Monday 1 April 2024

DC archbishop jabs Biden as 'cafeteria Catholic' who 'picks and chooses' for his 'political advantage'

Biden congratulates Archbishop Gregory on being made a cardinal | National  Catholic Reporter

Roman Catholic Cardinal Wilton Gregory took a swipe at President Biden's faith on Sunday, calling him a "cafeteria Catholic" for picking and choosing parts of the faith while "ignoring or even contradicting" other aspects of his adherence.

Gregory, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., was asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" whether he believes Biden's long-touted Catholic roots will resonate with American Catholics in the upcoming 2024 election.

"I would say that he's very sincere about his faith. But like a number of Catholics, he picks and chooses dimensions of the faith to highlight while ignoring or even contradicting other parts," Gregory replied. "There is a phrase that we have used in the past, a 'cafeteria Catholic,' you choose that which is attractive, and dismiss that which is challenging."

Biden has repeatedly described himself as a "devout Catholic" who attends church regularly. The White House has also used the term to describe Biden when defending his aggressive pro-choice stance on abortion.

CBS News host Ed O’Keefe pressed Gregory further, asking the country's first Black cardinal to identify aspects of the faith that seem to be forgotten by Biden. Gregory appeared to give the president flak for his stance on abortion, telling the host that while he admires him "tremendously," he hoped Biden would be more explicit in his personal belief as it relates to "life issues," instead of manipulating dimensions of the faith for his "political advantage."  

"I would say there are things, especially in terms of life issues, there are things that he chooses to ignore, or he uses the current situation as a political pawn rather than saying, 'Look, my church believes this, I'm a good Catholic, I would like to believe this.' Rather than to twist and turn some dimensions of the faith as a political advantage," Gregory said.

The interview came one day after Biden faced online ridicule for marking Easter Sunday, the most solemn Christian holiday, as "Transgender Day of Visibility." 

Prominent Christians, politicians and commentators flooded social media with criticism when the White House announced that March 31, which has been designated to honor the transgender movement since Biden took office, falls on Easter Sunday, one of the most important days for Christians, as they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Biden has had a fractious relationship with the Catholic Church since gaining office, with Pope Francis criticizing his views on abortion in July 2021. Francis argued that Biden's faith and pro-choice views were a display of "incoherence."

A Pew Research poll released in February found that a large majority of Americans were not convinced by Biden's presentation of himself as a "devout Catholic." Just 13% of Americans thought of Biden as "very religious," while 41% said he is "somewhat religious" and another 44% reported him as "not at all" or "not too religious" the time.

Former President Trump has sought to capitalize on the friction between Biden's faith and his stance on abortion, telling a campaign crowd earlier this year that Catholics would be "crazy" to vote for him.