Dear Pope Emeritus: The 5 Non-negotiables are official US Policy – Are they “Catholics” policy too?

Dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,

We live in a time of massive suppression of free speech in the United States.  The truth is frequently a victim of our “cancel culture.”  It is evident by your recent comments that Joe Biden is “Catholic and observant” that you are not fully aware of his history and policies. Allow me to shed some light on our current administration by providing some instruction to my fellow American Catholics. 

The 5 non-negotiables played a large role in the recent presidential election.  As we discussed in a previous article, the non-negotiables that Catholics should always reject are usually listed as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and “homosexual marriage.” Joe Biden is probably the second most recognized Catholic in the world, so two related questions are worth asking. First, are the 5 non-negotiables now US policy?  Second, can they be termed “Catholics” policy? A review of the core five will reveal the answer.

Joe Biden and the Democratic party aggressively campaigned on a pro-late-term abortion, pro-child sex-change, pro-gay marriage, pro-contraception mandate platform that placed religious liberty beneath secular orthodoxy. A review of the Democratic platform on abortion and homosexual marriage demonstrates that the Biden Administration embraces these inherent evils.  What about embryonic stem cell research?

In 2001 newly elected President Bush barred the National Institutes of Health from funding research on embryonic stem cells beyond using 60 cell lines that existed at that time. This was nearly immediately reversed after the Obama/Biden administration took control of the White House in 2009.  During the campaign in 2008, Biden attempted to link concern for children with disabilities with the need to support stem cell research.   While a senator during the Bush presidency, he pushed the then president to expand federal funding of human embryonic stem cell experimentation.  While recent proclamations are in short supply, the evidence indicates that Biden is against the Catholic Church’s teaching on embryonic stem cell research.

On Euthanasia, the Democrat Party believes that terminally ill patients should be able to end their life by assisted suicide.  Interestingly, Biden’s Coronavirus Task Force has many proponents of euthanasia.  Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel argues in an essay with The Atlantic magazine that at age 75 health care should change, indicating that at that age “my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either.” Another Task Force member, Dr. David Kessler, is an advocate for physician-assisted suicide.  The combination of the Democratic platform and perspective of key “medical” personnel makes it highly probable that euthanasia is now US policy in the executive branch.

The investigation of Biden’s support for human cloning yields the least amount of data.  The only specific piece of evidence is from a 1998 vote to ban human cloning in the Senate (bill 1601).  Then-Senator Biden voted no to banning human cloning.  Though the topic has not come up in recent public policy debates, there is no reason to believe he has changed his opinion on this topic. 

Last year the US Council of Catholic Bishops did mention the “non-negotiables” in  their guidance to Catholic voters, those issues which are inherently evil.  Yet they were not emphasized. Part of the challenge in understanding the Church’s teaching presented in “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” is the amount of material in the document.  While the information is helpful, it is doubtful many Catholics took the time to read the complete text.  More importantly, there was little clarity offered by most bishops and priests, with no clear lines of teaching about the difference between inherently evil actions and those of prudential judgement, such as how much to give to the poor, issues of war, and the death penalty.  Many clerics even expressed support for the candidate that ignores the Church on the most critical life issues, further devaluing the document.

There are conflicting reports concerning which candidate won the “Catholic” vote, though all show a 1 or 2-point margin of difference. In essence, it was a tie. However, if we look at practicing Catholics, President Trump won handily. The corollary is true as well, non-practicing Catholics voted for Biden.  Whatever the reason, it makes sense. Those self-identified Catholics who don’t believe in or follow the teaching of the Church voted for the candidate who self-identifies as Catholic yet doesn’t follow Church teaching on the non-negotiables.  As a comparison, only about 20% of Evangelicals voted for the Catholic who opposes the Church’s teaching on life issues.

Based on the evidence provided above, it is clear that the non-Negotiables are supported, either enthusiastically or modestly, by the most prominent Catholic in America.  Initial administration decisions show an aggressive anti-Catholic Church stance on the most important life issues. Appointees, many identifying as Catholics, virulently seek to oppose and silence the Church.  Religious liberty is suppressed, as is speech going against the doctrines of the secular oligarchy.

The 5 Non-negotiables are now official US policy in the administration of “the second Catholic president;” thanks in part to his fellow “Catholics.” Will the bishops respond from the pulpit? If not, within a short time the 5 non-negotiables will be “Catholics” policy.  All polls surveying Catholic attitudes show the number of Church members adhering to orthodoxy declining.  If you don’t believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, think that everyone goes to heaven and every Church is the same, why be Catholic.  The Church is shrinking and many that remain in the pews don’t abide by Church teaching.  The power of persuasion resident in the presidency and the lack of clear and forceful teaching in the Church is a deadly combination. The reluctance of Church leaders to catechize their flock or oppose the secular humanist culture will surely continue the recent trend of souls being lost to the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

Pope Emeritus, please pray for the soul of our nation, as we will pray for you and the soul of our Church.

“Not to oppose error is to approve it, and not to defend truth is to suppress it; and indeed, to neglect to confront evil men, when we can do it, is no less a sin than to encourage them.”
Pope St. Felix III

Edward J Barr is a Catechist, an attorney, an intelligence officer, a Marine, and a university faculty member. He has just completed his studies for a Master’s degree in theology from the Augustine Institute. Mr. Barr is a contributing writer for the Roma Locuta Est blog (

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