Joe Biden is reassured in his support for legalized abortion by his longtime ally Sister Simone Campbell, a Catholic nun. Biden, who purports himself to be a faithful Catholic, looks to the leftwing, radical nun as a source of comfort that he is not betraying his faith by his active advocacy for the legalized slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Americans through abortion every year.
Campbell earned a spot at the final night of the Democratic National Convention because of her ability to legitimize Biden’s Catholic faith through their relationship, which dates back to her advocacy for the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2009. At the DNC, she delivered a prayer and indicated her support for Biden over Trump. “Tonight,” Campbell said, “marks an important next chapter in our story of who we will become as a nation.”
The appearance at the DNC was a continuation of Campbell’s political advocacy for Biden. Earlier this month, she told the Washington Post, “If Biden became the second Catholic in the Oval Office, there would be pride in that.” Campbell, a religious of the Sisters of Social Service, also said that Catholics “cannot be true to their faith and vote for Donald Trump in November,” arguing that she disagrees with the president on “sacred issues” like poverty, immigration, and fighting racism.
Campbell held a political event with Biden in 2014 aimed at increasing voter turnout. Their allyship also extended to Biden defending Campbell’s organization of American nuns to Pope Benedict XVI after her advocacy for the ACA contributed to a Church investigation. The investigation concluded that her organization would require “oversight of their publications and choice of speakers.” (The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed the ACA due to its contraception mandate and its expansion of government funding for abortion.)
In 2010, Biden shouted, “Barack! Here’s my nun!” when he encountered Campbell along a rope line.
Another time, Biden turned directly to Campbell and said, “It is nuns and Jesuits who keep me Catholic.” Support from Campbell and other Catholics like her is enough to convince Biden that he is not gravely sinning by his support for abortion.
While Campbell is a Catholic religious sister, that doesn’t stop her from refusing to condemn legalized abortion. On Wednesday, Campbell told Catholic News Agency that the legal status of abortion is “above my pay grade.”
“[Abortion is] not the issue that we work on. I’m a lawyer. I would have to study it more intensely than I have,” she said.
It doesn’t take much “study” to know the Catholic Church is opposed to abortion in all cases. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.”
But for Campbell, it’s more complicated than that. Using the same excuses Biden uses, Campbell has previously said she personally thinks abortion is immoral — she just wouldn’t prevent another woman from killing her own child.
In 2009, Campbell voiced her support for the Obama administration’s policy of maintaining the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortion, while also increasing access to abortion. She applauded the Obama administration for ensuring that “even without federal funding of abortion, women can make choices even though there may be some choices I would disagree with.”
In 2016, Campbell would go on to say, “From my perspective, I don’t think it’s a good policy to outlaw abortion.”
Campbell runs a political lobbying firm that receives donations from organizations linked to pro-choice advocacy, according to Catholic News Agency.
Throughout his career, Biden has evolved on abortion. Following Roe v. Wade, Biden said the Supreme Court went “too far.” He also said in 1973 that a woman shouldn’t have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body.” But now, Biden says that as president he would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law, reverse the Hyde Amendment, and increase funding for Planned Parenthood. That evolution of course coincides with increasing disdain for those opposed to abortion within the Democratic Party.
At the same time, Biden has always maintained that he is personally opposed to abortion. In a 2015 interview with America Magazine, for instance, Biden said “Abortion is always wrong…. But I’m not prepared to impose doctrine that I’m prepared to accept on the rest of [the country].”
It’s political expediency combined with people like Sister Campbell who delude Biden into thinking it’s morally acceptable to take such a position. But fascinatingly, the other Catholic religious leader who spoke at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and the editor-at-large of America Magazine, is not one of those people.
Martin, famous for questionable preaching on LGBTQ issues, used his appearance at the Democratic National Convention to pray for “the unborn child in the womb.” For a party that denies the humanity of unborn children and believes any restrictions on abortion are immoral, it was a bold statement.
While Martin’s orthodoxy can be doubted at times, his continual position against the legalization of abortion is a powerful testament to Democrats, who continue to increase their support for abortion and expect Catholics to follow them. If more progressive Catholic religious leaders took such a stance, perhaps Biden would not feel entitled to support the killing of unborn children while maintaining he is a faithful Catholic.