Fintan O’Toole: Catholicism is right at the heart of epic US presidential election

Trump’s biggest political achievement is his alliance with Catholic America

The political meaning of Catholicism is right at the heart of this epic contest between Joe Biden, who identifies himself emphatically as an ‘Irish Catholic’, and sitting US president Donald Trump. Photographs: Jim Watson, Brendan SmialowskI/AFP via Getty Images

The political meaning of Catholicism is right at the heart of this epic contest between Joe Biden, who identifies himself emphatically as an ‘Irish Catholic’, and sitting US president Donald Trump. Photographs: Jim Watson, Brendan SmialowskI/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden has repeatedly characterised the US presidential election as a “battle for the soul of America”. But it is, much more specifically, a battle for the soul of Catholic America. On the one side, Biden, if elected, would be only the second Catholic president – and he models himself very obviously on the first, John F Kennedy.

On the other, Donald Trump, after he nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy on the supreme court created by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, claimed that “the Catholic Church is very well united on this. They are so thrilled that Amy has been chosen.”

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