Tim Kaine’s Catholic morality at odds with some public actions
By Kelly Thomas | July 27, 2016, 6:19 EST
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, frequently references his Roman Catholic faith as a driving force in his career. A closer look, however, reveals a politician who has at times chosen the Democratic Party line over the teachings of the Church, particularly on issues of abortion and same-sex marriage.
The Boston Globe reported that the Harvard Law graduate and former civil rights attorney his passion for social justice developed during his year spent working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Honduras. But although his advocacy for Virginia’s underserved communities no doubt echoes the Church’s mission, his other political stances are less in sync with Catholic doctrine.
Kaine stated that he is personally morally opposed to abortion, and as Virginia governor authorized the sale of “Choose Life” license plates to fund religious counseling clinics that discouraged abortion and backed Virginia’s “informed consent” law, which requires women seeking the procedure to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds, according to the Washington Post.
Yet, Kaine has a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood, and has publicly affirmed his support for Roe v. Wade decision, the 1973 Suprme Court decision that guaranteed the legal right to an abortion through the ninth month of pregnancy.
As United States Senator from Virginia, Kaine co-sponsored a bill designed to require employers to provide health coverage for contraception and abortifacients that are against their religious beliefs. Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities condemned the measure in a letter addressed to the Senate in July 2014.
“Though cast as a response to the Supreme Court’s narrow decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby,” O’Malley wrote, “the bill ranges far beyond that decision, potentially attacking all existing federal protections of conscience and religious freedom regarding health coverage mandates.”
In 2006, as governor of Virginia, Kaine campaigned against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia. His stance against the ban directly contradicted Richmond’s Bishop DiLorenzio, who had penned an appeal to Virginia Catholics to vote for the proposed ban.
Colleagues from both parties have praised Kaine’s likeable nature and willingness to compromise politically. However, touting the possible vice president’s Jesuit credentials and personal piety may not dispel Catholic voters’ concern with how his “compromises” undermine Church teachings.
Providence Bishop Tobin, a vocal critic of socially liberal Catholic politicians, shared these fears when he lamented in a Facebook post:
“Senator Kaine has said, ‘My faith is central to everything I do.’ But apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.”
Contact Kelly Thomas at [email protected].