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Joe Biden, pre-conciliar Catholic?

Aspects of Mr. Biden’s Catholic self-presentation put me in mind of some of the folkways of pre-Vatican II tribal Catholicism.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is seen in Phoenix Oct. 9, 2020. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters)

The image of the pre-conciliar Catholic Church in the United States as catechetically effective and politically potent can be hard to square with the long-term damage done to Catholicism’s role in American public life by that very pre-Vatican II Catholic, John F. Kennedy.

Some biographers suggest that JFK became more religiously serious after his infant son Patrick’s death in 1963. I certainly hope that was the case. For most of his life, however, Catholicism for John Fitzgerald Kennedy seems to have been less a matter of deep personal conversion than an ethnic marker – sometimes useful, sometimes troublesome, but always irradicable. Kennedy regularly performed what were then known as his “religious duties.” But their impact on his manner of life appears to have been minimal, and he had no grasp of Catholic political theory.

Speaking on Church-and-state to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association during the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy did American Catholicism a service by masterfully arraigning those who continued to indulge in that venerable American pastime, anti-Catholic bigotry: prejudices rooted in an ignorance that was amply displayed by the Protestant ministers who challenged JFK during the Houston meeting’s Q&A session. But Kennedy put the bigots in the dock by getting as much distance as possible between himself and serious Catholic thinking on school choice and religious conviction’s role in the public square, while seeming to acknowledge the possibility of a pope trying to boss around a Catholic president – which was about as likely in 1960 as the Vatican launching a manned mission to the moon.

(The “Catholic issue” of that election cycle did produce one great line. Before the 1960 primaries, Harry Truman didn’t evince much confidence in Jack Kennedy, whom he dismissed as “the boy.” But Truman, who occasionally showed residues of anti-Catholic sentiment, also admitted that “It’s not the Pope I’m afraid of, it’s the pop” – meaning Joseph P. Kennedy, whose enthusiasm for Joe McCarthy, coupled with his dismal record as the appeasement-minded U.S. ambassador the Great Britain during the early days of World War II, stuck in Truman’s craw.)

John F. Kennedy, it is typically said, made Catholics “acceptable” as players at the highest levels of American politics. And, yes, his intelligence, wit, and grace confounded the image of U.S. Catholics as something less than the A-team, socially and culturally. But the price of acceptability was high. For the Houston speech and Kennedy’s electoral success set the stage for several generations of Catholic politicians to treat Catholic teaching on the life issues as sectarian oddities rather than as what they are: convictions based on rational grounds accessible to all. That ongoing misrepresentation, which also involves a surrender to the very un-Catholic idea of freedom as mere willfulness, now touches other matters, including the legal definition of marriage and the agenda being pressed, against all scientific evidence, by the “Trans” movement.

I’ve thought of the Kennedy Effect a lot since Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in early spring. Mr. Biden’s testimony to the power of his Catholic faith in helping him bear personal tragedy is, I believe, heartfelt; one can’t imagine cool, rational JFK speaking in those terms about how he dealt with sorrow. Is Joe Biden’s Catholicism really that much different than JFK’s, though?

Aspects of Mr. Biden’s Catholic self-presentation put me in mind of some of the folkways of pre-Vatican II tribal Catholicism. He sometimes treats the rosary as a charm or talisman – famously wrapped around his fingers in the White House Situation Room while the SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani compound (which Biden opposed) was underway. “The nuns” Biden cites are campaign props, not unlike the religious sisters in JFK’s joshing answer to a reporter’s question about inflated numbers at his 1960 rallies: “Plucky [press secretary Pierre Salinger] counts the nuns and then multiplies them by 100.” Jack Kennedy dealt with Cardinals Cushing and Spellman as power-brokers; Joe Biden seems to regard high-ranking clergy the same way, not as men with whom he might seriously discuss the moral dimension of public policy – perhaps even to the point of being challenged by them.

As for Vatican II, well: Mr. Biden’s positions on contraception, abortion, and the nature of marriage reflect a sad ignorance of, or indifference to, the Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.

Joe Biden is no Traditional Latin Mass guy, to be sure. In other respects – not least his repeated threat to shove his rosary beads down critics’ throats – his Catholicism is reminiscent of The Last Hurrah: which is to say, something quite pre-Vatican II.


