Moderator: Both of you are Catholics, yet your beliefs seem to diverge significantly on several important issues. Vice President Biden, how does your Catholic faith harmonize with the policy decisions of this Administration?
Biden: First off let me say that I was Catholic before it was cool! You know what I mean? I was Catholic while Congressman Ryan was still in diapers nursing with his mama.
I’m proud of my Catholic Faith and am proud to say that it informs all my decisions. One of the constant beliefs of my faith is helping the poor. And that’s what Pres. Obama has been doing since the get-go.
When someone loses their job, or gets seriously ill, or disabled, they need a helping hand. Gov. Romney attitude is to let them fall on their faces–smack! Just like that. And that is the exact opposite of what my faith tells me to do when people need help.
Ryan: I, too, am proud of my Catholic Faith. And Gov. Romney and I want to help the poor as well, but we believe that the government is not the only or even the primary agent to do so. Rather, we should encourage private individuals, churches, communities, and non-profits to be involved. These organizations are on the ground and closer to the people in need of help. Additionally, our plan will bolster the economy by encouraging business rather than hindering it. That will lead to more prosperity. The government does have a role in helping those in need, but the Obama Administration has pushed this truth to an absurd extreme.
But, unlike the Vice President here, my Catholic Faith doesn’t end with this narrow aspect of social justice. Social justice includes justice for all human beings, from conception to natural death. That means justice for unborn children, who have the right to life, the right to be born.
This right to life is another unchanging teaching of the Catholic Church. And Vice President Biden flatly rejects it, while still calling himself a Catholic. That makes no–
Biden: Now wait a second! It is also part of Catholic teaching that every person should follow his conscience. And my conscience tells me that every child should be a welcomed child, with a woman who is prepared to be a mother. And if she is not prepared, it is not right to force her to have a baby. That is her decision, her reproductive rights, and Pres. Obama and I respect that.
Look young fella, you’ve got a lot to learn about the full scope of Catholic social teaching. Be silent when your betters are talking, huh?
Ryan: While all your talk sounds laudable, you don’t mention the rights of the baby who was conceived. No person has an absolute right over the life of another.
The fact is that the Obama Administration has shown no respect for the life of the baby, and you, in claiming to be a Catholic while supporting these policies, make a mockery of the Catholic Faith.
If that were the only serious issue, perhaps it would not be so bad. But you also say you are a Catholic while rejecting the Catholic teaching on traditional marriage.
Biden: That is because I am respectful of all people, and that includes LGBT persons. If two people of the same sex love each other, how can we deny them the right to marry, the same right we give to heterosexual couples? That’s discrimination and bigotry, and the Catholic Church condemns bigotry. Again, this is a conscience issue, one that I have thought much about and believe the Catholic Church is wrong on. I hope that, like our great President, the Church will evolve on this issue and realize the truth.
Ryan: So why do you remain Catholic? If I call myself a vegan, I won’t eat meat. But if I call myself a vegan and eat steak dinners every week, other vegans are right to point out that I’m no vegan at all. You call yourself Catholic yet reject Catholic doctrines. I’m sure another church out there would welcome you with open arms.
You say you respect people’s rights, yet the HHS mandate in Obamacare is trying to force Catholics to violate their consciences and pay for services that the Church teaches are immoral. So you are also a Catholic who is happily persecuting the Catholic Church. Can you explain this complete intellectual dissonance?
Biden: Look, Congressman Ryan. You’re a young guy, and have lots of naive ideals. When you’ve lived a bit more life, as I have, you will see that reality is not black and white like you think it is. Bad things happen, and no one solution works for every situation.
Contraception is simply something necessary for the common good. The vast majority of Americans, including Catholics, recognize this. It is only a small subset, which you seem to belong to, that are out on the fringe and want to deny contraception to others.
I am a Catholic; I’ve gone to Catholic churches my whole life, and I have yet to be reprimanded by my priest or bishop for my actions. So while you say I’m a bad Catholic, you are not in authority in the Catholic Church. If I am doing something wrong, those in authority will tell me so. In the meantime, I will continue to stand in solidarity with the poor.
Ryan: The fact is, people can get contraception anytime they want, as they have been able to for decades. It is wrong to force Catholics to pay for others’ contraception. Vice President, with all due respect, your positions are inconsistent and self-contradicting. If you’re going to be a Catholic, be a Catholic. If you’re going to flaunt and reject the Church’s teachings, man up, be honest, and leave the Church. The American people deserve a Vice President who can rationally defend his beliefs.
Moderator: Okay sorry to cut-in but we have to move on now to another topic…