Vice President Joe Biden is currently considering a run for president in 2016, but it appears that he is also trying to square his Catholic faith with the Democratic party’s historic support for abortion rights.
In an interview with America magazine, Biden discussed his position on abortion and even borrowed rhetoric from his boss to diffuse the controversial issue.
Twice during the interview, Biden insisted he was a practicing Catholic, and even indicated that life began in the womb.
“I’m prepared to accept that at the moment of conception there’s human life and being, but I’m not prepared to say that to other God-fearing, non-God fearing people that have a different view,” he said.
But Biden explained that he would not impose his own “precise view” on when human life began on “other people who are equally God-fearing, equally as committed to life, equally as committed to the sanctity of life.”
As a longtime Democrat, Biden has firmly supported the right to abortions and accepted financial support from abortionist corporations like Planned Parenthood.
“I don’t want to start a theological discussion, I’ll get in trouble, it’s above my pay grade,” he said, arguing that there was “disagreement” in the Catholic church on whether the position on life was a “de fide” matter of faith doctrine for Catholics.
Obama famously used the same line as a candidate when he was asked by pastor Rick Warren at what point an unborn baby deserved human rights.
“I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade,” Obama said in August 2008.
Biden reminded the interviewer that he wasn’t prepared to “impose doctrine” on the rest of the country, he revealed that he once had a conversation with Pope Benedict XVI on the issue of abortion rights.
“It was like going back to theology class,” he said. “And by the way, he wasn’t judgmental. He was open. I came away enlivened from the discussion.”
As Vice President, Biden met with Benedict XVI in 2011 at the Vatican where he reportedly told him to “lighten up” on American nuns.
Biden expressed enthusiasm for Francis’s visit, suggesting that it would highlight the essence of the Catholic faith without getting tangled up in doctrine.
“I mean, I’m excited quite frankly, as a practicing Catholic, I am really excited by the whole world is getting to see what are the basic essential elements of what constitutes Catholicism,” he said adding that Francis was “the embodiment of the Catholic social doctrine I was raised with.”
Biden also attended Pope Francis’ installation in Rome and has shared nothing short of effusive praise for the current pontiff.
“We have a good one now,” he remarked in June, referring to Francis’s Jesuit background.
Biden will have plenty of time with Pope Francis during his visit to the United States this week.
He plans to join the President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to greet Francis at the airport and he will also join the pair for the welcoming ceremonies at the White House. Biden will also attend the canonization mass with Pope Francis, attend the pontiff’s address to Congress and will personally attend a farewell ceremony for the pope as he leaves Philadelphia.