Religion teacher reflects on Biden’s first year

Kasberg: I am disappointed in president’s pro-choice stance


Megaphone file photo

Theology teacher Mrs. Cece Kasberg ’83 and her students view a specially printed St. John’s Bible in her classroom.

Damian Ehrman, Reporter

Jan. 20, 2022, marks one year since President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. took the oath of office.

And already Biden, the second Catholic U.S. President in history, has drawn criticism from his fellow Catholics for many of his political stances. Some members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have even advocated denying the president the sacrament of Communion because of his publicly pro-choice stance on abortion.

However, not everyone agrees with this idea. Freshman religion teacher Mrs. Cece Kasberg ‘83 is among this group. She said she believes this is a very personal issue. “Who am I to say ‘you can’t take communion this Sunday’ or ‘you’re not worthy’? That’s for God to decide,” Kasberg said. “That’s for God to do. There’s a lot more to that,” added Kasberg, who suggested that Biden, a member of the Democratic Party, is being targeted in part because he’s a public official. “How do I know he didn’t go to confession two minutes before Mass?” she said.

However, she did say that Biden is far from a perfect role model for Catholics. Kasberg said, “I am disappointed in his pro-choice stance, as it denies babies in the womb the fundamental Catholic – and Christian – stance that we all have equal dignity and worth from conception to natural death.”

The teacher also said, “(Biden) voted pro-choice as a senator on the stance, but it’s morally wrong. The argument usually used is ‘I don’t want to violate anyone’s Constitutional rights,’ but what about the rights of the unborn child?”

Essentially, Kasberg said that Biden is personally pro-life but voted pro-choice supposedly to maintain the separation of church and state. Kasberg, however, believes as a Catholic that God’s laws supersede the country’s laws (what is often referred to as Catholic social teaching), and the president should take his political stances accordingly. “I think as Catholics, God’s law should and must enter into every conversation that deal(s) with the welfare (and) well being of others,” she said. “You can’t say abortion is wrong (and) is murder and then say you don’t want to pass your opinions on others who may not agree. If you know it’s wrong because taking a life is wrong, then it’s wrong in all cases.”

Kasberg does not believe our country’s separation of church and state should be abolished, however. “In a way I can see why it’s needed,” she said. “That’s how our forefathers drew up the Constitution. It has its advantages; it has its disadvantages.”

If you know it’s wrong because taking a life is wrong, then it’s wrong in all cases.”

— Mrs. Cece Kasberg '83

Abortion and separation of church and state are not the only issues on which Kasberg commented on Biden’s tenure. “I don’t know (if Biden has) done anything really great on the border with immigration,” she said. “We’re still having problems. Not that I expected him to have it all figured out in a year or two, as it is a very complicated issue, but I was hoping for a more definitive plan to be put in place after he became president.”

This comes as there has recently been an influx of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. “We have people fleeing to America in dire situations,” Kasberg said. “Are we not called to minister to them?”

All these aforementioned concerns Kasberg has with some of Biden’s stances aren’t her biggest. “My fear with Biden being an openly Catholic president is this: that Catholics will think it’s OK to pick and choose which issues they are in agreement with the Church,” Kasberg said. “To me, if you say you are Catholic, it means you agree with the Church on all issues, not just some of them.”  Kasberg said even though the president is pro-choice, “Catholics are called to be pro-life, meaning everyone has equal dignity and worth.”

However, Kasberg didn’t offer complete criticism of Biden’s job as president. “He has many good Catholic habits,” she said, “(He) says the rosary, (he) attends Mass every week, (and he) prays a lot.” Kasberg, who said she feels “Biden has done a good job with some things,” also praised the president’s character in a comparison to the former president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, a member of the Republican Party. “(Biden’s) attitude and persona in general is a lot more calm (than Trump’s),” she said.

All in all, Kasberg, who doesn’t believe Biden will change his stances that she notes are at odds with Catholic social teaching, gave somewhat of a mixed approval of the president and his Catholicity. To sum up Biden’s tenure thus far, Kasberg said, “In general, it appears his moral conscious is in keeping with Catholic social teaching on most issues, except for the abortion issue.”