The Catholicism of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan
The differences about to be exhibited in the Vice Presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan couldn’t be more striking, and no I don’t mean in just the political arena but in the religious realm as well. The Vice President proudly states he was never a “John Paul II guy, I was a John XXIII guy.” He relishes the fact that in class he openly doubted such central teachings of Transubstantiation during his Catholic school days. He tells us that when he went to Rome his mother told him; “don’t kiss the Pope’s ring.” (Boy it is a good thing Mrs. Biden didn’t know my soft spoken mother, otherwise she would have received an uncharacteristic earful. Heaven help her if she met my German grandmother (my mom’s mother) who would have undoubtedly pulled a rolling pin, a frying pan and whatever else she could come after her with to put the fear of God into her.)
Congressman Ryan comes from generation John Paul II and is not afraid to tell us so. Faithful Catholics of Congressman Ryan’s age see the Joe Bidens of the world and roll their eyes. As one young woman once told me, “if they (Joe Bidens of the world) had any decency they would just tell us the truth; the only thing they believe in is their self absorbed, distorted views of their world. They should really leave since they are being disingenuous for staying in something to which they don’t believe.” she said. Well many have and the Joe Bidens of the world would have us believe that it is our fault for not “evolving.” This is a common word in Catholic liberal (and secular) parlance to describe their views on the world from abortion to same sex marriage. In the case of the Joe Bidens of the world, if you can question the tenets of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, the beliefs of the Founding Fathers outlined in their landmark documents are hardly safe from revision.
In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I delve into the rise in vocations, devotions and the fast growing orthodox Catholic college campuses like Franciscan, Ave Maria, Benedictine in Kansas, Wyoming College and St. Thomas Aquinas. Folks like Joe Biden just don’t get it. To them Notre Dame is too conservative for in their view how could the university lose $120,000,000 in alumni contributions and face such opposition among student groups and the Holy Cross Seminarians concerning the controversial visit of and award given to President Barack Obama.
The Paul Ryans of the world remember Father Cool and Sister Sunshine and don’t’ want their kids to have to go through that ordeal, so they relish priests in cassocks and nuns in habit. Recently, I saw this on display with my very own eyes. One of our noted diocesan priests had made fun of the newly ordained priests in their cassocks as “not approachable.” He was a “Vatican II priest,” and a “man of the people.” Well, recently there they both were on a high school football Friday night. The “Vatican II man of the people priest” was hobnobbing with school’s more elite alumni while the young priests in their cassocks were in the student section and along the fence row visiting students, who seemed to enjoy their company.
The religious divide between Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan isn’t so much age as it is outlook. I never forget going to lunch with one of my former colleagues who was a liberal in every respect. While at lunch an old high school classmate stopped him and tried to reminisce about the tranquility of the late 50s and early 60s. My colleague would have none of it. Once the man left my old work colleague practically called him a simpleton. “Now you know why we had to change society and the Church; to save it from the likes of him.” It was very revealing exchange.
In my new book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I examine the growth in orthodoxy and how and why the Church came and still very much comes under attack from the likes of the Joe Bidens of the world. While for the conservative minded these events may be maddening, but one should remember that there are more Paul Ryan’s than Joe Biden’s, even though the Biden’ of the world have the mainstream media and entertainment culture on their side. Check out my statistical analysis of why the Romney-Ryan ticket defeats the Obama-Biden ticket in my home state of Ohio (and probably many other Midwestern swings states as well,) and perhaps you will see what I mean.
Though I could go on and on, the difference between the Joe Bidens of the world,who in the words of President Obama feels the need to fundamentally transform the USA, and the Paul Ryan’s of the world who do not feel such a need, all comes down to a statement given to me by Nikki Shasserre of the Catholic campus group FOCUS. Six years ago she said; “We don’t want to change the Church, we want the Church to change us.”