I recently came across a quote by Vice President Joe Biden that I found to be quite disturbing. It is something he seems to have said some time ago, all the way back in 2005, and something that apparently every person in the world was aware of but me:
“The next Republican that tells me I’m not religious I’m going to shove my rosary beads down their throat.”
(And it appears that Biden’s actual words may have originally been much worse and “cleaned up” by the media.)
Now, this quote came to mind yesterday as I was meditating on a verse from Scripture:
“Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation, and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world.“ (James 1:27 DRB)
This was the Epistle for Mass this past Sunday, the 5th Sunday after Easter, in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. This particular verse is also found in other Forms and Rites of the Church. In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite it is the 2nd Reading in Year B on the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and it is the 1st Reading on Wednesday of Year II in the 6th Week of Ordinary Time. In the Byzantine Rite it is used on Thursday of the 31st Week after Pentecost.
When the Church sets a verse before us in the Liturgy it is generally a good sign that this verse is particularly important. And when the Church sets a verse before us multiple times it is time to pay special attention.
It seems popular among Christians nowadays to want distance themselves from being “religious”. It is all too often viewed as a bad thing. One frequently hears such things as “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual” or “I’m not religious, I have a personal relationship with Christ”.
But, the Apostle James, guided by the Holy Spirit, shows us that being religious is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact it is intended to be a good thing. We are meant to hold to a religion that is “clean and undefiled” and this religion is an active religion – what Catholics would call performing the corporal works of mercy.
Now, the word “religion” comes from the Latin “religare” which means to “re-bind” or “re-connect“. Our religion is what connects or binds us to our God. And as I began to reflect on what it means to be religious I came to the obvious conclusion that Vice President Biden is indeed a religious person. But, his religion is most certainly not “clean and undefiled”. It is impossible to be “unspotted from this world” when one actively seeks to take the lives of the most helpless of victims – the unborn.
Joe Biden’s pro-abortion views and his support of embryonic stem cell research lie in direct opposition to the Catholic faith he claims to hold. Being pro-choice is actually heresy, the “obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith” (see Code of Canon Law 751 and Catechism of the Catholic Church 2089). Those who fall into heresy actually excommunicate themselves from the Church (see Code of Canon Law 1364) and those who are excommunicated may not receive Communion (see Code of Canon Law 915 and 1332), which Joe Biden does anyway thus committing the additional sin of scandal (see CCC 2285).
So, Joe Biden is right. He is without a doubt a religious person. But, his religion is not the Christian faith. He makes mockery of the sacraments that Christ entrusted to His Church and instead elevates the sacrament of abortion to the position of being the source and summit of his faith and the thing that binds him to his “god”, the power and the fame that he has chosen to embrace instead of Jesus Christ.
I hope that the Vice President appreciates my defense of his assertations that he is in fact religious. And if he has the slightest bit of integrity he will either repent of his evil beliefs or he will stop misleading people into believing that he is still Catholic.