Fr James “Slippery Jim” Martin SJ has a huge presence on social media, and his tweets (and the positive comments they spark off) reveal a reality that most in the Catholic leadership wish to ignore.
That is the fact that within the Catholic Church today there are two churches. One is the establishment church of the USCCB, the big old “Catholic” universities, the old established religious orders, their mainstream publishing houses, websites and papers. This Catholicism is virtually indistinguishable from. mainstream Protestantism. (which is why they don’t do ecumenism anymore) This establishment church is in bed with the rest of the political, secular establishment and has been ever since the Bishop of Boston lunched with the mayor and the chief of police.
Since this establishment Catholicism settles nicely in Boston, New York, Washington and Los Angeles (with Chicago snapped on for good measure) we might term it “Coastal Catholicism.” The term is apt since this Catholicism is not only located on the coasts…this lukewarm, complacent establishment Catholicism also likes to coast…and if you’re coasting (as the old saying goes) you must be going downhill.
Well you can be sure that the majority of this coastal Catholicism is already on the Joe Biden bandwagon, and sure enough, their social media darling, Fr James Martin is already waving the rainbow flag.
Fr Martin’s latest controversial tweet was a response to Bishop Tobin’s sardonic tweet about Joe Biden’s watered down establishment Catholicism…
Mr. Biden is a baptized Catholic. Thus, he is a Catholic. https://t.co/IcO70zhKHd
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) August 12, 2020
Stop right there. This is a classic Fr Martin tactic. Simplify things and state what seems obvious but do so with a patronizing subtext and unspoken sentimental air of wounded victimhood. As usual, what is important here is not so much what Fr Martin said as what he did not say. Fr Martin likes this tactic. He’ll tweet, for example, “Bishop Goebbels of Beerstein has given his support for same sex marriage. This is a first for LGBTQ Catholics.”
And that’s it. But the subtext is an unspoken endorsement of the whole LGBTQ and Cardinal Marxist agenda. Same thing here. Joe Biden is baptized Catholic. He is Catholic. What is unsaid is what Fr Martin is really preaching: “Joe Biden is a good Catholic. He’s our man. We’re supporting him and so should all Catholics.”
Did Fr Martin say that? Why no! He didn’t say that! Nobody can blame him! He’s a “priest in good standing! Don’t you know?”
A good number of commenters have pointed out that if Biden is Catholic simply by being baptized so is that other Uncle Joe…Stalin. For that matter Adolph Hitler was a baptized Catholic and the list could go on of those who were baptized Catholics who turned out to be the most horrible criminals and psychopaths the world has ever seen. Time and again we hear weak kneed former Catholics say they left the church because of the hypocrisy and wickedness of Catholic leaders. Why do so few people point out the hypocrisy and wickedness of the pro-abortion Catholics like Biden and Pelosi and their crew?
No. Those hypocritical Catholics are praised for being “brave pioneers” who have the courage to challenge the misogynistic old Catholic Church. Indeed, because of their courage they must be the Catholics who are truly being faithful to the “real” message of Jesus and Pope Francis. The fact that people like Joe Biden who are career politicians deeply embedded in the corrupt DC establishment are seen as “courageous outsiders who challenge the status quo” is laughable.
But this blatant hypocrisy and smiling lying is not the only thing.
Does being baptized, in and of itself, make you Catholic? Yes, in a formal sense this is true, but valid baptism alone cannot be the criteria for being Catholic else every Protestant who is baptized validly would also be Catholic. Baptism might make one formally a Catholic but not fully Catholic. The sacrament is completed at confirmation, and it is confirmation that completes the person’s incorporation into the Catholic Church specifically.
So is Joe Biden Catholic? Yes, because he is baptized and confirmed as a Catholic. However, the question remains, “What kind of Catholic is Joe Biden?” We’re not to judge the state of anyone’s soul, but one can judge public actions and formal policies of a politician. Therefore it is important for all Catholics to ask what kind of Catholic Joe Biden might be.
- What kind of Catholic publicly and formally contradicts the teaching of the Catholic church by officiating at same sex weddings?
- What kind of Catholic publicly and formally endorses and funds abortion?
- What kind of Catholic chooses a running mate who attacks the Catholic faith of public servants?
- What kind of Catholic chooses a running mate who prosecutes a pro life warrior for exposing the sale of aborted baby body parts?
After asking what kind of Catholic does these things, we should go on to ask what kind of Catholic supports Catholic politicians like this? Are these Catholics good and faithful servants of the Catholic Church? The coastal Catholics will crow about how they are “Catholics in good standing”. Whether they are standing or not does not concern me. What concerns me is where they are standing, and whether they ought perhaps to be kneeling.
What is one to do about the Coastal Catholics? We stop and remember the parable of the wheat and tares. The wheat and the weeds grow together, and they will only be sorted out at the harvest of Judgement Day. I’m not one to unchurch Joe Biden and Fr James Martin SJ, but I don’t mind pointing out the tares among the wheat and the wolves among the sheep. That’s part of what it means to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves.