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Issues to be Set Right on Biden’s Plate

The new President of the United States is served grave international issues on his plate–climate change, nuclear weapons, abortion, arms trade, development aid­–all issues Pope Francis has insisted need to be set right.

The U.S. and Russia have hundreds of nuclear weapons aimed at each other, armed, and ready to be used within minutes. Pope Francis has forcefully condemned the possession of these weapons of mass destruction as immoral.  

The U.N. “Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons” just entered into force on Jan. 22. The U.S. should vigorously negotiate with the other eight nuclear powers, and sign and ratify this highly moral treaty.

This year marks the 48th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Every year in the U.S. about 900,000 unborn babies are brutally dismembered and killed by legal abortions.  

Unfortunately, Biden is on record as being overwhelmingly pro-abortion. This is one issue that Catholics need to oppose the president on–with respectful dialogue and firm political pressure. 

In light of Catholic social teaching, progressive-leaning Catholics would be morally and intellectually honest in getting onboard here. And likewise, conservative-leaning Catholics would be morally and intellectually honest in getting onboard with pretty much all of the rest of the Biden agenda. 

The U.S. is the world’s leading arms merchant. Therefore, the Biden administration needs to end the selling and giving of weapons that fuel many of the world’s deadly armed conflicts and negotiate with the other arms-producing nations to do likewise. 

Less than one percent of the U.S. federal budget is appropriated for international poverty-focused development assistance. With thousands of children dying every day around the world from hunger and hunger-related diseases, the Biden administration needs to urge Congress to robustly increase this amount. 

Sharply reducing the astronomical $740 billion U.S. military budget would completely fund the total eradication of domestic and global hunger and extreme poverty.   

Thirty years ago, while working as special assistant for public policy for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Wilmington, I spoke one Saturday evening during Mass on social justice and peace issues at St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. After Mass, a parishioner said to me, “Biden was here.” And as I reflected on that, I remember hoping that my words were seeds planted by the Holy Spirit in then U.S. Senator Biden’s heart. 

This experience speaks to me, and I hope to you, that the Spirit time and again, uses us in wonderfully surprising ways–often unknown to us at the time. So it’s of the utmost importance for us to always be attentive to the Spirit’s voice and willing to act on it in our everyday comings and goings. 

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