Joe Biden often crosses himself and looks toward the sky when saying something he jokingly might need to apologize for, regularly referring to the nuns who taught him during 12 years in Catholic school.

Now, several recent TV ads from Biden’s campaign show him standing with Pope Francis or huddled with a Jesuit priest. He’s reading from a pulpit, bowing his head in prayer, or standing solemnly in front of a church’s stained-glass window. And a radio spot includes a parishioner from Biden’s home church talking about how the Democratic presidential nominee is a regular at Sunday Mass.

“That’s Joe Biden, a man guided by faith,” she says.

In the final stretch of a campaign in which Catholic voters are seen by both parties as a decisive bloc in several battleground states, Biden’s campaign has increasingly highlighted his direct connection to the faith — and his potential to make history as the country’s second Catholic president, 60 years after John F. Kennedy became the first.

The strategy comes as President Trump and his allies have sought to portray Democrats as anti-Catholic, seizing on past criticism from some Democratic senators of the conservative Catholic teachings embraced by Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett….

Biden’s advisers see his faith and cultural touchstones — he famously carries a rosary in his pocket and in his youth had aspired to become a priest — as important ways to connect with what they refer to as the “White working-class Catholic vote” in the industrial Midwestern states. They also hope this will help him among Hispanic Catholics in the Sun Belt.

“We’re looking to organize both the Catholics in the pews every Sunday but also the cultural Catholics who were brought up around the church or still align with its social-justice teachings,” said John McCarthy, the Biden campaign’s deputy national political director. “The vice president being who he is allows him to connect. . . . Our best tool for Catholic outreach is Joe Biden.”


image…Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leaves after Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., on Oct. 3….Brendan McDermid/Reuters