Last night, we witnessed to men who are baptized Catholics explain the role in which their faith plays in the personal and public lives. Both showed an understanding of Catholic teaching and professed a belief in its truth. Belief is one thing; putting that belief into practice is another and that is where they greatly differ. Take a look at the following two quotes from last night's debate.
“I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.” -Vice President Joe Biden
“I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith,” Ryan said. “Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, of how to make sure that people have a chance in life." -Congressman Paul Ryan
See a difference here? One choses to seperate his faith from his public life and the other uses it to inform him in his decisions. Jesus commands us to go "make deciples of all nations" and to teach others to "observe all that I have commanded you." (Mt. 28: 20) He makes no distinction as to our public or private endevors. What we profess at Mass should be the same as what we do in our homes, in the workplace, or in public service.
Is it easy? That would be no. But Jesus never said it would be. St. Paul encourages us, actually charges us to proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching, (2 Tim 4:2) even if it costs us friends, family, a job, or even votes. Are you listening Mr. Biden?
The Vice President went on to say: "Life begins at conception in the Church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life." So, he can't claim ignorance to Church teaching and is ok with with other people killing an unborn child. That's the same as saying stealing is wrong according to the Church and I accept that, but it's ok if you commit grand theft. I could give a lot of examples here but you get the point.
On the flip side of this arguement, if the Vice President believes that he shouldn't impose his views on someone else, why does he support the HHS Mandate requiring religious institutions to provide free contraceptives and sterilizations? There are many people who have strong held beliefs that those are morally wrong, however the government is requiring that they pay for them. Congressman Ryan stated how he was troubled by what he feels is the Obama administration’s infringement on “our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals. Our church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties."
Biden contended that “no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.” A fact? Really? The USCCB's reaction to that "fact" can be found here.
There is a difference in how one believes goverment resources should be allocated, the most sound tax plan, or how we should shape the country's foreign policy. But there are certain truths that need to be upheld and are non negotiable.