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The Aquilian

    A look at how Joe Biden’s Catholic faith could impact his presidency

    President Joseph R. Biden attends prayer service on the day of his Inauguration as the 46th President. (Photo from White House Flickr Account)
    By Mak Krivka—

    On Jan. 20, 2021 at 12 p.m., on the steps of the United States Capitol Building, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. President Biden is only the second Catholic elected to the office of president; John F. Kennedy was the first, 60 years ago. When Kennedy was inaugurated, many had concerns that he would only follow the orders of the Pope and not the wishes of the American people. Those are not troubles people had when they voted for Biden in 2020. 

    “The division is within the Catholic Americans,” said Mrs. Carol Corgan, religion teacher.

     Biden’s election was historic for the Catholic people in the United States. In the United States, the president, the speaker of the house and six of the nine supreme court justices are Catholic. It is a sign that the Catholic faith is alive and still has a well positioned voice in society. 

    President Biden’s religion has been a central theme for the politician. Born and raised in an Irish Catholic family in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Wilmington, Delaware, Biden attended Catholic school from kindergarten through high school. Biden attended the Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware where he played football and was class president of his junior and senior class. Obviously, Biden has been heavily influenced by his faith his entire life. Many in the  Catholic community hope that Biden will use his office as a beacon point for Catholic values. The Catholic community hopes he will be anti-death penalty, pro-immigrant and pro-life in his actions as president. 

    “President Biden is deeply influenced by Catholic Social Teaching. He is motivated by it,” Mrs. Corgan said. 

    Mrs. Corgan spoke extensively about how she believes Biden can be a strong Catholic president and hopes that his faith will keep him in check. President Biden has been taught the Catholic Social Teaching since he was a child and has tried to live up to its lessons and teachings while in public office by using these lessons to influence his decision making. 

    Some Catholics, however, are concerned about President Biden’s position on pro-life issues. Biden publicly supports pro-choice laws and measures. The Christian political right has attacked Biden on this matter for years by stating he does not align with his church. Biden’s beliefs on pro-choice stances have been a target for many years. 

    “Some Catholics look to this belief and claim that it’s impossible to be Catholic and pro-choice. As the Church itself teaches though, we are Catholic by virtue of our baptism, not personal beliefs,” said Mr. Patrick Sullivan, religion teacher. 

    Down the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is Gonzaga College High School. Gonzaga has long prided itself on being a Catholic institution, building its students into men for and with others. By teaching the men of Gonzaga the Catholic faith and its doctrine, Gonzaga actively builds the leaders of tomorrow by taking action and doing the right thing. Many in the Gonzaga community are thrilled to see someone like them in The White House. 

    “In President Biden, we see an interesting juxtaposition of private/public acts of faith.  Both have their virtues. You see him attending church, each Sunday, with his family. That action says something. Something important,” said Dr. Harry Rissetto, religion teacher.

    It is evident that President Biden’s presidency will be under the microscope of all Gonzaga students and especially the religion department.

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      Carol CorganMar 23, 2021 at 8:05 am

      Super job, Mak. I love how you brought everything together.