CNA Staff, Oct 2, 2020 / 08:00 am America/Denver (CNA).
Hours before President Donald Trump announced that he had contracted the coronavirus, the president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden offered remarks at a virtual Al Smith Dinner Thursday evening, with each making a pitch to Catholic voters. Biden emphasized his personal connection to the Catholic faith, while Trump touted his record on religious liberty and abortion.
The annual dinner is hosted by the Al Smith Memorial Foundation, named for the former New York governor who was also the first Catholic to be nominated for president in 1928. The foundation raises money for charitable causes, and has announced it is sending $8 million in COVID relief to non-profit groups.
Every four years in a presidential election year, the Archdiocese of New York invites the presidential nominees of both major political parties to the dinner where it is traditional for the candidates to roast one another in a light-hearted manner. On Thursday, however, both candidates eschewed that tradition and took a serious note in their remarks.
In his remarks, Biden, a Catholic, noted the pandemic and economic recession, combined with a “reckoning on race” and climate change. Through all these problems, he said, “our faith is tested.”
“I know for me, my Catholic faith has helped me through the darkness, and I’ve had to bury pieces of my soul deep in the earth, and eventually found purpose to live a life worthy of those I’ve lost,” he said.