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About George Weigel 307 Articles
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington's Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies. He is the author of over twenty books, including Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999), The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II—The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy (2010), and The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. His most recent book is The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission (2020), published by Ignatius Press.

47 Comments

  1. Mr. Weiegel’s use of the “Vatican 2” theme makes it seem like he considers it a “Super-Dogma,” a way of thinking of V2 which Pope Benedict rightly criticized.

    Biden has publicly self-identified as a “Pope John-23rd-kind-of-guy,” an obvious contradiction of Mr. Weigel’s narrative.

    Mr. Weigel’s view also implies that Catholics who lived before V2 are just some sort of “tribal” (meaning among other things stupid I suppose) who were hopelessly counterfeit.

    Does Mr. Weigel want his readers to conclude that the Catholic Church in the US is flourishing, and this is all due to the Second Vatican Council?

    I marvel that Mr. Weigel seems to be arguing that before Vatican 2, Catholics were all superficial, and now, apparently by virtue of Vatican 2, they are all profound disciples of Christ.

    I would submit this in evidence against Mr. Weigel’s narrative:

    “Biden = Being-a-Vatican-2-Catholic.”

  2. Catholic political theory, was exterminated in the USA, when President Kennedy was murdered. That is proven by those that were not Catholic, who opposed Kennedy, came to be leaders of the United States Catholic Church themselves.
    More so proven, in Catholic Political “theory” recognizes the single reason one can go to war, or wage war, is to stop, end genocide… Yet today, the USA wages, inflicts genocide on Yemen, the extermination of millions of humans, by starvation. Totally defiant to Catholic Political theory, yet not a single protest or recognition from US Catholic leaders today.. We can go on to Millions sent to Corrupt, Murderous leaders today, by “deemed” Catholic “leaders”.

    The Church is unchangeable, the people have fallen, not the church.

    Most all the US government does today is defiant to the Catholic faith, unbridled captialism, unjust war, bigotry toward the Islamic, walls, human slavery issues in the USA, ect.

    • Lyle –

      Complaining about bigotry toward Islam is ridiculously over-wrought.

      Islam’s Koran is an engine of violence. Non-violent Muslim people are disobeying the Koran. Sharia is a framework for Islam’s culture of abusing Muslim women and non-Islamic people.

      The problem at hand is Islamo-philia, the irrational affinity for the abusive Islamic ideology.

    • Your last sentence is wildly inaccurate, if not incoherent. We have nothing close to “unbridled capitalism” in the U.S. Not only are antitrust laws generally quite effective, but 60% of Americans own stock directly or through retirement plans. Moreover, there is enormous government interference in economic transactions at every level. The phrase “bigotry toward the Islamic” is sufficiently vague that it means nothing at all. A wall? I suppose you are referring to a border wall, which is an excellent idea – unless you favor drug and sex trafficking – and not at all “un-Catholic.” (Bergoglio has his own rather impressive wall.) Human slavery issues? Well, there are certainly criminal activities such as sex trafficking in the U.S., but it is prosecuted when discovered. You should really turn your attention to the Islamic world, where slavery is practiced openly, as it has been without interruption since the days of Mohamed.

      • It would be ethically wrong for a True Catholic Family person, Married, with Children to enter politics in the USA, and to stand against the evil that now rules the nation. For Kennedy opposed the Vietnam war, stood against the corruption of the US over throw of Iran, Iraq, Guatemala resulting in his being Martyred.
        The Catholic Mind, to forgive others, forgive others always, to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and to aid all, and to never be of a mind of bigotry, hate towards others, is dead in the USA. The Catholic mind is gone, the Church will go on, unchangeable, but the sheep are scattered. No one can claim a Catholic mind, and extend bigotry to our Brothers and Sisters the Islamic. A people who have suffered greatly due to Unbridled Capitalism across the Middle East, for Oil. AS Unbridled Capitalism across the Americas.

        • Snort. If you’re holding up John F. Kennedy as some sort of paragon of Catholicism, you’re ignoring the facts. I recall reading that someone suggested to one of his relatives that a book about JFK’s faith be written, and the relative said, “It would be an awfully thin book.”

