Hillary Clinton has named a Catholic as her running mate in the American presidential race. Tim Kaine regularly attends Mass, and sometimes sings in the choir at the church in Richmond, Virginia, where he and his wife have worshipped for 30 years.
Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, though raised a Catholic, is now an Evangelical, though he calls himself a “Catholic Evangelical”.
Incumbent Joe Biden is the only Catholic vice president in US history.
What the media are saying
The Daily Beast noted that Kaine was not only educated at a Jesuit high school but also spent a year with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, which he describes as a “transformative event”, giving him a “sense of mission in life at a time when I lacked it”. Calling him a “Pope Francis Catholic”, the article argued that Kaine had “the potential to be a transformative figure”. It said: “Kaine’s old-school, social-justice, Jesuit-trained Catholicism is a refreshing break from the usual association of religiosity with conservatism.”
ABC News reported that Kaine and his wife were greeted with applause when they entered their church last Sunday. At the end of the Mass his wife, Anne Holton, thanked the parish, saying they had been a part of every chapter of their lives. She added: “We will really need your prayers.”
What Catholics are saying
In a piece at americamagazine.org Michael O’Loughlin noted that Kaine claimed to hold the “traditional Catholic personal position” on abortion but is none the less a “strong supporter” of Roe v. Wade.
LifeSiteNews reported that he had a “perfect pro-abortion voting record in the Senate”.
Kaine has also been criticised for approving executions while Governor of Virginia, despite being personally opposed to the death penalty.
The National Catholic Reporter quoted Kaine as saying: “My faith is central to everything I do.” It pointed out that he was a strong supporter of women’s ordination. “There is nothing this Pope could do that would improve the world as much as putting the Church on a path to ordain women,” Kaine has said.
The most overlooked story of the week
✣Muslims help to build church in Pakistan
In a small village near Gojra in the Punjab province of Pakistan, Muslims are helping Christians to build a church, according to a report by the BBC’s Saba Eitizaz. “After local riots we are trying to bring people together,” said one Muslim man. “By building this church we want to show we are united as a community.”
Why was it under-reported?
The scale of Christian persecution in Pakistan is not fully grasped in Britain. This good news story runs counter to the prevailing trend. In the nearest city to this village, 10 Christians died in mob violence in 2009.
But here there is hope that communal violence can be defeated by individual acts of love. A Christian villager said: “Since my childhood we have all lived together in this one place. We are together in times of happiness and grief. I pray that we never have to go through what happened in Gojra ever.”
What will happen next?
Nationally the situation does not look good. The country’s harsh blasphemy laws are routinely used to settle personal grievances, when Muslim and Christian neighbours fall out. In the most high-profile case, Christian mother of five Asia Bibi has spent seven years awaiting her fate after a Muslim woman accused her of contaminating water by drinking from it; her case is now being heard by the Supreme Court, with hardline Muslims calling for her immediate execution. Several of her supporters have been killed.
✣The week ahead
World Youth Day finishes this weekend with both solemn and celebratory events. Today, Pope Francis visits Auschwitz, where he is expected to pray in silence rather than make a speech. Tomorrow, he will visit the Chapel of St Faustina, before hearing Confessions later in the day. The closing Mass will be on Sunday at 10am, and the farewell ceremony at 6.15pm. Next week, meanwhile, the Pope will make a pilgrimage to Assisi. On Wednesday, to mark the feast of the Pardon of Assisi, he will pay a visit to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, then meet Franciscan bishops and superiors.
Catholic athletes will have access to the sacraments during the Olympics, which begin next Friday. At the inter-religious centre in the Olympic village, Mass will be celebrated every day in Spanish, Portuguese and English. Priests will also be available, according to Olympic authorities. Some teams, including Germany, have brought their own chaplain.