Ol’ Blue Eyes Does It His Way

Ol’ Blue Eyes Does It His Way

I believe the United States has critically declined since its leaders turned their collective backs on the Triune God. Many of them still believe in god, several gods. The pagan gods of old, such as war, wisdom, poetry, sea, thunder and beauty have been replaced by the neo-pagan gods of secular modernism, such as the human deities of politics, science, history, sex, the internet, social justice and materialism. America’s historic change echoes the words of the sage, G. K. Chesterton whose aphorism, When people choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter become capable of believing in anything still rings loudly true.

The Catholic Church seems feckless in the face of this pagan vortex. Since the Vatican II Council ended in 1965, it has had over 50 years to absorb the hectic years of solemn and political religious debate that apparently changed, not only the temperature of its bathwater but its color, purity and liquidity as well. Some of its teachings have had their elasticity so stretched that they have failed to hold together millions of its faithful. 

A case in point is its defense of the unborn and the divine sanctity of the Holy Eucharist. No individual has brought these issues to light more than President Joe Biden. While not in the same league as Martin Luther, Biden’s defiance of the Church’s teachings on the unborn, has been made worse by his die-hearted attempt to extend the bloody act past the red line of birth. I think Biden’s conduct is illustrative of just how far the Seamless Garment has distorted church teachings.  

The president’s behavior, as well as that of a few Cardinals and Bishops, has been scandalous and confusing to millions of Catholics in the pews. Even the pope seems to have given the president a green light to continue in his deadly support of unrestricted abortion. Each weekend our Pharisee president is in DC, he makes a spectacle of going to Mass in a motorcade to Holy Trinity, where John Kennedy once attended. His Catholic faith is often woven into his speeches and policies, except when it concerns abortion. 

Recently, my wife and I were early for the Sunday 11 o’clock Mass. Upon entering the church we encountered an elderly woman in a weather-beaten blouse with the American flag encompassing it. Attached to her back, just below her neck, was a tattered bumper sticker that proclaimed at my first glance: Joe Biden is my president. 

All kinds of uncharitable thoughts clouded my mind. I debated whether or not to give her a fiery denunciation but quickly decided against that. It was only when my affable wife began talking with her about Donald Trump that I looked at the sticker again and spied the one word I had missed—NOT. My speed-reading course in college had failed me once again!

While all of the above is more than enough to criticize the president for his blatant  disregard for Church moral teachings every time he presents himself for Holy Communion, recently I found another possible departure from the Church rules on the sanctity of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. When Biden was first elected to the presidency in 2020, I did a Google search of his life, two marriages, wives’ biographies and respective wedding ceremonies to familiarize myself with his family background.

Neila Hunter and Joe Biden were married on August 27, 1966*. Neila was not Catholic but the wedding took place in a beautiful Catholic Church in her home town of Skaneateles, New York. They had met on spring break in Nassau in 1963. After just six years of marriage, Neila was tragically killed at the age of 30 in an auto accident on December 18, 1972. She had been running Christmas errands with their three children. Their boys Beau and Hunter were critically injured but survived. Their infant daughter, Naomi, died with her mother.

Two years ago, while on my Google search, I found pictures of their elaborate wedding with all the pageantry and mystery a Catholic wedding can bring. Just recently, I went looking for those same pictures and could not find a word of their marriage, other than the date. No pictures were to be found anywhere nor the name of the Church. The account seems to have mysteriously disappeared from the Internet. This is very curious to me since it was that wedding that prompted the question as to what kind of wedding did the second Mrs. Biden have?

Very little is available on that nuptial. The Bidens were quietly married in 1977. The bride was nine years younger than the groom and they had dated for two years. I was quite surprised when I read that the future President and First Lady had married in the UN Chapel in New York City, allegedly by a Catholic priest, though his name does not seem to be part of the slim public record. Even so, priests have been known to marry even gay people in defiance of church law. This raises questions about the legitimacy of their marriage in the eyes of the Church.

It became more complicated when I discovered that Jill Tracy Jacobs’s first marriage was in 1970 to a college football player, named Bill Stevenson when she was just 19. Stevenson soon became the affluent owner of the Stone Balloon, one of the most popular bars near the University of Delaware. He was also a donor to one of the Biden campaigns and said later that his wife had first met Joe Biden in their kitchen. Biden says that his brother introduced them. The couple divorced five years later.

Shortly after his UN wedding, Biden made a controversial quote, which first appeared in a summer issue of the Wilmington, Delaware newspaper, the Morning News shortly after this second marriage. Its catchy headline read: Joe Biden avoids telling the press his wife is a divorcee. The future president added: I thought that the fact Jill was married before had no relevance. Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas used Biden’s incredible statement to begin his lengthy article on their marriage for The Catholic World Report, early in 2023.   

The future president’s bizarre statement raises even more questions about his past devotion or even knowledge of his church’s teachings. While he did not attend any Catholic schools past the eight grade, the president must have been absent during religion class. He is just a year older than I am and I remember the nuns were very devoted to their faith and taught it with passion and enthusiasm.