          • Leslie, you cannot name a single person in the USA that stands for the True Catholic Faith Today. Not one, can you name, because their, is none.
            You more so, prove Kennedy was the last one, and he was Martyred for doing so, in his stand against the corruption of the US over throw of Syria, Iran, and Guatemala, pre his time.
            When we see the Council of Bishops in Washington DC themselves, we can write them off… They are only interested in their own, self elevation, by oh please mr government save us…

          • You are loopy if you think JFK was “the last Catholic,” and that he was martyred for the Faith.

            I’m not sure where you think you got the authority to decide that there is nobody in the entire United States who is a “True Catholic.” And your spiteful hatred of the US is duly noted.

          • Twist it Leslie, but name somebody as Kennedy today that stands against the United States Industrial Arms complex? Who in the US Catholic or anyplace, in leadership or government, is standing against the US genocide of Yemen?
            Name a political or religious leader, standing against Unbridled Capitalism, that is on the path to creating a major issue to Hunger as a crisis in the USA, as it already is in the World and USA…
            For if you find somebody, you would be recognizing somebody who cares in sincerity about, the People, the children, the future generations to come.
            Your twist is your reality, but do we care about the people, or our own self gain, is a very good question we must all ask? For Unbridled capitalism is unsustainable in all of history.
            How did you come to Judge Kennedy, if your Catholic God will judge him?
            and, God Hates Hate! So be careful how you throw that word around..
            Again, what is recognized, people cant handle others standing against corruption. Leaders who stand against corruption, leads to doom for political leader, all leaders in history. why is that Leslie?

            Who is standing as President Kennedy against the failures of today, Unjust war, Unbridled Capitalism?

          • As has been pointed out to you, capitalism in the US isn’t unbridled. And you are not the arbiter of what is or is not a just war.

            In your idolization of John F. Kennedy, you ignore the fact that he won the election largely because of the great tradition of the Democratic Party: election fraud.

      • Through all of World history, no currency has ever maintained an existence, without being backed by an tangible asset, Gold Silver, Salt, ect.. The ConTINental dollar defaulted, not worth an continental in the USA, which todays internet news denies, as normal to Facts. Or the fact the US dollar is backed by, nothing, recognizes, Unbridled Capitalism itself;
        Those that assume they run the US catholic church of today, are war mongers, who hated Kennedy for he was against war, Unjust war, as Biden is, so they are against him..
        God is real, God knows, God will Judge. People can look to God again, and make the USA Great Again, but that starts with US..
        Denial of the poor, as Yemen, or Haiti, the two poorest places on Earth, the US has screwed over the most, is not the path to great..
        Biden is against war, that is why people dislike him.

    • You stated, “The Church is unchangeable, the people have fallen, not the Church”. Many do not know that this is the real reason Vatican ll was called for by St. John XXlll. He had the most learned men draw up 9 Schemata for the Council, among those men was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. St. Pope John called for a Super Council that would address the fallen faith of Catholics. 5 of the 9 Schemata have been translated into English, when one reads them it was to be a damning Council on the obligations we have toward our Creator. Cardenal Bea garnished enough votes to trash the 9 Schemata and make up their own Council. This Archbishop Vigano questions, “by what authority could they do this”. St. Pope John XXlll would have been very pleased with the work of Lefebvre. I saw an interview with one of Pope John’s most trusted collaborators, this Cardinal said that after the first session of the Council Pope John XXlll called his closest Cardinal collaborators together and called on them to think of a way to “end the Council gracefully as he saw trouble ahead”. So I agree with Archbishop Vigano that the Second Vatican Council should be placed to the side. It was not the Council of St. Pope John XXlll, it became the Council of the Modernists who “hijacked the Council”. The Modernists that strongly grew since the 1940’s. Ven. Pope Pius Xll in the early 40’s stated, “The Church has officially condemned the heresy of Modernism, but sadly it is still widespread today.” So there can be no argument against the Modernist infiltration of Vatican ll, they created their own Council and in their cunning have imposed their Council on us with threats against disobeying their heresy’s.

