20 April 2023

Knock; Biden; babies.

I do not believe that a priest , bishop, or deacon, should always preach against Abortion. Doing so, risks creating a sense that the homilist has only one message; and lacks balance.

Nor is it always a good thing to speak publicly about this or any other great evil. Doing so, might cause some people to claim or to feel that the homilist is using the pulpit to advantage one particular political interest. "A quiet word" might, indeed, sometimes be most appropriate.

So I was not too disturbed about the welcome given to Mr Biden at the Shrine of our Lady of Knock. Perhaps the Shrine Administrator ... or the Diocesan Bishop ... did take the opportunity gently and pastorally to commend to him the Church's teaching, but did it well away from the ears of the media.

But the Biden/Knock event does still worry me. There was once, I think I remember, a time when some American Politicians approached the question of Abortion by claiming that they were (personally!) opposed to it; but, they suggested, they were approaching the question by grappling with social problems, such as poverty, in order to eliminate the motives which impelled women to seek such a horrific 'remedy'. I was far from easy about this approach; but I do feel that Biden (in any case) has moved on from such formulae  to what sounds to me like an unqualified support of Abortion.

There have been rumours that the entire liturgical programme at Knock was put on hold for the presidential visit. If true, this, apart from any other consideration, disquiets me.

All of this feeds a distinct sense of uneasiness in my mind about the public stance of the Irish Catholic Church regarding Biden's overt complicity in this mass-murder of the unborn.

I am not either American or Irish or both, and am therefore (wide) open to the accusation of putting my foot in and pontificating about matters wherein I have no competence; and which are none of my business anyway. But the Catholic Church claims universality, and this makes grave moral issues a matter of concern to any and every Catholic in every and any land at any and every time.

Can anybody set my anxieties at rest?


Peter Presland said...

A charitable interpretation: perhaps 'the entire liturgical program at Knock' was put on hold precisely to avoid the possibilty a VIP public sinner presenting himself - VERY publicly - for Holy Communion. If so, a cop-out? - maybe; but.... lots and lots of buts

Michael Leahy said...

I can't offer any remedy to set your mind at rest. This Irishman perceives that our bishops hardly exist. I never hear anything from them worth hearing. My suspicion is that they are mostly a newly-evolved type of invertebrate.

PDLeck said...

I do not believe, Father, that you being neither Irish nor American prevents you from commenting on Biden and his clear support for abortion. It is one of the four sins crying out to heaven for vengeance and it is promoted by a man who holds a very public office on the international stage and who claims he is a faithful Catholic. I believe we are all beholden to call out Biden on both his sin and hypocrisy.

Arthur H said...


Thank you for your charitable, courageous observation. The cowardly "distinction" made by certain politicians regarding abortion, etc, fools noone with half a brain or better... And while my people come from County Cavan and Devonshire, it is as you define: as Catholics, we are impelled to make the truth of Christ known in every situation, so our address or pedigree doesn't matter.

I certainly condemn my government's diabolical promotion of abortion, and all the horrific abominations being furiously forced upon us, even as the society nears collapse.

I'll bet he didn't stop to say an Ave at the House of Prayer in Achill...

gsk said...

Disclaimer: I am neither Irish nor American. That said, I have lived in the US most of my life, and have been utterly perplexed by the apostasy of the Irish in constantly feting those wayward sons who have managed to work their way up the greasy pole of worldly success. My only explanation has been that it must be due to the subtle class system that remains in this land of opportunity (obviously far less subtle in past centuries), a system in which the Irish have sought mightily to free themselves from their invisible ghetto. That was the reason behind the creation of Notre Dame University, which sought (at one time) to create a worthy institution to educate Catholics without destroying their faith, but which eventually led them to swoon over the attention of politicians—even those whose faith (or personal ethic) were deeply problematic. John F Kennedy is a case in point, and the direct line from him (promising not to allow his faith to interfere with the business of state) to Joseph Biden (indifferent to the moral component of Catholicism) shows that the price of leaving the “ghetto of faith” runs many risks. There are many fine Catholics in position of authority who retain their moral integrity, but there is something about the Irish which allows them to go wobbly, which may be tied to their pride in the Auld Sod—ever a complicated birthright in the American context.

GOR said...

Unfortunately, Father, there’s no rest from your anxieties, I fear. I’m pretty certain no Irish cleric of any stripe said word one to Biden about his promotion of abortion. The US Bishops are similarly “out to lunch” about it in reference to the many faux Catholic politicians like Kerry and Pelosi, who stridently advance it as ‘reproductive health’.

Even Mother Teresa didn’t baulk at taking the Clintons to task over abortion, while the hierarchy shamelessly shifted their feet. It would have been a different story years ago when John Charles was Dublin’s archbishop.

Dad of Six said...

"Can anybody set my anxieties at rest?"

I cannot. I cannot judge President Biden's soul, but his administration has conducted a full throated attack against anti-abortion people and organizations, some RC and some not. The administration has, until very recently, not prosecuted any attacks on pregnancy resource centers. President Biden has also described actions against non-parental approved 'sex change operations' as "sinful."

I pray for his and Mrs. Biden's conversion daily. Saint Joseph, pray for us!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. American Politicians approached the question of Abortion by claiming that they were (personally!) opposed to it

The first person to do that publicly was a catholic Priest, Father Gustave Weigel S.J. (beginning p. 592, "John Courtney Murray, Time/Life and the American Proposition How the CIA/s Doctrinal Warfare Program Changed the Catholic Church" by David A. Wemhoff.

