So the candidates’ faith did come up tonight, when the moderator, ABC News' Martha Raddatz, asked this:
I want to move on, and I want to return home for these last few questions. This debate is, indeed, historic. We have two Catholic candidates, first time, on a stage such as this. And I would like to ask you both to tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion.
Please talk about how you came to that decision. Talk about how your religion played a part in that. And, please, this is such an emotional issue for so many people in this country, please talk personally about this, if you could.
What a lost opportunity! If the moderator planned to discuss faith, and I’m glad she did, why limit the discussion to one issue, however important, when the full spectrum of Catholic social teaching is ripe for an expansive and thought provoking conversation?
A priest friend tweeted me this:
I would say her question was hackneyed. Just ask how your shared faith motivates your positions.
I think Ryan and Biden both gave convincing, sincere answers. But to limit the conversation about their Catholic faith to abortion is shameful. What about poverty? Immigration? Unions? The environment? Believe it or not, these are all “Catholic” issues too.
Tonight’s debate was energizing and revealing. But what a lost opportunity for both candidates to explain how their faith shapes their leadership.
Michael J. O’Loughlin