      • We should not judge others, that we might be judged?
        The real Catholic church is the Sacrifice of the Mass, that is passed down in a Tradition of laying on of hands. Five hundred years after the origination of the Holy Catholic church, as we know it, and call it today. Founded by Jesus Christ himself, the Church put the Bible together. The Spirit of the Gospel is the Holy Church, the Church lives in the Spirit of the Gospel. God guides the Church, as a Good government is guided by God..
        Heresy’s abound from every source today in people wanting to scatter the sheep, or gain for themselves.
        In a more educated time, it was recognized the Devil prowled the Earth in search of souls. If we were to be honest, the Devil has hit the jackpot in the USA today. Thomas Kempis wrote, The Imitation of Christ and Meeting the Master in the Garden.. A prime example of the True Spirit of the Gospel. A book that assumed Catholic leaders (decades) years ago deemed as Too Catholic and wanted Hidden away, and was.
        A pre, more educated time, of we are to fear God, not the terror, or error of man. A realization, most all Catholic Media of today, is of a people with an agenda of self gain, greed, and promotion.
        This election, vote for who ever, next one, lets all vote for God, and God alone.

  3. What a sleazy and pathetic cheap shot by Weigel, using apostate Democrat Joe Biden as a foil to cast dung on the pre-Vatican II Church and of course by extension on present-day traditional Latin Mass Catholics who vociferously oppose Biden’s cynical manipulation of his alleged Catholicism. I thought that I had seen everything the gutter could produce in this election and its predecessor in 2016, but this ghastly article really takes a prize for its preposterous anti-traditional Catholic spin and smugly self-righteous condescension.

  4. The real JFK,like Biden, bares little resemblance to an orthodox Catholic.
    And as to the elder Kennedy’s support for Joseph McCarthy, at least he was right on that.

  5. Another snide article by Weigel, showing his complete cluelessness concerning pre- vs. post- Vatican II Catholicism. Only Weigel could come up with the absurd notion of blaming “pre-Vatican II tribal Catholicism” for the wholesale apostasy of today’s liberal Catholics-in-Name-Only. No George, it is the “fruit” of Vatican II, the false ecumenism and the illusory”New Evangelization” about which you mumble so incessantly, and the false teaching of our unbelieving bishops. THAT is why the majority of self-identified Catholics – like Biden – support the killing of babies.

  6. Biden peddles a stereotypical pre-Vat II to Catholics-in-name-only and to those unfamiliar with the Church’s teachings. A look at his voting record shows the obvious disconnect. He talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. The Kennedy family did the same thing, in combination with the manipulation of the Irish-American culture as well.

    They’re actors, folks. The Catholic faith is used as a political tool. Wake up, America.

  7. Seems like a poorly focused article about pre and post V-2. Rarely does someone point out that Catholics are resisted in public life because they are supposed to take Natural Law seriously. The virtue of Religion derives from morals, not vice versa. Society puts up its guard because NL says “Do no murder; do not steal; worship God; Do not commit adultery; Do not lie; etc.” And a ‘real’ Catholic professes to take that seriously. America really is a Natural Law country, as is revealed by our Constitution and D. of Ind.

  8. Were any of the previous comments posted by people who were adults before VII? I was. The Church in America wasn’t exactly a Lost Eden. Too much of its apparent strength was cultural rather than religious in nature. When that culture changed, in response to cultural changes in society at large, the Church was sadly shaken.

    • Ms. Miesel –

      I certainly agree with you that the Catholic Church before V2 was not necessarily “The Lost Eden.”

      I was a “tween” right before and after V2, in Long Island, New York, and served on the altar at the Mass in Latin, and for a brief trial period in English, pre-Novus Ordo, and then experienced the very radical change of the NO. In the first year we went from the very reverent EF Mass setting to folk guitars and jovial “MC’ing” by hip priests and literally singing ”Kumbaya.”

      I also was taught some serious Catholic liturgical music by Sr. Maria Thomas, IHM, who taught us as little children to sing some of our beautiful Gregorian Chant (etc), before our choir got “up-dated” and the cultural gifts were stolen away, for good.

      My best sense about the Catholic Church before and after V2 is that, regardless of how good or bad one thinks things were before V2, there has been no improvement after V2.

      As Fr. Imbelli reluctantly admits in his recent essay “No Decapitated Body,” there is now, in the aftermath of V2, a widespread apostasy.

      Some say this is because of V2, some say it is despite V2, and some (I would include myself) would say it’s some of both.

      As to Biden, I’m sure he was a crumby Catholic before and after V2.

