The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“Biden As an ‘Authoritative Type'”: Professor Hadley Arkes in The Catholic Thing

by James Wilson Institute on January 29, 2021
Politics, Religion

In his column for The Catholic Thing, Professor Hadley Arkes comments on the problems that President Biden’s Catholicism is creating for the faithful in America. Because Biden so adamantly supports social causes that directly oppose Catholic teaching, Arkes writes, he brings scandal to the Church and risks misleading its followers. This tension surfaced in the divide among the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who released a statement warning about the implications of the President’s stances on abortion, gender, and contraception. Soon after the statement, multiple high ranking Church officials condemned it as overly critical and poorly timed. This divide in the Catholic Church, and the number of faithful who will be turned away by it, Arkes warns, will only grow if President Biden continues in his course of pushing social changes that are contrary to the position of the Church.

Some excerpts from the piece:

“I offer all of this as a note of sobering warning to some of our friends who have been altogether too beamish in hoping for the true Catholic to come flowering in Joe Biden now that he may have less reason to conceal it. Biden has offered over the years the visible public example of a man in high office who can regard himself as serious Catholic and yet support, as a good thing, a right to kill 860,000 to a million innocent human lives each year in abortions.”

Biden has been nothing if not a weathervane for winds blowing in his party, and that party has become ever more aggressive on the matter of abortion, brooking virtually no limits on that killing, even at the point of birth for babies who survive the abortions. And yet, nothing could be more central in the moral teaching of the Church – no, not climate change or the ravages of air-conditioning – than the concern for the meaning of the ‘human person,’ that being who is both the subject of the law and the prime object of its protection.

Read the full essay here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790