Jesuit Priest to Offer Invocation at Joe Biden’s Presidential Inauguration

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President-elect Joe Biden has invited the former president of Georgetown University, Jesuit Father Leo O’Donovan, to deliver the invocation at his presidential inauguration on January 20.

Father O’Donovan told the National Catholic Reporter that Mr. Biden had personally called him and invited him to offer the prayer at the inauguration and that he had accepted.

O’Donovan has been a friend of the Biden family for years and presided over the funeral Mass for Joe Biden’s oldest son, Beau, in 2015.

The Jesuits were instrumental in persuading Catholics to vote for Mr. Biden, with a number of priests of the order stepping up to allay people’s fears of voting for a pro-abortion Catholic.

In late August, Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, the former editor-in-chief of America magazine, the flagship publication of the Jesuit order in the U.S., declared that “a Catholic Democrat can vote for Biden, even if his policies promote abortions and gay marriage, as long as the voter’s intent is not to support those positions.”

“A Catholic Democrat might feel impelled to vote for Biden despite his position on abortion and gay marriage because of other morally grave reasons, for example, his positions on racism, immigration, global warming and COVID-19,” Father Reese stated.

Father Reese also noted that “most Catholic Democrats agree with Biden that abortion should be legal,” so, for many, there is no moral dilemma.

The following week, Father Reese helped promote the national launch of “Catholics for Biden,” to boost enthusiasm for the Democrat ticket.

The launch of Catholics for Biden featured prominent progressive Catholics such as Senator Dick Durbin, Sister Simone Campbell, Dr. Stephen Schneck, Dr. Polly Baca, Felice Gorordo, Tim Shriver Jr., Ana Sofia Pelaez, and Peter Kellner.

For their part, the editors of America magazine issued an “unprecedented warning” against voting for Donald Trump in the November election.

“The administration of Donald J. Trump has undermined the constitutional order to a degree unprecedented in modern American history, which prompts the editors of this review to register this unprecedented warning,” the editors declared in their September 16 op-ed.

The principal concern here is with “the president’s disregard for the system of laws and customs that establish the necessary conditions for debate, decision-making and public accountability in this republic,” they stated.

The America editors depicted the platform of the two parties as equally ambivalent for Catholics, proposing that each had things in its favor and other things that Catholics might find problematic, with neither aligning more nor less with Catholic belief.

“Both political parties support policies that offend the Catholic conscience, including widespread support for abortion on demand among Democrats and consistent support for the death penalty among Republicans,” they said.

Jesuit Father James Martin, who delivered the opening invocation at the Democratic National Convention in August, also came to the defense of Joe Biden along with fellow Catholic Democrat Nancy Pelosi, when a Tennessee bishop took issue with their self-identification as “faithful Catholics.”

Father Martin defended Biden and Pelosi, insisting that a bishop has no right to question the “personal faith” of Catholic politicians, even when their policies collide with Church teaching.

Father Martin also said that the bishop — Rick Stika of Knoxville — had misspoken in his characterization of the two Democrats, suggesting that the only point on which Biden and Pelosi dissent from Catholic teaching is on the matter of abortion.

As Breitbart News reported, Mr. Biden spoke at a virtual fundraiser for Jesuit Refugee Service on November 12, where Father O’Donovan 99serves as director of mission, promising to dramatically increase the annual number of refugees taken in by the United States by over 800 percent of current figures.

While the Trump administration established a ceiling of 15,000 refugees for fiscal year 2020, Biden said that he will raise that number to 125,000.

President-elect Biden identifies as a Catholic but has promised to oversee the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer funding for most abortions. He supports abortion-on-demand and sharply criticized the Supreme Court’s July decision in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor in their religious liberty battle.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has been criticized as an “openly anti-Catholic bigot” with a serious “Catholic problem.”

In 2018, Sen. Harris’s harassed U.S. District Court nominee Brian Buescher during his confirmation hearings over his endorsement of Catholic teaching on abortion and gay marriage.

As Michael Gerson wrote in the Washington Post, Harris posed a series of “inappropriate questions” to Judge Buescher suggesting that being a member of the Knights of Columbus was “disqualifying for the federal bench.”

“Harris was effectively treating membership in a distinctly Catholic organization as if it were allegiance to a hate group,” Gerson wrote.


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