Villanova Professor discusses the significance of Joe Biden as only the second Catholic elected President

Villanova Professor discusses the significance of Joe Biden as only the second Catholic elected President

November 7, 20202 min read
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On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 7, Joe Biden was announced by numerous media outlets as the projected winner of the 2020 Presidential Election. President-elect Biden would be only the second Roman Catholic elected President.


Massimo Faggioli, PhD, is a professor of Historical Theology, Villanova University. Dr. Faggioli discusses the significance of Biden being only the second Catholic elected president and the work he has in front of him.


“Biden is a ‘Pope Francis Catholic’—much more aligned to the political culture of the pontificate than John Kerry was as a Pope John Paul II Catholic in 2004, or Kennedy, a good Catholic in 1960. When Kennedy, the first Catholic president, was elected in 1960, US Catholicism was much less divided and in much better relations with the Vatican compared to today,” Faggioli said. “It’s the first time we have a Catholic president since the return of religion in the public square.”


“Anti-Francis Catholicism in the US goes much deeper than Trump Catholics and includes a number of US bishops. It will be difficult for Biden to navigate the triangular relations between Vatican-White House-US bishops,” continued Faggioli. “The US Conference of Catholic Bishops is paralyzed and—especially on social issues—it is difficult to take distance from a rhetoric that is very similar to the GOP, and this will show in dealing with a Biden presidency. Biden as a Catholic will have against him a powerful Catholic media system in the US that makes no mystery of its fierce opposition against Biden’s and Francis’ Catholicism.”




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  • Massimo Faggioli, PhD
    Massimo Faggioli, PhD Professor of Theology and Religious Studies | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

    Massimo Faggioli, PhD, is an expert on the history and administrative inner workings of the Catholic Church and of the papacy.

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