Quid Pro Joe is One Lucky Duck

“We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.” —G.K. Chesterton

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013.
Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (photo: David Lienemann, via Wikimedia Commons)

A good friend told me a very funny story about his experience with the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

After not seeing him after many months, we met and caught up. I immediately noticed something different about his behavior — or should I rather say, his routine — and questioned him about it.

He suddenly lost his normally congenial aspect and switched to “serious mode.”

“It was something that a priest told me in confession,” he explained.

“Do tell! Do tell!” I promoted, never one to pass on some good intel with which I can bug my friend for the rest of his life. I’m merciless when it comes to friends and foes alike. It’s a guy thing and difficult to explain.

After telling his confessor for the umpteenth time why he was sorry for his particular predilections, his confessor took on a grave aspect and responded, “You’ve come to me with this situation before. It’s time you make a decision.”

My friend told me that he felt a cold sweat break out on his face becoming both flush and ashen as the fear of God settled upon his soul and it was at that very moment when he irrevocably decided for God and godliness and eschewed Satan and his demonic ways. A true conversion story as a result of the sacraments! I’m not trying to make light of my friend’s situation. Instead, I am truly moved that God and his mouthpiece the Church through the ministry of the sacraments brought this remarkable sinner―my best friend―back to Him.

Former vice president Joe Biden, the only Catholic vice president in U.S. history―and champion of all things evil―was recently called to the carpet―or perhaps I should say, the altar rail―and given his very own quid pro quo (Latin: “this for that”)―demanding a favor or advantage granted in return for something.

Biden was recently denied Holy Communion at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in South Carolina over his support for all-out abortion rights.

Previously, Biden openly decried abortion but insisted that he had no right to force his morality on others.

Getting back to Biden, this is a quid-pro-quo situation―stop advocating for abortion and others forms of moral insanity and then you can join us in communion―communing with each other and with God―in the Most Holy Sacrament. Biden shouldn’t have any difficulty understanding what a quid pro quo is considering his ultimatum to former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko to fire the then-prosecutor Kostiantyn H. Kulyk who had compiled a seven-page dossier that accused Biden’s son of corruption in his association with Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian gas company.

Father Robert Morey, the pastor of St. Anthony Catholic Church in Florence, South Carolina, told the Florence Morning News that he had denied Biden Communion because “any public figure who advocates for abortion places himself or herself outside [italics added] of Church teaching.”

“Holy Communion signifies we are one with God, each other and the Church. Our actions should reflect that,” Morey said in an email to the newspaper.

This isn’t the first time a public figure had painted himself into an amoral corner.

In 1984, New York Cardinal John O’Connor considered excommunicating New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the latter’s insistence that abortion rights didn’t contradict Catholic teaching.

In 1989, Bishop Leo Thomas Maher of San Diego refused to give Communion to State Senator Lucy Killea.

In January 2003, Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento publicly admonished California Governor Gray Davis to stop receiving Communion.

In 2004, Cardinal Raymond Burke, the former St. Louis archbishop, said he would not give Communion to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

In 2008, Bishop Joseph Francis Martino of Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Biden would be denied Communion in the Scranton diocese over his support for abortion rights.

In 2016, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, then the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, faced criticism from individual priests over his positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and gender equality.

In February 2007, Bishop Thomas Tobin asked Representative Patrick Kennedy not to take Communion because of his position on abortion.

In 2007, Cardinal Burke said that he would deny Communion to 2008 Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani because of his views on abortion, and that Giuliani should not seek the sacrament.

In May 2008, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann said that Kathleen Sebelius should stop receiving Communion because of her support for abortion rights.

After Joe Biden was nominated as a vice presidential candidate in the 2008 presidential election, Bishop Joseph Francis Martino of Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, said Biden was forbidden to accept Communion in that diocese because of his support for abortion.

A few days ago, Bishop David Walkowiak of Grand Rapids, Michigan expressed his support for Father Scott Nolan, the pastor at St. Stephen's Catholic Church, who refused Holy Communion to a same-sex “married” lesbian judge.

In his statement, Bishop Walkowiak wrote:

Those who approach the Body and Blood of Christ may not wound that same Body by creating scandalous distinctions and divisions among its members. ... No community of faith can sustain the public contradiction of its beliefs by its own members.

The first clue to knowing if someone’s opinion about the Catholic Church is wrong is when he, with a straight face, prefaces that opinion with the following words: “The Church must change to my liking! Remake this Church in my image!”

I wish priests would deny me Communion every now and again just to keep me on the straight and narrow. I say that without even a hint of sarcasm. I’m a sinner but, by the awful grace of God, I am not a public sinner. (Frankly, I’m just not organized enough to be a public sinner. I’ve got my hands full with just my regular private sinning.)

And if I were, the Church would best teach me by denying me the one thing that is truly holy and worthwhile in this life. It’s better to enter heaven with one eye than to be cast into Gehenna with two. (Mark 9:47)

Biden and Smolenski should take this opportunity to not further their own ends but to further Christ’s. If not, what use is there to being called “Catholic?” They are both very fortunate indeed.

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