2020 presidential election Abortion catholic church Catholicism Congratulate Intelwars Joe Biden Pope Francis

Pope Francis congratulates, blesses fellow Catholic Joe Biden. The pair agree on some issues — but abortion isn’t one of them.

Pope Francis congratulated fellow Catholic Joe Biden during a call Thursday morning, according to a Biden-Harris Transition

What did they talk about?

The statement said Biden “thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world.”

The former vice president — who on Saturday was declared the winner of the 2020 election over President Donald Trump by numerous media outlets, although Trump is disputing the vote count — also “expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief in the dignity and equality of all humankind on issues such as caring for the marginalized and the poor, addressing the crisis of climate change, and welcoming and integrating immigrants and refugees into our communities,” the statement added.

Biden would be the second Catholic president in U.S. history, following John F. Kennedy, National Public Radio said.

The rest of the story

NPR also characterized Biden as a “deeply devout person of faith” who “often delivers speeches with references to biblical language or the pope.”

But given that Biden staunchly favors abortion rights — a distinctly non-Catholic position — prominent Catholic church officials don’t view Biden as someone who takes faith seriously.

According to LifeSite News, Cardinal Raymond Burke just days before the election gave a failing grade to Biden’s positions on life, marriage, and the family.

“I can’t imagine that he would present himself as a devout Catholic,” Burke said of Biden. “He has a record which is unfortunately perfect in promoting the attack on the innocent defense of the unborn. … He is also not correct on the issues with regard to marriage and the family. … The great darkness in our nation comes from the wholesale slaughter of the unborn, also the attack on the family, all this gender theory … and now the attack on religious freedom.”

And while Biden in April called abortion an “essential health care service” during a conversation with former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Pope Francis decried that specific view in a United Nations address in September.

“Unfortunately, some countries and international institutions are also promoting abortion as one of the so-called ‘essential services’ provided in the humanitarian response to the pandemic,” the pope said, according the Catholic News Agency.

Biden has at times claimed he is personally opposed to abortion, LifeSite News said in separate story, but has drifted leftward on the issue over the years. The outlet said Biden in June 2019 reversed his stance on the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for most abortions, and explained that “circumstances have changed.” Indeed, Biden announced his candidacy for president in late April.

How would their differing views on abortion affect Biden’s relationship with Pope Francis in the future? Well, LifeSite News also said that Biden — commenting late last year on a priest who denied him Communion — claimed that “it’s not a position that I’ve found anywhere else, including from the Holy Father, who gives me Communion.”

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Bishops grant Catholics permission to eat meat on Fridays during Lent because of the ‘many other sacrifices which we are suddenly experiencing’

Some Catholic bishops in the U.S. have granted Catholic parishioners to eat meat on Fridays during Lent because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

What are the details?

According to a Friday CNN report, Catholic bishops in at least two states — Massachusetts and New Jersey — are permitting the controversial move.

New Jersey’s Most Rev. James F. Checchio, Bishop of Metuchen, made the announcement Thursday.

He wrote, “Given the difficulties of obtaining some types of food and the many other sacrifices which we are suddenly experiencing given the coronavirus, I have granted a dispensation from abstaining from meat on Fridays for the rest of Lent, except Good Friday, which is universal law.”

Boston’s Most Rev. Peter J. Uglietto issued a similar message through the Archdiocese of Boston that same day.

Uglietto wrote, “One of the effects of the current events is uncertainty regarding which food products are available on any given day. At this time, we are called to make the best of what we have at hand or is available for purchase. Many people are using what they have stored in their freezers and on their shelves. Others are depending on pre-packaged meals or food delivered through support agencies, which are providing an important service for individuals and families in our communities, especially for children and our senior citizens.”

He added, “In light of these circumstances, Cardinal Sean [O’Malley] is dispensing all Catholics in the Archdiocese from the obligation of abstaining from meat during the remaining Fridays of Lent.

“The Cardinal encourages those who can partake of this traditional Lenten practice of abstention to do so and to offer it up for those who are suffering in any way from the pandemic we are experiencing,” he added.

Last week, Brooklyn’s Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio said borough Catholics also did not have to abstain from meat this Lenten season.

“This is being done to assist people who may have difficulties in shopping for food or other reasons, which would make this practice difficult at this time,” he said in a statement from the Diocese of Brooklyn.

At the time of this writing, the U.S. has seen at least 97,226 COVID-19 cases, and at least 1,475 people have died because of the virus.

Catholic Catholicism Intelwars Lent Pope Francis Social Media Trolling

Pope Francis: For Lent, please stop insulting people on social media

Pope Francis added a new suggestion to the list of things Catholics should consider abstaining from during the 40-day season of Lent: online trolling.

The pope said during Ash Wednesday remarks that in addition to giving up junk food or other vices during the lead-up to Easter, Christians should also abstain from social media conflict, according to Reuters:

Lent, he said in partially improvised remarks, “is a time to give up useless words, gossip, rumours, tittle-tattle and speak to God on a first name basis,” he said.

“We live in an atmosphere polluted by too much verbal violence, too many offensive and harmful words, which are amplified by the internet,” he said. “Today, people insult each other as if they were saying ‘Good Day.'”

Not only should people stop attacking one another online during Lent, the pope said, but they should consider unplugging from technology in general in order to get closer to God. From the Verge:

“We live in an environment polluted by too much verbal violence, by many offensive and harmful words, which the internet amplifies,” said Pope Francis. “We are inundated with empty words, with advertisements, with subtle messages. We have become used to hearing everything about everyone and we risk slipping into a worldliness that atrophies our hearts.”

“Hearing everything about everyone” is a remarkably good description of how the current internet can feel — though the Pope’s prescription, granted, is more specific than most digital detox programs. “Lent is the right time to make room for the Word of God. It is the time to turn off the television and open the Bible. It is the time to disconnect from your cell phone and connect to the Gospel,” he said.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, reflection, and good deeds leading to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter. Many Christians wear ashes on their forehead for the day, a symbol of man’s mortality and repentance.