CBS Host Ed O’Keefe Prods DC Archbishop to Categorize Biden as a ‘Cafeteria Catholic’

News & Politics

On Easter Sunday, CBS’s Face the Nation turned to two prominent Washington religious leaders: Cardinal Wilton Gregory, the Catholic archbishop of Washington and Rev. Mariann Budde, Bishop of Washington for the Episcopal Church, which is politically a better fit for Biden.

White House correspondent Ed O’Keefe was the substitute host, and he seemed most interested in underlining how Biden faithfully attends Catholic services, and not so much whether he’s in complete contradiction with Catholic teaching on the hot-button social and sexual issues. He kept pressing the Cardinal on if Biden “resonates” with Catholic voters:

ED O’KEEFE: In the case of the president, do you get a sense that his regular attendance and adherence to the faith resonates with American Catholics?

CARDINAL GREGORY: I could say that he’s very sincere about his faith, but like a number of Catholics, he picks and chooses dimensions of the faith to highlight while ignoring or even contradicting other parts. There is a phrase that we have used in the past, a cafeteria Catholic, you choose that which is attractive and dismiss that which is challenging.

REV. BUDDE: Or, as Thomas Aquinas would say, you allow your conscience to guide you.

Gregory has been very careful in his public remarks on the president, so even dropping the “cafeteria Catholic” line was a bit surprising – more surprising than Budde’s Biden boosterism. O’Keefe played dumb about Biden contradicting the church aggressively on abortion and on this day, promoting a “Transgender Day of Visibility” on social media.

ED O’KEEFE: Is there something on the menu he’s not ordering, in your view, so to speak?

WILTON CARDINAL GREGORY: Well, I would say there are things, especially in terms of the life issues, there are things that he chooses to ignore or he uses the current situation as a political pawn rather than saying, look, my church believes this –

Budde interrupted:

BUDDE: It’s also possible to be a practitioner of the faith as a public leader and not require everyone that you lead in your country to be guided by all of the precepts of your faith, right?

O’KEEFE: And in my coverage of him, it seems that is what he believes.

BUDDE: That’s what I would interpret.

There’s a point that a Catholic president shouldn’t impose every Catholic teaching into public policy. But O’Keefe and Budde are seeking to have it both ways: Biden’s a “devout Catholic” and a devout Democrat, and never mind how much they can’t logically coexist.

O’Keefe kept pressing on Biden’s “resonance.”

ED O’KEEFE: Is there any Biden effect in the pews, perhaps?

GREGORY: I would not put a lot of emphasis on that.

ED O’KEEFE: Okay.

GREGORY: He does attend church regularly with great, you know, devotion. But he also steps aside some of the hot-button issues or uses the hot-button issues as a political tool, which it’s not – it is not the way I think we would want our faith to be used.

Budde then gushed over how she “admires tremendously” Biden’s attendance at funerals at their Washington National Cathedral, pretending it’s amazing that a politician would stay for the whole service. 

PS: Earlier in the show, O’Keefe pressed Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) to criticize Donald Trump for ads selling a “God Bless the USA” Bible:  “I got to ask, President Trump this past week unveiled what he calls the God Bless the USA Bible, which not only has the words of scripture in it, but also the text of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and a few other things. Do you think it’s appropriate for the former president, for the likely Republican nominee to be selling such a product?”

When Turner detoured around an answer, O’Keefe pressed again: “Okay but you wouldn’t buy a copy of this Trump Bible, would you?” Turner said “I’m not writing a check for that.”

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