There's a fantastic Bible verse that a Catholic of Vice President Joe Biden's professed devotion to the faith ought to know. Matthew 7:4 reads, "How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" It's an especially prescient verse when considering remarks he made today regarding Rep. Paul Ryan's budget:
Remarkable, really, that he could accuse Ryan of crafting a budget "incompatible with the social doctrine" of the Catholic Church when Biden himself is staunchly pro-choice. The Catholic Church has much to say on the socio-political issues of our day, but it's most famous for its stance on abortion. One of John Paul II's most famous encyclicals called for a "culture of life," in which the sanctity of human life is valued and protected "from conception until natural death." Throughout his political career, Biden has, time and again, flouted this teaching in the name of "women's rights," as though that broad concept could be reduced to the singular -- and singularly anti-Catholic -- issue of abortion.
So what makes Ryan's budget anti-Catholic? Well, Biden ascribes to the "social justice" aspects of Catholic doctrine, which guides many politically left-wing Catholics. These teachings focus on alleviating poverty and protecting the less fortunate; the Church's most famous instance of political involvement along these lines was, of course, their unholy alliance with the Democrats over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The Church supports government social programs like Medicaid, because they help the poor access essential services and goods. Therefore, some have taken to attacking Ryan's budget as "anti-Catholic," owing to the spending cuts he's called for in his Path to Prosperity. (It's worth noting that Ryan cleared up some of the misconceptions about his proposal in a House Budget Committee hearing yesterday, and fought back against the "uncompassionate" label so many have been quick to slap on his budget.)
Returning to Biden's comments, however, it's clear that Obama for America is desperate to capture the Catholic vote, a crucial swing bloc that it won in 2008. Recently, polls showed that Catholics are split evenly between Obama and Romney, 46/46. Considering the historically predictive power of this particular group, it's certainly an important one. So here's Biden, playing to Catholics' political sensibilities at the expense of a sensible budget that has widespread support among conservatives, including Mitt Romney. Unfortunately, he's ignoring the issue of abortion, a crucial plank of Catholic social doctrine -- the one that's stuck in his own eye -- to point out the superficial speck in Ryan's. Matthew 7:5: "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."