Father Stravinskas answered all of my questions and even confirmed many of my suspicions, Since Joe had been a priest collector his whole life, then why did he hold a destination wedding in New York to be married by an anonymous priest? No mention was made about who served as their witnesses. In researching the wedding at the aforementioned chapel, the author interviewed Dr. Melvin Hawthorne, a United Methodist Church minister and now the UN chaplain. He said that in 1977 the site was the scene of 400 weddings, 60% of which were for couples of different faiths, many of whom had run into snags elsewhere. 

Fr. Stravinskas speculates what such snags there could have been for the Bidens. A number of permissions to marry outside of a Catholic Church would have been needed since Jill was a divorcee. For a legitimate Catholic wedding to have taken place, there had to be a pre-nuptial investigation. Was Jill willing to submit their union to a diocesan tribunal for a possible decree of nullity? If so, was the decree of nullity issued? What about pre-Cana instructions? There seems to be no record of any of these.

Fr. Stravinskas made additional attempts to ascertain if the Biden wedding was indeed approved by the Catholic Church. If their UN ceremony was recognized, it would have been entered into the marriage register of the parish church in whose boundaries the UN Chapel sits. In their case that church was Holy Family. Their current pastor is Father Gerald Murray, a well-known priest because of his ties to the Catholic TV station EWTN. He is a canonical lawyer as well. Father Murray stated that many Catholic weddings have been recorded in his register from the UN Chapel. The Bidens’ was not one of them.

The author also made a call to the chancellor of the Diocese of Wilmington, where the Biden’s Delaware home is and asked about the Bidens’ wedding. The Diocese refused to comment on his question as to whether or not the Bidens had followed the strict canonical form. When reminded that this question was not intruding on the of secrecy about sins in the confessional but a public act that on face value seemed at variance with Catholic teachings on sacramental marriage. The answer was still No comment! Absent a positive comment, one can only conclude that something is seriously amiss on this subject of the Biden’s marriage. This is especially true when read in light of Biden’s incriminating quote for the Morning News.

Father Stravinskas reiterates that this is not a private matter between Joe and his confessor as abortion would have been if the president had not make a public issue out of it. Marriage is a public act and Joe Biden’s vainglorious disregard for any rules seems to be a Biblical reminder of the serpent’s promise of divine equality in the Garden of Eden.

Father Stravinskas ends his article with a reminder that Joe Biden, who has always boasted about his years of Catholic education with the nuns in elementary school, should have recalled the Lord’s warning: For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  

The accompanying issue that also needs to be answered is why has the Catholic Church been ignoring the aberrant religious and sacramental behavior of a Pharisee who parades his faith in front of the world when he may have also publicly violated the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage? Last October, while in Rome, the president told the press that the subject of abortion had not come up but the pontiff had told him that he was happy I’m a good Catholic and that the president should keep receiving Communion. Nothing but a neutral silence from Pope Francis.

This president seems to suffer from a moral dissonance that has him holding conflicting beliefs such as his attachment to the Woke culture that is at seriously odds with the Catholic faith and his several boasts as a devout Catholic. Pope Francis and Cardinal Gregory have been quick to judge former president Trump and he is not even a Catholic. But not a word on our second Catholic president. Is their loyalty to the Church so great that they can excuse one of our own public members from its moral and sacramental rules? I believe all Catholics deserve proper answers to these questions.

All of the above has also prompted the subject of excommunication among many of the faithful. Abortion is one of those offense for which a Catholic can be excluded from the Church community for taking any part in one, as well as promoting it. Many years ago, we were taught that to marry outside of the Church was a similar offense. My first wife and I promised each one of our children that we could not attend such a wedding if they chose that path. The pain of watching such a sinful act would have also clouded the whole day for us. 

Now it is my understanding that the original teaching had been modified in 1983 when Pope John Paul II changed the punishments for Catholics marrying outside the faith. It is still considered sinful but excommunication is not a part of it. With regard to Joe Biden’s 1977 wedding, to me it would seem the original rules would still apply to him. If my supposition is correct this would mean that Joe has not really been a member in good standing since his second wedding day. Has this all been pushed under the rug, just like his public stance on abortion?  

According to Andrew C. McCarthy in a recent edition of the New York Post, the findings of the House Oversight Committee on several members of the Biden family, focusing mainly on its history of influence pedaling among a number of our adversaries, especially the People’s Republic of China. To me this implies that this president thinks he is above our Constitution.  

Does he also think he is above God’s law? Does he consider himself a rival to God as many in this country seem to do on the Left? Joe is not an abusive priest who can be easily moved to another parish. Next to the pontiff, Biden is arguably the most visible Catholic in the world. Does the Vatican not recognize what their silence does to their credibility and their ability to minister to the faithful? Should not the official Church or at least the pope do or say something to right these wrongs? If not, too many Catholics will have no hesitation in joining the chorus of our blue-eyed president, as he croons his favorite Frank Sinatra tune I Did It My Way. 

*On that same exact date I married Judith C. O’Rourke in a small Catholic wedding, at St. Henry’s Church in Charleston, Missouri. She died of natural causes fifty years later.

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Written by
William Borst