Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, is considered one of the most powerful prelates in the United States. His power derives from his status as a member of the inner circle of Pope Francis. Where he stands on the presidential election, consequently, is a large window on FrancisChurch, and last week he gave the public a glimpse into it.
“I think that a person in good conscience could vote for Mr. Biden,” said Tobin. “I, frankly, in my own way of thinking have a more difficult time with the other option.”
“In response to a question echoing recent controversial statements by clergy and others as to whether Catholics can vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in good conscience, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, indicated on Tuesday that he was personally more vexed by the prospect of voting for President Donald Trump,” reported the National Catholic Reporter (NCR). “‘I think that a person in good conscience could vote for Mr. Biden,’ said Tobin. ‘I, frankly, in my own way of thinking have a more difficult time with the other option.’ ”
As NCR reported, Tobin’s support for Biden “came during a Sept. 15 panel discussion co-sponsored by the Boston College’s Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Trinity College’s Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life and St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics on ‘The Church and Catholic Voters in the 2020 Election,’ moderated by Boisi Center director Fr. Mark Massa.”
Tobin added that Catholics should not vote based on a “single issue” — an obvious reference to abortion. “I don’t think that we can reduce [it], at least in the current panorama of issues, to how a candidate stands on a single issue,” he said. “No political party represents fully the Catholic tradition,” said Tobin.
How wonderfully convenient for Biden. Tobin, of course, didn’t bother to mention that Biden isn’t just wrong on one moral issue but multiple ones.
Later, Tobin tried to clean up his remarks by issuing a statement denying that he had endorsed anyone: “Cardinal Tobin has neither endorsed nor opposed any candidate running for public office. He has simply reminded Catholics of our responsibility to take part in the elective process,” according to the statement. But no one is buying it.
Tobin’s support for Biden is what one would expect from a member of Pope Francis’s inner circle. The Vatican is clearly in the tank for Biden, evident in the interference-running remarks form such officials as Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who said recently that the issue of abortion should not dictate the votes of Catholics.
Tobin, recall, earned his spurs under Pope Francis by squabbling with Mike Pence. In 2016, Pope Francis baffled Church observers by making the obscure Tobin, then archbishop of the relatively small archdiocese of Indianapolis, a cardinal. The explanation for the promotion was that Tobin had squared off against Pence on the issue of illegal immigration. In 2015, Tobin had defied then-Gov. Pence’s order to cease the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the wake of terrorist attacks and reports of porous vetting. Tobin cast his defiance in terms pleasing to Pope Francis. Helping the Syrian refugees, he said, “is an essential part of our identity as Catholic Christians, and we will continue this life-saving tradition.” Later, he won points with Pope Francis by calling on the U.S. bishops to increase their climate change activism after Trump won the presidency, “given the possibility that the administration isn’t going to be very interested in the questions that Pope Francis is interested in.”
Emboldened by such remarks, bishops in the U.S., such as John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, have been shooting their mouths off about the centrality of climate change activism in voting. Stowe recently said that the environment, not abortion, should be the preeminent issue for Catholic voters: “I think an argument could be made that … creation is the preeminent issue, because without the environment to sustain human life, you can’t have human life.”
All of this babble will end up helping Biden. Even as the Democrats’ anti-Catholic agenda becomes more and more clear, even as the direction of the Supreme Court stands in the balance after Justice Ginsburg’s death, the bishops provide rationalizations for Biden. Some of the bishops, such as Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, might as well be spokesmen for the Democratic Party. Tobin and Cupich are the two most powerful prelates in the United States. Cupich participates in dog-and-pony shows with the Democrats, appearing alongside Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, a pro-abortion Catholic Democrat, to push amnesty. He also shows up at Democratic labor events to denounce “right to work” laws. Before the Chicago Federation of Labor, where he falsely called opposition to “right to work” laws Catholic teaching, he said, “Pope Francis is with you.”
Like Tobin and the other Biden-supporting bishops, Cupich reveals his support by lecturing Catholics on the dangers of “single issue” voting. What a sophistical sham. Were the issue racism, instead of abortion, these voices would insist on single-issue voting. Imagine the bishops’ reaction if the Republicans nominated a segregationist as president. None of them would dare say, “It is not a sin to vote for a segregationist.” That abortion doesn’t rise to that level for them reveals their lack of faith and their overriding Democratic allegiances.
In 2016, a host of Catholic groups blessed by the bishops — which included the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and the Leadership Conference of Woman Religious — put out a “Pope Francis Values Reflection Guide.” The material in the guide wasn’t even remotely Catholic. It was simply a regurgitated version of the Democratic Party platform. Its issues to “consider” included: “How does each candidate challenge anti-immigrant rhetoric? How does each candidate talk about climate change? What is each candidate’s position on voter identification laws and other restrictions that suppress voting among people of color?… How is each candidate talking about our Muslim neighbors and refugees from the Middle East?”
Put not your faith in princes, says Scripture. For bishops like Tobin, that’s exactly where their faith rests. They are Democrats first. They belong to what Archbishop Carlo Viganò has correctly called the “Deep Church,” an entrenched group of heretics who use their position not to promote Catholicism but their own left-wing clericalism. Should Biden win, he will preside over the most anti-Catholic presidency ever — a sick irony that will have happened not in spite of the bishops but because of them.