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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/12/2012 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Biden and Ryan squared off Thursday night.

It is widely recognized that Catholics, particularly those living in a few key geographical areas, will provide the swing vote that chooses the next president. So it's no surprise that both vice presidential candidates are Catholic. 

The debate was a lively affair for Biden as Ryan watched the antics with stifled amusement.

The debate was a lively affair for Biden as Ryan watched the antics with stifled amusement.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/12/2012 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Biden, Ryan, vice presidential, debate, Catholic


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The first ever vice presidential debate between two Catholics took place as Biden and Ryan squared off Thursday night. Perhaps the most telling question of the night was when both candidates were given the opportunity to discuss their faith and its influence on their public service.
Biden opened by explaining that he was informed by the social doctrine of the Church, which he translated as helping those who cannot help themselves. On abortion, he claimed to be personally opposed to it, but that he would never tell a woman what to do with her body. The first question is what about the child in the womb who has no voice but our own?

The problem with this view is that it equates to doing nothing. And those who do nothing in the face of evil are virtually promoting it. 

Ryan however, stated quite plainly that he believes life begins at conception. He added that if a person believes this, they should act accordingly. He echoed the Romney camp's official position, which is that abortion should be outlawed except in cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. However, he made his own unqualified opposition to abortion clear. That is the "principle" to which he referred. 

Biden managed to add that the next president would choose at least one or two Supreme Court justices, hinting at the opportunity to either  reinforce - or overturn, Roe v. Wade. 

Both parties understand that the Catholic vote is key. Obama cannot win unless Catholics elect him. So the Obama camp is attacking Ryan, in particular, accusing him of promoting policies that will harm the poor and disadvantaged. Essentially, the argument is an extension of what is being said about Romney, who has been painted as a wealthy elitist who is concerned only with himself. 

Obama and Biden do have some dubious Catholic support behind them. Known as the "Nuns on the Bus," a group of very liberal nuns has toured the country supporting Obama and his policies. This group has been targeted by Church leadership, including the Pope, for some positions which are blatantly inconsistent with the teachings of the church. 

Moreover, Ryan made the point that the Obama healthcare mandate threatens faith-based
institutions with sanctions if they do not provide payment for women's contraception, abortifacients, and abortions. Biden denied this accusation outright, but the research has been done, and despite a few frank exceptions, people of every faith will still be paying for other women's abortions under the Obama plan. 

In 2008, Obama beat John McCain, winning 54 percent of the Catholic vote. It is hoped by many that Catholic voters become better informed about the Obama administration's virtual war on Catholicism, and the rights and freedoms of all Americans. After all, without the support of the Catholic vote, Obama will be moving back to Chicago next January.


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