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Biden: ‘The Whole World is Getting to See What Are the Basic Essential Elements of What Constitutes Catholicism’

By CNSNews.com Staff | December 3, 2020 | 4:37pm EST
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In a Sept. 15, 2015 interview with Father Matt Malone, S.J. of American Media, Vice President Joe Biden spoke of his admiration for Pope Francis and what this pope was doing for the church.

Biden recalled attending Pope Francis’s “inauguration” at the Vatican on March 19, 2013. At the end of the ceremony, the pope greeted Biden and other political leaders from around the globe.

“The pope reached out and he grabbed my hand and he said, ‘I know, Mr. Vice President, you’re always welcome here,’” Biden said. “That is the message that he’s sending to the world.”

“He’s the embodiment of the Catholic social doctrine I was raised with,” Biden said in the interview with Father Malone.  “The idea that everyone is entitled to dignity, that the poor should be given special preference, that you have an obligation to reach out and be inclusive.

“I mean, look at the encyclical on climate change,” said Biden. “It’s all about, you know, we have responsibilities, we have to husband this planet.

“And I’m excited, quite frankly, as a practicing Catholic, I am really excited by the whole world is getting to see what are the basic essential elements of what constitutes Catholicism,” said Biden.

“We can argue about dogma, we can argue about some of the de fide doctrine that’s been declared, but this is below it and above it,” Biden said. “This is something much larger.”

Here is a transcript of the part of Father Malone’s interview with then-Vice President Joe Biden where Biden said: I am really excited by the whole world is getting to see what are the basic essential elements of what constitutes Catholicism:’

Father Matthew Malone, S.J.: “And that will change not only the face of the country, but also the church in this country.”

Vice President Joe Biden: “Well, it will change the face of the church. And, by the way, you and I both know—I shouldn’t be interviewing you--that there are some real differences within the church in terms of tone and direction and just how far we should reach out. The thing I love about this pope: I got to meet him. I went to his, quote, ‘inauguration,’ and I had the great pleasure of representing the United States of America. My sister was with me and I sat at the altar; and afterwards, as you know, Father, you line up in alphabetical order in the basilica and the Holy Father stands at the foot of the altar, and he greets every head of state or acting for the head of state. The United States, we’re at the very end. Ad, so I walked up, and there was a wonderful Irish monsignor who had sat in with me in a long interview, or discussion, I had with Pope Benedict just several months earlier. And he turned and he said, Oh, Mr. Vice President, and he said: Holy Father, the pope reached out and he grabbed my hand and he said, ‘I know, Mr. Vice President, you’re always welcome here.’ That is the message that he’s sending to the world.

Father Malone: “And that is the tone that he’s striking everywhere, isn’t it?”

Vice President Biden: “Absolutely. That’s why he’s the singular most popular figure in the world today. And not just in Catholic nations, across the board. And you know it’s because of the--He’s the embodiment of the Catholic social doctrine I was raised with. The idea that everyone is entitled to dignity, that the poor should be given special preference, that you have an obligation to reach out and be inclusive. I mean, look at the encyclical on climate change. It’s all about, you know, we have responsibilities, we have to husband this planet. And I’m excited, quite frankly, as a practicing Catholic, I am really excited by the whole world is getting to see what are the basic essential elements of what constitutes Catholicism. We can argue about dogma, we can argue about some of the de fide doctrine that’s been declared, but this is below it and above it. This is something much larger.”

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