  9. Even the ex-football coach for Notre Dame knows what Biden is – A Catholic In Name Only – A CINO. Even Biden himself has made this completely unmistakably clear for decades – why are we still talking about it?

    More to the point – why is Mr. Weigel still talking about it?

  10. Yikes. These comments are so negative.
    I think Joe Biden reflects an outdated, superficial sort of Catholicism (no aspersions against pre-VII Catholics who at least passed on the faith, imperfectly, as it arguably turns out but they did their best according to their lights).

  11. “The image of the pre-conciliar Catholic Church in the United States as catechetically effective and politically potent can be hard to square with the long-term damage done to Catholicism’s role in American public life by that very pre-Vatican II Catholic, John F. Kennedy.”

    Why do the author of this article blames Kennedy and Biden for the neglectful lack of training of the Catholic Church in its Catholic politicians?
    Remember that by the tree you will know the kind of fruit you harvest. (Lc 6: 43-45) If the Catholic Church has neglected her job in training Catholics in the political arena, then and now, the fruits collected are evident.
    I live and worship with “tribal pre-Vatican II Catholics” as the author of the article describe them. Those are the common
    Catholic folks that the Catholic Church then and now has produced. Followers, no leaders seeking power and prestige not the TRUTH.

    Mr. Weigel, We are not theologians, we are just common sheep without charismatic leaders like Jesus Christ and “His Followers?”

  12. “Treats the rosary as a charm or talisman, Folkways of pre-Vatican II tribal Catholicism, etc.” Wow, those were the bad old days – 75% of Catholics attending Mass on Sunday (vs 25% today, if that), a strong sense of sin demonstrated by long confession lines on Saturday, many nuns teaching in our schools ( which anyone could afford).
    As for “Mr. Biden’s positions on contraception, abortion, and the nature of marriage reflect a sad ignorance of, or indifference to, the Council’s Pastoral Constitution on the Church the Modern World”, believe it or not Mr. Weigel, Catholics knew the morality on these issues before the Council. And, Catholics today know the morality of these issues without having read this council document, which the vast majority of Catholics have not read.

  13. I am amazed that so many who have commented have misinterpreted what George Weigel is saying. Weigel is merely using Vatican II as a marker when ambitious ill-informed Catholic politicians were willing to use Catholicism and ethnicity as their trump card to sway equally ill-informed Catholic voters. Weigel could as easily have said the ‘pre Flower-power generation’. As Vatican II was a seminal event of the 20th Century it is a legitimate marker to use – especially when he is talking about Catholic politicians of that era who have shamefully used and abused Catholicism but who have not been influenced in any way by Catholic social or moral teaching. Biden is the last politician of that era who is likely to display a Rosary and yet dissent radically in all aspects from orthodox Catholic teaching. As Weigel was making no judgement on the quality of Catholicism or of the merits or ‘unmerits’ of the Latin liturgy ‘traditional Catholics’ need not get on their ‘high horse’. Nobody should doubt George Weigel’s commitment to the Catholic faith of the Apostles and for his strong defense of that faith in an age of relativism – where even high prelates have been hugely influenced. Thank you George for your fidelity to that faith.

  14. Fr. Tomas Walsh – “Biden is the last politician of that era who is likely to display a Rosary and yet dissent radically in all aspects from orthodox Catholic teaching”. Amen. Or,as Weigel puts it,The Last Hurrah.

  15. How can we unpack Joe Biden’s flawed support of religion? As I write this I keep getting perplexed with the rule “mixing church and politics”. Imposing the church’s flavor of Biden swaying voters breaks that rule. Here goes…
    Is Biden an anomaly? Perhaps.
    Is Biden a socialist, communist or oligarch? No!
    Can he be evangelized? I would ask him as he looks into his beautiful children’s eyes would he have aborted that child of God? I feel inept to answer.
    Does he support the Hyde Amendment and not Roe with abortion on demand? How could he not?
    I do I think he will make a good president who will reunite America since it has been so immorally divided.

    • “Does he support the Hyde Amendment and not Roe with abortion on demand? How could he not?”

      He does not support the Hyde Amendment, and he does support abortion on demand. He has said so. The party he represents has it in their platform. You can sit there and delude yourself about it, but you’re lying to yourself.

