CNA Editor's Desk

Parsing issues at the intersection of current affairs and the world's largest religious denomination is no easy task.


This fall, after the conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke said in an interview that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden "certainly" was "not a Catholic in good standing" because of his vocal support for a right to abortion, confusion swirled. Some wondered whether a person who argues that terminating a pregnancy should be legal can be considered truly a Catholic at all, given the Church's teachings on the sanctity of life. Enter CNA Editor's Desk, a podcast from the Catholic News Agency (CNA) for people who take questions like this seriously.

The weekly show, which features two canon lawyers turned journalists breaking down the news from a Catholic perspective, had posted an episode delving into Biden's Catholicism even before Burke's comment reignited interest in the subject. To the extent the former vice president rejects the Church's doctrine that life begins at conception, CNA editors J.D. Flynn and Ed Condon noted, he may well be guilty of heresy. And to the extent that his advocacy of abortion rights qualifies as "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin," he likely should not be admitted to Holy Communion.

At the same time—and contrary to the claims of some of Biden's less judicious critics—nothing can render a person, once baptized into the Church, "no longer" a Catholic. And voters ultimately must decide for themselves how to weigh the various flaws, religious or otherwise, of the various candidates for any office.

Parsing issues at the intersection of current affairs and the world's largest religious denomination is no easy task. Whether teasing out the implications of a Supreme Court decision or shedding light on the latest Vatican financial scandal, Flynn and Condon help listeners cut through the noise, and one need not be Catholic to be enlightened by their thinking.

NEXT: The Trial of the Chicago 7

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  3. This is hardly a new issue. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now ex-Pope Benedict) wrote in 2004 that pro-abortion should be denied communion.

    “But [Ratzinger’s] memo was only sent to two bishops, then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., who has since been forced to resign from the College of Cardinals and reduced to the lay state (i.e. kicked out of the priesthood) for flagrant sexual abuse and misconduct. The other bishop was then-Bishop Wilton Gregory, then-president of the USCCB, and now Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

    “McCarrick was charged with sharing the contents of Ratzinger’s memo with the U.S. Bishops. McCarrick grossly distorted and misrepresented the contents of the memo, leaving the bishops with the impression that the question was a matter for the individual bishops to decide for their own dioceses….

    “We can understand McCarrick’s motives in hiding the contents of Ratzinger’s memo, he is now living in disgrace, tragically but rightly stripped of his red cardinal’s hat and stripped of his priesthood.

    “But we don’t know why Cardinal Gregory did not reveal it to his brother bishops.”


  4. Aborto-Freaks are worse than just busy-bodies who want to impose their morality on everyone else. They are the worst of the cancel culture assholes.


    Fuck all Aborto-Freaks.

    1. ^speaks as a survivor^

    2. Way to gloss over the unresolved issues about the ethics of abortion, the person-hood of the fetus, and the philosophical and social implications of terminating life (at any stage).

      But let’s talk about the horror of people who question 31 flavors of gender, right?

    3. I think you’re missing the point – Joe’s for personal liberty so he can be President but he can’t be Catholic. Whatever you may think of aborto-freaks, Joe claims to be one of them. No, he’s not.

    4. Narrator: “But in his passion for dead babies, Buttplug became the actual aborto-freak.”

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  6. No, Joe Biden is not a Catholic in good standing. The whole sine qua non of the Catholic Church is that it’s a hierarchical structure, it’s not up to you as an individual to question the Word of God as promulgated by the Church, you must take it on faith that they have a monopoly on the Truth. That’s the whole freaking schism between the Catholic Church and Protestantism – the idea that the individual can decide for himself what the Word of God means. If Joe Biden thinks he can accept the teachings of the Church that he agrees with and ignore the teachings of the Church that he doesn’t agree with, he’s a Protestant.

  7. The Catholic Church has promoted and protected hundreds (perhaps thousands) of pedophiles worldwide for at least the past 6 decades years (and likely much longer). It’s a criminal organization worldwide that has never been held accountable.

    Even Jeffrey Epstein didn’t have the high powered political friends (as does the Catholic Church) to protect himself from being held accountable.

    The Catholic Church also continues to lobby to arrest and imprison doctors for performing abortions, including those done in the first several months of pregnancy. The church doesn’t even the most fundamental human and civil right to prevent pregnancy via contraception.

    The Catholic Church has zero respect for libertarianism or libertarians.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden is a corrupt, senile liar who has zero respect for free markets or free minds.

  8. Joe might be a baby killer, but the Catholic Church is all-in on totalitarian socialism, so they can still be buds.

    1. Their new “compassionate capitalism” initiative creeps the heck out of me.
      Maybe Luther and Calvin were right about the “Great Whore of Babylon” after all.

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  11. “support for a right to abortion”

    Is there also a right to rob a bank, or a right to rape? What about a right to torture small animals?

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