, 19 November, 2020 / 5:15 PM
La Civiltá Cattolica, the Jesuit-run magazine whose publication is overseen by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has published an article praising the projected electoral victory of U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“Biden is a patient, poised and thoughtful man; he belongs to the old school of Democrats. He is a seasoned politician, friend of many Republican congressmen, who in their hearts, probably, wished for his victory. He is part, as they say, of the 'establishment,'” according to the article, by Italian Jesuit Giovanni Sale.
Earlier this week, U.S. bishops’ conference president Archbishop Jose Gomez said at a meeting of the U.S. bishops that Biden “will support policies that are against some fundamental values that we hold dear as Catholics.”
The La Civiltá Cattolica article was likely written ahead of Gomez’ remarks.
The article said of Biden that “despite being a practicing Catholic, he has never used his religious affiliation for reasons of political propaganda, or to 'grab' the vote of the Latinos, who are far less unified than it is believed. In a time of disarray and of chaos, Biden reassures; he seems to be able to hold on to some principles that are in the nature of the American democracy. This has determined his victory.”
In fact, Biden campaigned heavily on his Catholic identity, buying print, radio, and television ads centered around Biden’s identity as a Catholic, and making reference to Pope Francis from the campaign trail and in ads.
In August, a Biden ad featured the former vice-president’s recollections of a meeting with Pope Francis, along with praise for religious sisters.
That ad came after Biden’s pledge to renew legal action against the Little Sisters of the Poor, removing freedom of conscience protections which exempt the sisters from the federal "contraceptive mandate" initiated while Biden was vice president.
The Biden campaign also formed a “Catholics for Biden” advocacy group, and invited both a Catholic priest and a Catholic religious sister to offer prayers during the summer’s Democratic National Convention.
The La Civiltá Cattolica article, “The election of the 46th President of the United States of America,” is critical of President Donald Trump’s international policies, especially the rejection of both the Paris Climate agreement and the nuclear deal with Iran. It also criticizes Trump’s approach to China.
“Probably Biden, in his first 100 days of presidency, will hurry to get back in touch with Paris to gain the ground lost in terms of climate and global warming; with Tehran to reconfirm –with some important changes- the nuclear deal; and with the World Health Organization, in order to fight Covid-19 together globally,” Sale wrote.
“In turn, NATO's traditional allies will feel reassured by the new democratic and decidedly pro-Atlanticist President, who will continue the traditional Euro-Atlantic policy of his predecessors. All of this will make a difference. And it is no small thing.”
Biden's electoral victory is widely projected but contests in some states have not yet been certified, and the electoral college does not formally elect a president until next month. There remain court challenges to some election tallies.
La Civiltá Cattolica’s analysis does not mention discrepancies between Biden’s policy positions and Catholic teaching on abortion and religious liberty, and the tensions that his positions on those issues have stoked with the U.S. bishops’ conference.
Instead, La Civiltá Cattolica lauded Biden’s presumptive presidential inauguration as the beginning of a “presidency capable of uniting a country that is politically divided and wounded by a very harsh and heated election campaign and, at the same time, to restore strength and vitality to the institutions of the largest and oldest existing democracy on the planet.”
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