You can be a bad Catholic and a good Democrat. You can be a good Catholic and a bad Democrat. What you cannot be is a good Catholic and a good Democrat.
A bad Catholic is someone who accepts the abortion of an innocent child at any stage of the life cycle, but especially in the later months shortly before birth. This type of bad Catholic, however, would be considered a good Democrat since the Democrats view abortion at all stages as nothing short of a sacrament.
Concomitantly, a good Catholic opposing abortion for any reason at any stage would also be a bad Democrat for the reasons just mentioned.
So, a good Catholic, who opposes all abortion, cannot also be a good Democrat who accepts all abortions.
A good Catholic possibly could get around all this mess by simply saying I oppose all abortions; they should be illegal. Still, the Republicans are going about it all wrong, so I am throwing my lot in with the Democrats. This is a bit of a stretch since the Democrats are not trying to make any abortions illegal in any way. Making this argument, therefore, is a rather hard sell. It is also delusional.
A good Catholic may turn from the Republicans for what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI, called “proportionate” reasons—that is, for an issue that rises to the level of 1.2 million dead babies a year. This cannot be something like the minimum wage, or a certain number of refugees, or even climate change, however. For these do not rise to the level of 1.2 million abortions a year. In fact, it is nearly impossible to figure out what such a proportionate reason might be.
Even though many are trying to make this calculation, it is practically impossible to be both a good Catholic and a good Democrat.
All of these distinctions are pertinent to supporters and voters who may be Catholic and tempted to vote for Joe Biden. And the reason these distinctions resonate has to do with an ongoing debate about what constitutes a Catholic. Laymen, priests, and at least a few bishops have weighed in on whether one may be a Catholic in good standing and support the Party of Death, as writer Ramesh Ponnuru called the Democrats in a book of that name some years ago. So, this is a hot topic.
What qualifies as true Catholicism is not just a charge made by Republicans against Democrats. Catholics and other Christian Republicans are often charged with being fake Christians for supporting Donald Trump, although the arguments are extraordinarily weak. “Kids in cages.” “Racism.” “Third wife.” And so on.
Recall also that the Obama Administration made official definitions of what constitutes Catholicism in the application of Obamacare and who might be exempt. The Little Sisters of the Poor, for instance, were considered by Obama as not Catholic because they care for poor Protestants, Jews, and even atheists. Obama said you could be a Catholic organization only if you discriminated against other faiths and cared only for those of your own faith. So if your Catholic school accepts Evangelicals or Jews, your Catholic school is no longer considered Catholic.
Of course, there is a vast difference between private citizens making these personal distinctions and the federal government making them for official policy purposes.
But there is a final category not for voters or supporters but for candidates and policymakers who support and defend the right to kill the unborn with impunity. And here it gets somewhat sticky.
Joe Biden is Catholic. He will be a Catholic until he meets Jesus in the sweet by and by. But he is such a bad Catholic on the question of abortion that he likely lives in a constant state of mortal sin.
Worse than that, he has likely excommunicated himself under a concept called excommunication latae sententiae, an automatic excommunication for actions one has taken. Biden is still Catholic, certainly, but he may no longer avail himself of the sacraments, like the Eucharist. He has placed himself outside the Church. And in fact, every time he takes communion in this state, he commits yet another mortal sin and, in the language of the Bible, eats and drinks his own death.
All of this is hypothetical—though based on the evidence—because we Catholics are not allowed to judge the state of anyone’s immortal soul. This last paragraph comes with an enormous “if.” If all of this is true, then Joe Biden might be in a lot of trouble, particularly if, God forbid, he drops dead today.
But this also comes as a warning to good Catholics who may want to support him and the party of abortion. It comes with an enormous risk not only for the unborn but for your immortal soul.