US president Joe Biden has talked openly about relying on faith in God to guide him through the many difficulties the country faces at this time.
Biden, 78, said that he is attending church every week and looking to prayer for hope as he tackles the raging Covid-19 pandemic and related economic crisis. "I don't want to proselytise. My religion, for me, is a safe place. I never miss mass, because I can be alone," he told People Magazine in a recent interview. "I mean, I'm with my family, but just kind of absorbing the fundamental principle that you've got to treat everyone with dignity."
Biden went on to say that when his wife, first lady Dr Jill Biden, wants him to "get a real message", she'll tape it to the mirror above where he shaves. Recently, she pinned up a quote from a famous theologian.
"She put up a great quote from [Danish philosopher] Kierkegaard saying, ‘Faith sees best in the dark,'" Biden recalled. "Other people may meditate. For me, prayer gives me hope, and it centers me.”
Many in the Catholic community have pointed out that Biden holds views that are at odds with traditional Catholic teaching - for example, he supports the right to have an abortion. During the first White House press briefing, a reporter from Catholic outlet EWTN asked about Biden's policies on this issue.
"I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic," press secretary Jen Psaki responded, "and somebody who attends church regularly. He started his day attending church with his family this morning".
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops have also expressed concern over Biden's stance on the issue, insisting that he has "pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity".
"For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the “preeminent priority,"" they added. "Preeminent does not mean “only.” We have deep concerns about many threats to human life and dignity in our society.
"But as Pope Francis teaches, we cannot stay silent when nearly a million unborn lives are being cast aside in our country year after year through abortion."