Vice Presidential Debate: Failure of Two Catholics

I watched the debate and was bored out of my mind. Then at the very end something exciting happened and the moderator asked, since this is the first debate where both people are Catholic, how their Catholic faith informed their stance on abortion.

Summary of what happened:

Ryan failed to articulate what the Catholic Church actually says, and in a political ploy for votes decided his stance wasn’t based off of his faith but instead is based off of science. He also said he doesn’t want to restrict abortion in cases of rape and incest, dissenting from the Catholic Church.

Biden told the most hilarious lie I’ve heard since Nancy Pelosi pretended to be a Catholic, and said that his Catholic faith is the most important thing about who he is. He decided that the Church’s teaching works for him but in no way shape or form should be applied to anyone else. Not only did he dissent but he practically committed heresy.

Someone once said that power corrupts. What our founding fathers failed to recognize was that liberalism also not only corrupts, but destroys.

My fellow Catholics, welcome to the future.


I understand what you are saying, but Ryan is not running on a ticket where he is presidential candidate, he is vice pres, and Romney is running at the top of the ticket and he is to opposed 99% of abortion; that roe v wade should be reversed to allow states to decide, but he believes abortion should be available for rape, incest and mother’s life in danger. Ryan could personably say I am personally opposed to all abortion, but he has to present the ticket where Romney is at the top

I thought that Ryan was correct to separate the question from Catholicism. Tired old Martha’s question about Catholics implied that being against abortion is just some odd Catholic quirk that, of course, no normal person would subscribe to. Paul Ryan is one of the most prolife members of Congress. Biden is truly evil.

It is absolutely disgraceful of you or anyone to equate them. What have you done to oppose abortion as opposed to what a great Catholic man like Paul Ryan has done.

RYAN: I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life.

RYAN: Now, you want to ask basically why I’m pro-life? It’s not simply because of my Catholic faith. That’s a factor, of course. But it’s also because of reason and science.

You know, I think about 10 1/2 years ago, my wife Janna and I went to Mercy Hospital in Janesville where I was born, for our seven week ultrasound for our firstborn child, and we saw that heartbeat. A little baby was in the shape of a bean. And to this day, we have nicknamed our firstborn child Liza, “Bean.” Now I believe that life begins at conception.

That’s why — those are the reasons why I’m pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don’t agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals.

Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties. And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they wanted it to be safe, legal and rare. Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding. Taxpayer funding in Obamacare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid. The vice president himself went to China and said that he sympathized and wouldn’t second guess their one child policy of forced abortions and sterilizations. That to me is pretty extreme.

RADDATZ: Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that. With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.

That is a fact. Now with regard to the way in which the — we differ, my friend says that he — well I guess he accepts Governor Romney’s position now, because in the past he has argued that there was — there’s rape and forcible rape. He’s argued that in the case of rape or incest, it was still — it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend.

RADDATZ: Congressman Ryan.

RYAN: All I’m saying is, if you believe that life begins at conception, that, therefore, doesn’t change the definition of life. That’s a principle. The policy of a Romney administration is to oppose abortion with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

Now, I’ve got to take issue with the Catholic church and religious liberty.

BIDEN: You have on the issue…


RYAN: … why would they keep — why would they keep suing you? It’s a distinction without a difference.

RADDATZ: I want to go back to the abortion question here. If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried?

RYAN: We don’t think that unelected judges should make this decision; that people through their elected representatives in reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process should make this determination.

BIDEN: The court — the next president will get one or two Supreme Court nominees. That’s how close Roe v. Wade is. Just ask yourself, with Robert Bork being the chief adviser on the court for — for Mr. Romney, who do you think he’s likely to appoint? Do you think he’s likely to appoint someone like Scalia or someone else on the court far right that would outlaw (inaudible) — outlaw abortion? I suspect that would happen.

I guarantee you, that will not happen. We picked two people. We pick people who are open-minded. They’ve been good justices. So keep an eye on the Supreme Court…

RYAN: Was there a litmus test on them?

BIDEN: There was no litmus test. We picked people who had an open mind; did not come with an agenda…

Outstanding post.

However, be careful of bringing the founding fathers into this. They lived in a world where “liberalism” had completely different connotations than it has today. Several of them were also markedly anti-Catholic.

That said, you’re absolutely right: Biden is an outright liar, and Ryan failed to stand on principle.

