I am writing to you in response to a column that appeared in your paper on Wednesday, Feb. 3, by Steven Roberts, a teacher of politics and journalism at George Washington University, titled "The picture behind Biden." 

The editorial was offensive and misleading. He begins by touting Biden’s Catholic piety. Piety is an outward appearance and is not to be confused with genuine holiness. Genuine holiness requires fidelity to Catholic Church teaching, which requires a Catholic to not only believe Church teaching, but to stand up for Church teaching, including the defense of human life from conception to natural death. 

No one can be a “cafeteria Catholic,” picking and choosing which beliefs and commandments to believe, ignore, or dissent from, and be considered a “faithful Catholic.” True holiness begins with obedience to the Divine law. 

To ignore or bracket the commandment, “You shall not kill,” is a serious departure from holiness and Godliness. To even say that “Pope Francis tried to move the Catholic Church away from its obsession with issues like abortion and gay rights and toward Jesus’ core message of serving the poor and persecuted,” is misleading, if not false. 

The Catholic Church has always been on the forefront of fighting poverty and injustice since the first century. One only needs to look into Catholic charitable organizations such as Cross Catholic, Catholic Relief Services, and Catholic Charities USA, to see the vast love and concern for the poor that is characteristic of the Catholic Church. 

The protection of the unborn in the womb is the most basic social justice issues of our time. Pope Francis spoke in a pro-life homily once comparing the abortionist to a mafia hit man. That is hardly soft on the issue of abortion. 

Labels like “reactionary” applied to bishops who correctly teach the faith are manipulative. I read Archbishop Gomez’s letter, and I found it to be mainstream Catholic teaching, not meriting the label “reactionary” as Professor Roberts implied. Breaking Catholics into factions (Biden Catholics vs. Scalia Catholics) was an insult to faithful Catholics. Faithful Catholics follow Jesus Christ, not any ideologue. 

St. Paul addresses divisions boldly (I Corinthians 1:10-17) when he warns the Corinthian community not to split into factions with any charismatic person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reveals Catholic teaching. To read what the Catholic Church teaches with authority and clarity, look up subjects 2270 – 75, 2319, and 2322 – 23.

Fr. Brian R. LaBurt, Valdosta 

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