Biden is a “cafeteria Catholic,” a cardinal says reproachfully

A prominent leader in the global Roman Catholic Church has become the latest to call Biden a “cafeteria Catholic” as he urges church leaders in the United States to fully embrace Catholic teaching.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, who previously served as the Prefect of the Church for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, gave a lecture titled “The Catholic Church's Continuing Response to the Practical Atheism of Our Age” at Catholic University of America in Washington last week. During his remarks, Sarah echoed the analysis of Cardinal Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington describing President Joe Biden as a “self-identified Catholic president” who amounts to a “cafeteria Catholic.”

Sarah, a Guinean prelate who has emerged as one of the more outspoken conservative voices within the Church leadership, suggested that the phenomenon of “Catholic cafeterias” extends beyond the president and also applies to many other “Catholic public officials.” According to Sarah, “Many of your Catholic hospitals and universities are Catholic in name only.”

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While Sarah did not explain what he meant by the term “Catholic cafe,” Gregory defined the phrase as valid for anyone who “picks and chooses dimensions of the faith to highlight while ignoring or even contradicting other parts.” Gregory claimed that “Catholic cafeterias” often “choose what is attractive, and discard what is challenging.”

Biden's characterization of Gregory as a “cafeteria Catholic,” which he made in an appearance on CBS' “Face the Nation” on Easter Sunday, comes as the president has faced criticism for vocally supporting legal abortion throughout his career despite its clear contradiction with the church. teaching

Although Gregorio expressed concern that Biden is “putting aside some of the hot-button issues, or using the hot-button issues as a political tool” and stated that such actions “are not the way, I think, we would want our faith to be. used,” he did not explicitly mention the president's position on abortion during his appearance on the program.

Almost three months after Gregory used the term “cafeteria Catholic” to describe one of the best-known Catholics of his city, Sarah's speech focused on the consequences of efforts to reconcile church teaching with contemporary culture. His address was sponsored by the Catholic Information Center, a Catholic bookstore in Washington that often hosts speakers and events for the local Catholic community, and the Napa Institute that describes its mission as “promoting the re-evangelization of the United States.”

After lamenting “the loss of devout Christian living, our evident Christian culture and, in the form of public dissent, sometimes even of high-ranking officials or prominent institutions,” Sarah called on bishops in the United States to “raise their voices and become clear. [teachers] of the faith, testifying by both word and sanctity of life.”

“There is too much confusion around the Church. And it is up to us, bishops, to provide clarity so that the lay faithful can themselves be witnesses to the truth,” he affirmed. He suggested that bishops have a duty “to be a sign of contradiction to the contemporary world.”

Sarah cited the example of bishops in Africa offering “historical witness to the faith after that misguided document Fiducia Supplicans” pushing back against the declaration as an example of church leaders successfully fulfilling that commitment.

Published at the end of last year by the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Fiducia Supplicans” authorized bishops to allow priests to bless same-sex couples underlining that “one must neither provide nor promote a ritual for the blessings of couples at the same time. irregular situation.”

The Vatican insisted that the document will allow the blessing of “couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the long-standing teaching of the Church on marriage”, namely that it is a lifelong union exclusively between one man. and one woman. Disapproval of “Fiducia Supplicans” within the Roman Catholic Church extended beyond African bishops as more than 90 Catholic clergy, scholars and lay people called on the Vatican to withdraw the declaration.


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