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Xavier Becerra: Catholic Hitman

Pope Francis has not particularly emphasized what we call “pro-life” causes during his papacy. You can find stray remarks in his speeches or documents, of course, that affirm belief in the sanctity of human life – even from conception to natural death. But no extended treatment and nothing like the encyclicals pushing the boundaries of marriage or “human ecology.” He has, however, used a vivid image more than once about the global scourge of abortion: most recently in a written message to Argentina’s bishops, “Is it fair to hire a hit man to solve a problem?”

There’s been great excitement among liberal Catholics since the January inauguration of our self-proclaimed “Catholic” president about the convergences between the pope’s main interests – environment, poverty, refugees – and those of the Biden Administration. But on abortion no speculation is required: Joe Biden is like a mafia don, not doing the dirty work himself, but trying to hire a hitman – and (it seems) a Catholic hitman – to eliminate both unborn and very much born human life.

Biden has nominated Xavier Becerra to become Secretary of Health and Human Services – an odd choice even in mere political terms since Becerra has no experience in the health field, unless you count his efforts as Attorney General of California to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraception and more. He’s outright lied about this recently – claiming with lawyerly logic that he only sued the federal government in order to enforce a (immoral and tyrannical) law. But we have a paper trail that contradicts this claim. As Attorney General of California, Becerra was the main culprit behind California v. Little Sisters. If you need documentation of this just click here [1].

He also has a long history of trying to combat gender inequality, as Kamala Harris has reminded us.  What this means in plain American English is that he has drunk the Kool-Aid on the Original Sin of the modern feminist movement: that women can only be “equal” if they have the backstop of abortion – the killing of their own children – to prevent interruption of their educations, or their jobs, or – whatever – because they alone have the right to say who lives and dies in the womb, quite isolated from all other relationships – to the father, the child, God.

Of course, abortion is kind of ancient history now for people like Becerra, who have moved on to cutting edge progressive battles over LGBT+, transgender rights (“the” human rights issue of our time according to the “Catholic” in the White House, who personally performed a gay “marriage” as vice president. ) And we can have moral certitude that there’s even more in this general direction, outrages like euthanasia and assisted suicide, coming down the line.

All this is already quite bad, but there’s potentially even worse, a growing feature of the administration: Becerra shows no real interest in accommodations for people with different moral or philosophical or religious convictions. Like Joe Biden, who says he wants to be the president of all Americans, he has demonstrated that this means the party that didn’t get 74-million votes – darn close to half – in  2020 has the right to impose the religion of abortion and sexual liberation on us all, while expecting us to believe that is not what they are doing.


And the rest of us – the minorities that the Constitution was crafted to protect from the sheer tyranny of the majority – we still have rights, primarily the right to remain silent as Federal agencies tell us what we’re going to have to do and not do.

This problem runs all the way back to the implementation of Obamacare when we were told – without corroborating evidence – that then-Vice President Biden was trying to hold back aggressive moves against groups like the Little Sisters. He didn’t succeed. And it took several court cases to demonstrate the unconstitutionality of those aggressions, though Xavier Becerra was quite happy to refile cases to keep the pressure on. In any case, now that Biden is calling the shots, he’s made his aims clear.

Obamacare had other corrupting effects. I received a phone call from my son, John Paul, when the “individual mandate” decision came down from the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts, another Catholic in high office, wrote that the Obama Administration could collect the money for the individual mandate “as a tax.”

I was in Heathrow Airport waiting for my luggage and hooted – not a good thing to do, in public, in the United Kingdom. People tend to make unwarranted assumptions about your sanity. And in truth, I wasn’t being very rational: I thought the decision would send the Obamacare back to Congress for serious alterations since the Court had decided it didn’t pass Constitutional muster as written.

Silly me. Obama had been trying to simply force people to buy the insurance. Since the Federal government has no authority to make anybody buy anything, this was hailed as a great compromise on the part of Chief Justice Roberts, who was preserving the credibility of the Court. Or so some argued.

If I wanted to be truly foolish, I’d argue that the way you preserve the credibility of the Supreme Court, Presidency, Department of Health and Human Services, and much more in politics is by following the law. The letter of the law. The law that is supposed to treat all of us equally, not to be bent in order to satisfy some unspecified group of people who might look askance at the institutions of government if they don’t get their own way.

But that’s just the politics. Pope Francis years ago excommunicated mafiosi, the kinds of dons and bosses that hire hitmen to do the “wet work.” That’s easy enough to do in Italy, where the murderousness of the mafia is obvious and every decent person opposes it.

But there are men in nice suits – in California and Washington DC – who also hire hitmen. How long will it take for a pope to excommunicate them?


*Image: The Anti-Catholic Riot of 1844 in Philadelphia by an unknown artist, 1844 [Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia]

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent books are Columbus and the Crisis of the West and A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century.