Monday, October 20, 2008

A letter to Senator Biden

I just came across this interview with Delaware Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Hat tip: Mark Shea)

The interview ended thus: "To sum it up, as a Catholic, I'm a John XXIII guy, I'm not a Pope John Paul guy."

What follows is my letter to Senator Biden.

Dear Senator Biden,

I just read your interview with reporter Nicole Gaudiano, an interview apparently conducted on April 27, 2007, on delawareonline.com. The interview was posted on October 19, 2008, and the information given with it said that the second half of the interview, the half concerning the question of abortion, was being printed for the first time.

I noticed that you ended the interview by saying that you were "a John XXIII guy," so I thought I'd share the following two paragraphs from Blessed Pope John XXIII's encyclical letter "Mater et Magistra," which was concerned with Christianity and social progress:

"193. We must solemnly proclaim that human life is transmitted by means of the family, and the family is based upon a marriage which is one and indissoluble and, with respect to Christians, raised to the dignity of a sacrament. The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life.

"194. Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members."

I hope your deep respect for Blessed Pope John XXIII leads you to listen to his words and draw the obvious conclusions, conclusions reinforced by Servant of God Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter "Evangelium Vitae."

In Christ,

Brendon

Edited to add: In the hopes of getting Senator Biden to actually read my letter, I have expanded upon it and mailed a copy to each of his three offices. After telling the Senator a bit about my own experience growing up as a Roman Catholic in Pennsylvania, I continued with the following:

I am telling you all this [about my background] so as to give you a better idea of the perspective behind this letter. I also hope to demonstrate that, however great the differences in our backgrounds, we also share at least a few commonalities.

I am writing to you because I just read your interview with reporter Nicole Gaudiano on delawareonline.com. This interview was apparently conducted on April 27, 2007. The interview was posted on October 19, 2008, and the information given with it said that the second half of the interview, the half concerning the question of abortion, was being printed for the first time.

I noticed that you ended the interview by saying that you were "a John XXIII guy." There is, of course, nothing necessarily wrong with this. People have different temperaments and different styles, and so it makes sense that we will all have different appreciations of certain Popes based upon how they present themselves. This is no more wrong than having a preference to devotion to St. Dominic over St. Francis of Assisi or vice versa.

The interview, however, did not leave me thinking that this was all you meant by your final comment. I fear that I received the impression that you were trying to play Blessed Pope John XXIII and Servant of God Pope John Paul II against each other so as to excuse your voting record on the question of abortion. This strikes me as an erroneous use of the thought of Blessed Pope John XXIII. To demonstrate why I believe this to be so, I thought that I would share the following two paragraphs from Blessed Pope John XXIII's encyclical letter Mater et Magistra, which was concerned with Christianity and social progress:
193. We must solemnly proclaim that human life is transmitted by means of the family, and the family is based upon a marriage which is one and indissoluble and, with respect to Christians, raised to the dignity of a sacrament. The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life.
194. Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members.
I hope your deep respect for Blessed Pope John XXIII leads you to listen to his words and draw the obvious conclusions, the same conclusions reinforced by Servant of God Pope John Paul II in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae.

There is a good chance that you will soon be the Vice President-elect of the United States of America. This would make you the second most influential political leader in our country. Such a position of authority is a heavy responsibility. Please remember the words of our Lord: "And unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required: and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more."

I will also be sending a copy of this letter to your offices in Wilmington and Milford in the hopes that this will increase the chances of you reading it personally. Thank you for your time. Know that I will endeavor to keep you in my prayers.

In Christ,

Brendon

4 comments:

A-Non-I-Must said...

Did you actually send this letter?

I wonder to what address; although I doubt he'd even read it...unfortunately.

brendon said...

Did you actually send this letter?

Yes. I used the e-mail form on his website. Which might mean that it was vetted by staffers and thus never even given to him. But I thought it worth a try at least.

Maybe I'll print it out and mail it to his office as well. He might actually have a better chance of reading it that way.

A-Non-I-Must said...

Although perhaps vainly, I hope that it does reach him.

It would do him some good to be educated by the details of your letter, informing him what Pope John XXIII actually taught on the matter.

Please note that I am giving him the benefit of the doubt; it's not as if he might have already known about these details already but nevertheless sought to take advantage of the ignorance of today's Catholics just to promote his own political agenda.

A-Non-I-Must said...

It would've been interesting to have placed tracking on your letter such that you could confirm their receipt and by what party.

If you do end up getting a response, please post it if you would to let us know what became of it.

Thanks.