First Catholic VP is elected
The day shouldn’t pass without the headline above appearing somewhere – I suspect it will be a dotCommonweal exclusive. Joe Biden was the forgotten “first” in a campaign that featured candidates who all were potential “firsts,” be it for race, gender, age or, in the Delaware senator’s case, religion.
Of course, John F. Kennedy blazed the trail for Catholics. But it has taken nearly 50 years for another Catholic to follow him to victory on a national ticket. This time, the issue was not whether the candidate would adhere too closely to the dictates of the Catholic hierarchy. More like the opposite: Biden had to weather some serious criticism from bishops about his views on abortion (and his bad theology on the subject).
Biden’s home town, Scranton, Pa., became a national emblem of the fight for Catholic votes. Scranton’s bishop, Joseph Martino, said he would deny the Eucharist to Biden and took many other steps to condemn not only the Obama-Biden ticket but Catholics who supported it. Lackawanna County went to the Democratic ticket, 62 percent to 36 percent – the bishop’s effort to sway voters failed. In Lackawanna County, as in the nation, a majority of Catholics supported the Obama-Biden ticket.