Strangely, this VP debate reminds me of something that Christopher Ferrara from The Remant once wrote:

The American Jesus serves with perfect obedience the “vision of the Founders,” whose memories we must revere because they so generously accorded Catholics the right to exist in their newfangled republic, provided we keep our papist superstitions to ourselves and promise never to act as Catholics if elected to public office. As Jefferson and Madison (following Locke) expressly recognized, the multiplication of religious sects—that is, the abandonment of Catholicism—is a primary safeguard of Liberty. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson observes that the “several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other,” preventing any one sect from installing the “Procrustean bed” of “uniformity” via government. Likewise, in Federalist No. 51, written to persuade the holdout states to ratify the Constitution, Madison declares: “In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects…” The more sects the better! For the essence of Liberty is religious division, without which the monism of state power is threatened by the spiritual power. (All of this and much more is explored in my book Liberty: the God that Failed, a tour of the “moderate” Enlightenment and the wild and wacky early history of the American Republic, culminating in that uniquely Protestant bloodbath known as the Civil War.)

That American politics is a diabolical joke is demonstrated by the unwillingness of any of Romney’s opponents even to intimate that Romney, who claims to be a Christian, belongs to a non-Christian cult dreamed up by [a man] who went down in a hail of bullets while firing his own six-shooter at enemy Mormons. Sad to say, even Ron Paul rushed to Romney’s defense after Robert Jeffress, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, told Fox News the plain truth that Romney is a cult member. (Give the hardcore Baptists credit for candor at least.) website reports that “Speaking to Fox News, Paul argued that Jeffress’ remark was ‘unnecessary.’… Paul also suggested that whether Mormonism is a ‘cult’ or not isn’t the issue that voters care about in the GOP race. ‘I think liberty is the issue of the day. Our Constitution is the issue of the day. And too much government – that is the issue of the day. It’s not the definition of a cult.’”

Yes, yes, of course. We must never forget that in every American election Liberty is the issue. Including the liberty to invent cult religions out of thin air and then demand that everyone accept them as perfectly legitimate expressions of, well, Liberty. Why quibble over such matters of opinion as what religion God has actually revealed or man’s eternal destiny? The one thing on which Americans must all agree, however, is absolute reverence for the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, the sacred scriptures of the American civil religion. As John Quincy Adams declared some forty years after Saint George Washington’s ascent into heaven in a flight of angels (cf. “The Apotheosis of Washington” mural in the Capitol Building): “Fellow-citizens, the ark of your covenant is the Declaration of Independence… and your Mount Gerizim [the mountain of blessings] is the Constitution of the United States… cling to them as to the issues of life—adhere to them as to the cords of your eternal salvation.”

Amen to that! The election of 2012 raises the curtain on the last act of the diabolical farce whose title was cited by Romney himself: “The Greatest Nation in the History of the Earth.” It is only human to indulge in morbid curiosity about what the Adversary has in store for the final madcap scene. In the meantime, we must let Caesar be Caesar and look after the salvation of our souls and those of our loved ones. Christ save us.

A very odd opinion, I must say.

I think the bigger issue is getting Romney/Ryan in the white house first. Then if they make it in the Church can work about lobbying for common sense and morality. We have a better chance at making progress with republicans in office than with obama and his liberal militants.

What I found interesting is that whenever Paul Ryan refered to the situations of rape, incest, and health of the mother was that he would say the Romney Ryan ticket feels this way, not speaking as himself but as a ticket. Also when Biden mentioned how he had changed his stance to add the exceptions of incest, rape, etc, that was just more proof to me that Ryan believes abortion is wrong all the time because he had said it whenever Biden was referring to, but he didn’t want to undermine Romney. Just my own personal interpretation.

Hmm… I wonder how that would play out in the Judgement Seat of God.

Actually, I know roughly how it would play out… because God reads out our sins, and we can offer no excuse for them.

God would tell Mitt Romney that he failed to oppose abortion in 1% of all cases. And Mitt Romney would confess his guilt and beg forgiveness.

Then God would judge him.

IE: Why should I have to listen to excuses on Earth, if my Lord does not listen to them? If my Heavenly Father does not suffer excuses to be made in His presence… and I am called to be evermore conformed in the image of God… then why should I listen to excuses?

There is no excuse for sin. And if God won’t hear them, then why do I have to hear them from other Catholics on a Catholic forum? If we are called to be conformed into the image of God… and God does not hear excuses, than why do we make them?