      If God decides that we are to be chastised by having Biden inflicted on us as President, which I pray will not happen, it is not likely to unite America.

  16. How many people commenting on Weigel’s article actually came of age before Vatican II (I was born in 1968)? He is claiming that Biden treats his Catholicism as part of an ethnic identity instead of a great gift and responsibility. Like Rudy Giuliani and Martin Scorsese might identify as Italian Catholic. But you wouldn’t consider either of them devout.

  17. How, pray tell, will a candidate who is a member of a political party that actively supports unlimited abortion, endorses the use of violence to accomplish its ends, encourages racial hatred and division, and seeks to replace our constitutional principles with socialist policies unite people? How exactly will that work? And what kind of moral imbecile would view that candidate as an appropriate moral alternative? What does your support of Biden say about your own spiritual life? You are defending the indefensible.

  18. How about Joe Biden simply as a cafeteria Catholic, one who observes those doctrines and practices of which, in his autonomy, he approves?

  19. The bigger question to Right to Life, if elected would Joe Biden stand for Right to Life for all, the poorest of the Poor in Yemen, who are exterminated, genocide in Yemen?
    And, the answer is, most likely NO. For past President Obama should have been held for War crimes in his inciting Genocide on Yemen, as is extended by President Trump..
    The biggest alarm to this issue is, the atrocity it claims, the blatant evil, exceeding all past crimes against humanity in World History..
    Why is the worst, most evil crime against humanity, Genocide of the poorest people, nation on Earth, not the fore front of this election. Why, is not recognized, and brought forth, by Catholic media, news?
    Will Biden stop the WAll, that defies Catholic teachings?
    Will he stand against the Military Industrial complex as Kennedy, risking martyred?

    • You might want to take a crash course in 20th century history. Whatever you claim is happening in Yemen, and you provide no proof of that whatsoever, it is nothing compared to the atrocities committed in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and communist China. More facts and less melodrama might strengthen your argument.

      • The Genocide of Yemen, is a Crime against humanity the USA contributes to, in hand with acclaimed Islamic State Saudi Arabia, that exceeds Nazi Germany multiple times, exceeding Soviet Russia. The worst crime against humanity in all of World History, totally defiant to the Catholic Church.. As United States attack on Iraq, that the Pope stood against George Bush, defiant to just war, that the current Pope stands against, as all Catholic/Christians, and righteous should.
        The defining issue this election should have been, Peace, an end to all military actions by the USA, a insane Trillion dollar military arms budget that needed to end. Replaced by a return to the USA again being self sufficient in food, to feed the USA, and the starving World today.. The USA now ranks as largest military budget, essentially next to the World Total, and #1 food importing nation, dependent on the World to feed the USA.. God will hear the cry of the Poor.

  20. I suppose there’s a certain “compatibility issue” between being a faithful Catholic and being a politician of the Democrat Party (and, increasingly, of the Republican Party) flavor…

  21. Similarly, Tufts University scholar Alex de Waal describes Yemen as “the greatest famine atrocity of our lifetimes.” It was caused, writes de Waal, by the coalition “deliberately destroying the country’s food-producing infrastructure.”

    Trump has contributed to the worst act against humanity ever in World History, by Unjust war. As President Obama, both should be recognized for war crimes..

  22. “Kennedy regularly performed what were then known as his “religious duties.” But their impact on his manner of life appears to have been minimal, and he had no grasp of Catholic political theory.”

    This not look like something “pre-conciliar”. In fact it were “pre-conciliar” Popes of the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century who has regularly taught against such attitudes like disconnection between “religious duties” and “manner of life”. This disconnection, by the way, resemble “sin strongly, believe more strongly” of Martin Luther and, then, it is something inherent of “post-conciliar” turmoil or, more precisely, it is matter of the spiritual superficiality of the so-called “American Church” than of some undefined pre-post-conciliarity.

  23. Amazing, JI, you claim, ” he “Kennedy” had no grasp of Catholic political theory”.

    but you do?
    the Beatitudes, governs “Catholic Political Theory”.
    Explain yourself.

    Kennedy was the last one to have any, and he was in fact Martyred for standing up for his beliefs..and the US Catholic leadership has fallen since.. and continues.

    We are to fear God, not the terror of man.. You would agree with that, jl?

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