blocks funding for overseas abortion providers; took a first step towards restoring Title X funding to Planned Parenthood and other domestic abortion providers; and expressed support for codifying the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.
He also intends to repeal the Hyde Amendment which blocks taxpayer funding for most abortions. For years, Biden supported the decades-old, bipartisan policy with the rationale that religious Americans shouldn’t have to pay for procedures they fundamentally oppose. In 2019 he reversed his stance on the policy.
Without Hyde, Biden will effectively be forcing taxpayers to subsidize abortions — prompting pro-lifers to describe his administration as extreme. Biden and Vice President Harris have joined others in claiming abortion is a critical form of “health care,” despite Church leaders denouncing the procedure as harmful to both women and children. For example, the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops similarly warned on Inauguration Day that Biden would “advance moral evils and threaten human life.”
Sex, gender, and sexuality
Last week, a group of bishops argued that one of Biden’s orders advanced “false theories on human sexuality” and “threatens to infringe the rights of people who recognize the truth of sexual difference or who uphold the institution of lifelong marriage between one man and one woman.”
That particular order committed to interpreting sex discrimination as including that which occurred “on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The order, aimed at “preventing and combating discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation,” called on schools across the country to allow those who identify as transgender to participate in the sport of the sex they identify with and use the restrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with.
In 2019, the Vatican released a document — titled “Male and Female He Created Them” — arguing that gender theory “speaks of a gradual process of denaturalisation, that is a move away from nature and towards an absolute option for the decision of the feelings of the human subject.”