Let’s stop making excuses for sin friends. No matter who it is. Opposing abortion in 99% of all cases is 1% too few. That is a sin. There is no excuse for that. May God have mercy on his soul…

I mean, I hope Romney/ Ryan win, I do. I just hope that Catholics won’t choose to stoop to making excuses for sin because of their politics. Sure, vote for Romney, but don’t excuse his sin. Voting for him may be in accordance with our faith… but making an excuse for his sin is not.

I think Ryan’s answer was a bit weak - I would have preferred that he outright say “I oppose abortion in all cases, but this will be a Romney presidency and I believe that Romney’s position is a step in the right direction”. Which I think he has said in the past.

But I do not think it was a mistake to say that his anti abortion stance is primarily based on reason, since the Churches stance on the matter is based on reason. Much of morality can be deduced based on reason alone, and the fact that abortion is wrong is part of that. The Church does not disagree. Abortion is clearly murder and hence should be illegal, and this falls under “thou shall not kill,” but “thou shall not kill” is something that we can figure out from natural reason alone.

Which is not to say that Church teaching is not important, and if it would have been possible I think he could have phrased things in such a way that did not make it sound like the “reason and science” argument against abortion and the “Catholic teaching” argument are completely separate, since they’re not. But given that not an awful lot of people would delve into a statement along the lines of “Abortion can be known to be wrong from reason alone, and both the wrongness of Abortion and the fact that it can be known from reason alone can also be known through our faith,” and that many people seem to think that abortion is a fine thing that some crazy religious people oppose for stupid religious reasons, as well as that many, many people deeply misunderstand “separation between Church and State” to mean “don’t let religion motivate political decisions”, I think it was at least reasonable to emphasize the reason alone approach in his answer.

Biden told the most hilarious lie I’ve heard since Nancy Pelosi pretended to be a Catholic, and said that his Catholic faith is the most important thing about who he is. He decided that the Church’s teaching works for him but in no way shape or form should be applied to anyone else. Not only did he dissent but he practically committed heresy.

Yes, Biden fails to understand what it means to actually believe something. If you believe that a(n innocent) person is a person, then you have a duty to protect that person’s life, and to hell with whatever anyone else thinks about his person-hood. To say that “I believe that unborn children are people with a right to life, but don’t want to force this belief on others” is to say that they don’t really have a right to life. By necessity, claiming that anyone has a right to anything is forcing that belief on others - it’s not a right if it only must be protected unless some people really, really don’t want to or don’t think it’s really a right.

This sort of argument would be laughed at (or perhaps stared at in appalled shock) if tried with any other group of people whose personhood has been denied. “I personally believe that black people are people and shouldn’t be enslaved, but don’t want to force this belief on others, so don’t feel that I can support making slavery illegal,” “I personally believe that the Rwandan genocide involves the killing of actual people and so is wrong, but that’s just my personal belief and I wouldn’t want to force it on the murderers,” “What right do I have to tell the white supremacist that the [insert race here] is just as much a person as a white guy is, and so that white people shouldn’t torture them to death? It’s just my personal belief, and I wouldn’t want to force it on others.”

It’s a fundamental failure of leadership within Catholicism.

What Ryan said was what the Texas law overturned by the Supreme Court in 1973 said. And the Texas statute was the toughest in the whole country. What held down abortions before Roe v. Wade was less the law than the social consensus against abortion, either on moral or practical grounds. Ryan’s proposal is what this country is willing to accept. What Biden supports, on the other hand, is
abortion on demand , paid for with taxpayers money. Under Obamacare, nothing stands in this way of requiring Catholic institutions to provide abortions except the executive order issued by the President in 2010 in place of the Hyde Amendment language originally demanded by several Catholic politicians as the condition for their support. Once re-elected, Obama is almost certain to lift that order, reversing himself as he has in the case of gay marriage.

That is basically what I got out of it as well. As the VP candidate he is trying not to undermine Romney. Should he have clarified his personal belief compared to Romney? Sure. But he did seem to be very particular with his word choice never saying he personally approves abortion in those situations.
Not perfect, but compared to Biden, it is clear whose beliefs about abortion is formed from their Catholic faith. IMHO

“the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

He is speaking on behalf of Romney here. Romney is not a Catholic.

If you could end 99% of all abortions in this country would you do it? Of course you would. They are not the same. The choice is obvious.

