The Catholic Bishops vs. Joe Biden

The Catholic Church is officially against abortion. But there are millions of Catholics around the world–including President Joe Biden–who are pro-choice politically. Only the 2nd Catholic president in our history, one would think that the Church, especially the Conference of Bishops, would be ecstatic to have Biden in the White House. But in a vote that portends an escalating culture war, recently the American Bishops took a vote that many saw as the first step in denying Biden and other pro-choice Catholics communion. Many see this as a fool’s errand that could end up alienating even more young people, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community than before. A group of pro-choice Catholic members of congress has already signed a letter warning against the escalation of this issue within the American Church.

The question is why this move and why now? Why attack the first Catholic President since JFK? Why alienate so many American Catholics who hold complex political and social identities while remaining faithful to the Church?

In order to figure out why the US Conference of Bishops decided to make this move now and what it means for the Biden administration and American politics going forward, Brad spoke with Dr. Annie Selak, Associate Director of the Women’s Center at Georgetown University. Dr. Selak is an ecclesiologist by training whose work focuses on power relations within the Catholic Church. Her work has appeared at the Washington Post, America Magazine, Commonweal, and in several edited volumes.

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