The Rise of Performative Catholicism

Once society allows individuals to claim an identity grounded exclusively in emotion or desire, anyone can claim to be a practicing Catholic no matter their beliefs or actions.

Performative Catholicism has become the norm today, and the Rosary is the primary tool in the performance. President Joe Biden loves to show off his rosary, such as during a virtual conversation with Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador. Claiming his devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe—despite the fact that President Biden has promoted the most extreme pro-abortion policies in history—Biden told Obrador that he had visited Mexico four times as vice president and during his visits he “paid his respects to the Virgin of Guadalupe.”

Performative Catholicism was also on display during the contentious D.C. trial (United States v. Handy) of several pro-life activists who were indicted by Biden’s Department of Justice for conspiring to block access to a D.C. abortion facility. Testifying against the pro-life defendants, one of the abortion provider’s employees—a woman who has been working at the late-term abortion clinic for more than three decades—told the court that she showed her rosary beads to the pro-life demonstrators during a protest at her clinic in 2020. She claimed that she told one of the protestors, “I’m a Catholic. It’s my whole life.”

Like Biden, who claimed during his 2020 campaign that he “goes to Mass and says the rosary,” the abortion provider employee suggested that her Catholic faith sustained her—claiming that her Catholicism is her “whole life”—despite the fact that she has been actively engaging in assisting with abortions for more than thirty years. And like Biden, who has done more to expand access to abortion than any previous president, the rosary-clutching abortion worker appears to see no contradiction between calling herself Catholic and providing late-term abortions to women in her abortion facility.

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