I like to think of it this way: Both Biden and Ryan are merely men free to choose to practice whatever faith they wish in the U.S., in whatever manner they choose. It is not up for me to judge. I have my own problems. But they are men who have chosen a career path whereby they are ideally supposed to be a representative of the people. And not everyone in the U.S. is Catholic. As a lawyer, I do appreciate men of politics adhering to the law as written/decided in court of law/as indicated in the Constition. As a Catholic, I was just happy that they openly labeled themselves practicing Catholics. As a liberal, I give Biden even more kudos for it. I hate to say it, but many liberals don’t find it very hip at all times to even believe in God. And I think it a great question for the moderator!!! It will no doubt bring up much debate in the coming days!

Ok, I know most of you will ignore me, no matter what I say, BUT, I will say my part.
True, I was a bit disappointed to hear Ryan mention abortion for women pregnant from rape, incest, or life of the mother, but you can be sure those reasons for abortion are not used a much as we think, except for life of the mother. (any woman can say her life is at risk carrying a child to term, that is,
her psychological life) Just to let you know, I believe all abortions are murder of the child, regardless of the mothers’ right to choose, or reason to abort.
Now, if we have good Justices, Supremes that is, even these three possible reasons for abortion can become difficult to prove & validly claim.
Please note that Roe vs Wade was not decided in a court of law, according to legal defense. It was decided by very liberal Supreme Court Justices against the Constitution. Actually, abortion laws are and always have been against the Constitution. (Since 1972, anyhow) The right to abort isn’t really legal, and with the right Supremes on the bench (the next president will probably elect at least two Justices) who can revisit the current right to abort, things could easily change! As a nurse, I believe that pregnancy after incest and rape are not as easy to prove as some people might think. I actually believe that pregnancy doesn’t occur very often after rape or incest, and these extenuating circumstances might come up less and less frequently.
Priests for Life encourages us to work one case at a time because it is really the only way to succeed. Sometimes they can shut down abortion mills and make the abortions harder to obtain. However with prayer & actions I believe we can cut down drastically on the number of abortions over all, then work on the last three reasons women use. Don’t try to do it all at once, that won’t work.
I know that some of you remember the fifties, and especially in the sixties that there were hundreds of deaths after “back alley” abortions. We can only pray and use crisis abortion tactics to help women understand that the answer to aborting a pregnancy is to let the infant out for adoption. When this is accomplished, we will see the infants produced by rape or incest will surely be less likely to be aborted. At that time we can begin to rejoice. But we must first realize that some presidential and vice-presidential candidates
may sound as if they approve all abortions in order to get elected so they might first help in some way to reduce the overall number of abortions. We will also need to get other Christians on the side of the pro-lifers, as we all know there are Protestants and even some Jews who have no qualms about abortions, just as they have no problems with most birth-control devices.
I just believe we ought not to get too worked up about what one or two politicians say when put on the spot, as they were tonight. I rejoice that at least Paul Ryan says he would like to see abortions kept to only the three reasons he listed. It is so much better than hearing the democrats spouting
lies that all women need access to safe abortions whenever they want one.
God save us all. I wish you all could have seen the special on EWTN that we saw last Saturday (I think) about midnight or one A,M. Even I cried when the women who had abortions said how their lives were affected by their having abortions years ago, and how certainly 50% of the babies they’ve aborted would have been females, thus taking choice from them, too. They also spoke of how early planned parenthood came about by wealthy men and women working to reduce births of the poor Irish, blacks, any women not in a family they would approve of. The planned parenthood people in the beginning were actually racists and those who would rather get rid of the poor, instead of helping them.
Anyway, don’t get too upset about Paul Ryan, he was not speaking for himself, but for a possible Romney presidency, and we know that words spoken at times like this may not reveal the true feelings of certain people.

:thumbsup: :clapping::tiphat:

When my first was born, I was a “fallen away” Catholic and very ashamed that I ever thought abortion was OK. It was the seeing-is-believing or the science that hit me up-side the head (later realizing that it was God). I would not have listened to a Catholic catechetical instruction on life at that time nor would I expect many voters want to listen to that as well. I think it was an orchestrated question intended to set-up Ryan as a “Catholic Pro-Life Zealot” that wants to impose his Church’s beliefs on everyone. I say it was the Pro-Obama debate moderation that failed and not Ryan.

You got two choices. Not to vote. A write in vote is not voting. Vote for the lesser of two evils. I choose voting for the lesser of two evils. God bless:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

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