Bishops Respond After Biden Officiates a Same-Sex Marriage

By Michael O’Loughlin

Three Catholic bishops took aim at Catholic political leaders who support same-sex marriage, just days after Vice President Joe Biden posted a photo of himself officiating a gay wedding ceremony.Joe Biden

“When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex, confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics,” said a blog post published on Aug. 5.

The post was written by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., who is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami and Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo.

“What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth,” it continues.

In their blog post, the bishops invoked Pope Francis, who has won over many gay Catholics with his famous “Who am I to judge?” line, but who has also repeated many times the church’s views against same-sex marriage.

“Pope Francis has been very clear in affirming the truth and constant teaching of the Church that same-sex relationships cannot be considered ‘in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,’” they wrote, quoting the pope’s recently published document on family life, “The Joy of Love.”

They wrote that Catholic political leaders should uphold church teaching when engaged in political activity.

“Faithful witness can be challenging—and it will only grow more challenging in the years to come—but it is also the joy and responsibility of all Catholics, especially those who have embraced positions of leadership and public service,” they said.

In recent weeks, debate about how Catholic politicians square personal beliefs with public policy has heated up with Hillary Clinton’s pick of Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kaine, a lifelong Catholic with deep Jesuit connections, favors same-sex marriage and access to abortion.

RELATED: VP Pick Sen. Tim Kaine Seeks to Balance Catholic Faith with Democratic Politics

While the bishops did not appear to address Kaine in their Friday post, other Catholic leaders have weighed in.

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, a self-described Republican and frequent critic of liberal political stances, questioned Kaine’s commitment to his Catholic faith in a Facebook post last month.

“Senator Kaine has said, ‘My faith is central to everything I do,’” Tobin wrote. “But apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”

Biden posted a photo on his Twitter feed on Monday showing himself marrying a gay couple at the vice president’s residence in Washington, the first time the vice president officiated a wedding ceremony.


Biden, the nation’s first Catholic vice president, expressed his support for gay marriage in 2012, becoming the highest ranking elected official to come out in favor of legalizing gay unions. President Barack Obama followed suit a few days later.

Polls show that most U.S. Catholics share Biden’s support for same sex marriage, but the Catholic Church remains vehemently opposed.

Biden speaks frequently about the importance of his Catholic faith and says he attends Mass regularly.

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