On October 27,( 1960)Weigel gave a talk at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington DC on a "Theological Consideration of the Relations Between Church and State" which according to John W. Finney, who wrote for the New York Time, was an authoritative exposition of the Catholic Hierarchy's views on the 'religious issue' raised by the candidacy of Senator John F. Kennedy.

Weigel said that the "Roman Catholic Church would not attempt to interfere in the political activities of a Catholic President nor would the President be bound by Catholic morality in deciding issues."

According to Weigel, a politician led aq "double life" because he "worships as he pleases in his private life, but in his public role 'he is a man of law which is framed for practical purposes and canonizes no philosophy or theology."

... " Not only did the American Bishops not contradict Weigel when h contradicted Church teaching, they allowed him to give the talk at the heart of Catholicism in the US - the Shrine of 7th eMost Blessed Sacrament, Washington DC an then allowed the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the secretariat of the Catholic Bishops in the US, to distribute the talk in its entirety.

Americanism ├╝ber alles.

It was only a few years later (1962-1965 BCE) that the Bestest Council Ever convened and enshrined the principle of Religious lLberty which was the Conciliar triumph of John Courtney Murray.

Archimandrite Gregory said...

Excellent position for any right believing Christian to take.

Arthur Gallagher said...

Why is everyone still willing to assume that Biden is Irish? This rankles me to no end.
As the USA continues to degenerate, our current trajectory seems to indicate that we will eventually have our very own Elagabalus. We already have our own Tiberius- sort of.
If opposition gossip is to be believed, Tiberius became a sexual degenerate in his old age, but he was never a spendthrift, or a coward, and began his reign with great promise, before he became a tyrant. He left us much to admire, before he became a thorough creep.

The same cannot be said of Mr. Biden, who has always been a greedy, mean-spirited, corrupt, intellectually lazy fake, possessing no admirable qualities. But he is a degenerate, and so, with apologies to Tiberius Caesar, Mr. Biden is America's Tiberius: a used up shadow of a man, spurred on only by his vices. But without the valor, thrift, or public spirit of the ancient Roman.

If Pete Buttigieg ever makes it into the White House, we can explore the possibilities of his auto-castration, as sign that the Empire is well and truly over. It looks to be closer than most people think.

Unknown said...

My sister's take on the 2019 meeting between the Pope and Biden, in which PF allegedly told Biden he was a good Catholic and should continue receiving communion, was that the Pope recognized that Biden is completely senile and thus lacks moral culpability for his actions. Thus PF was treating Biden as the equivalent of a young child, recognizing that any correction was pointless. Perhaps the Irish bishops have adopted this outlook.

jaykay said...

It seems everything was put on hold from the day before the Advent (on Friday 14th), although they did, apparently, reopen shortly after the Departure. This is from the Shrine's website:

"Knock Shrine grounds and main street will be closed to the public from 1pm on Thursday 13th April. There will be no access or viewing area for the public in order to facilitate this private visit.

There will be no Mass or Confessions available from 1pm on Thursday 13th April and all Knock Shrine offices will remain closed until Saturday 15th April.

Churches at Knock Shrine will reopen to the public from 4.30pm on Friday 14th. Mass will take place at 7.30pm in the Parish Church on Friday evening".

iamlucky13 said...

Father, I can compliment you for expressing your concerns with remarkable delicacy, but as an American, I am unable to ease your anxieties.

Before he was our president, Mr. Biden had taken the tact of saying he personally opposed abortion, but because he disavowed any right to interfere with the lives of others by protecting the lives of still others, he approached the problem by grappling with other problems such as poverty in order to eliminate the motive.

Once he decided to run for president, his position changed from describing abortion as a matter he did not have a right to interfere with to instead declaring it a positive right that he has a duty to defend. He had also previously stated that he believes human life begins at conception, but more recently has stated he disagrees with that belief.

I have long suspected this was less a matter of any personal conviction, and more a matter of believing his political career would advance the furthest if he remained affiliated with the Democratic party, but that the Democratic party would select another candidate for president if he did not adopt a more proactive position in favor of abortion. To be honest, I think his opponent from the Republican side moved in the opposite direction, changing from supporting abortion to opposing it, with similar motives.

Of course, that is only my own speculation, but it certainly seems to me that a Faustian bargain was made.

I do not know the mind of the Irish bishops as they considered President Biden's visit, but if Mr. Biden did not bring up the topic of abortion during the visit, it would be my assumption they felt it prudent to leave the matter to his own bishop. As a result, I do not feel uneasy with the passivity of the Irish bishops in this case, but I do feel uneasy about the passivity of Mr. Biden's own bishop.

Rubricarius said...

Knock Shrine cancelled its usual schedule when Pope Francis visited. A difference was that a number of people were allowed in the Shrine Grounds whilst for President Biden's visit the village was cleared of people by security services.

Within Irish praxis there is a tendency to reduce services at important times so at Knock there are no confessions after Christmas Eve for about a week. Scanning various streamed Masses any Irish bank holiday sees early and late ones, if not all in a particular church, cancelled.

Mark said...

Given that the U. S. Democrat Party generally now supports legal abortion up to birth (No. I am not exaggerating.), you are right to be concerned, even anxious.