Biden’s Pro-Abortion Stance Rejected by His Hometown Bishop
November 14, 2008 - 6:31 PMRev. Joseph F. Martino, bishop of the diocese of Scranton, Pa., the city lifelong Catholic Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) claims as his hometown and the place that inspired his values, has condemned the vice president-elect for his pro-abortion position.
“I cannot have a vice president-elect coming to Scranton to say he’s learned his values there when those values are utterly against the teachings of the Catholic Church,” Martino said at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore this week.
Martino has consistently spoken out against politicians who support abortion, including in a pastoral letter dated Sept. 15, 2005.
“I will not tolerate any politician who claims to be a faithful Catholic who is not genuinely pro-life,” Martino said. “No Catholic politician who supports the culture of death should approach Holy Communion. I will be truly vigilant on this point.”
Other bishops have also spoken out against Biden and his pro-abortion stand.
The Associated Press has reported that Rev. Jay Scott Newman circulated a letter to parishioners at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., informing them that if they voted for Obama-Biden, they must not receive Holy Communion.
Voting for the pro-abortion Obama and Biden “constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil,” wrote Newman, and “those Catholics who do so place themselves outside the full communion of Christ’s church and under the judgment of divine law. Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament in Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation.”
The Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida, Rev. John Ricard SSJ, sent the following letter to Biden after he received communion in his diocese while on the campaign trail.
Dear Senator Biden,
I learned recently of your visit to the diocese during the political campaign and that you attended the celebration of Sunday Mass in a local parish. The Church of Pensacola- Tallahassee welcomes all people of good will, all the baptized to pray with us. In particular, we welcome our fellow Catholics who seek to fulfill their Sunday obligation in a spirit of communion by participating in Sunday Mass.
Sunday Mass provides Catholics with the nourishment to live in the image of Jesus Christ whose mission is directed to the orphan and the widow, to the poor and the vulnerable. The principles of right reason, knowable to all even beyond the categories of faith, attest the common good is served only when the least of our brethren are accorded full rights correspondent to their inviolable dignity.
Thus, human life is to be respected from the moment of conception until natural death. The Church has taught this from the beginning, and civilized societies live by this principle.
The letter concludes:
I pray that the Catholic faith you have been raised in, the faith by which you pray, and the life of virtue which flows from both may strengthen you so that you may have the strength needed to witness Jesus, even as the martyrs did, and live by the virtue of fortitude as you proclaim your support to the Person of Christ in the most vulnerable of his members: the pre-born child. You are, Senator, always welcome to nourish such a faith within the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver told the Associated Press in August that Biden should follow the teachings of the church by opposing abortion or voluntarily refrain from receiving communion, adding that it is “seriously wrong” to support abortion.
“I certainly presume (Biden’s) good will and integrity and I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for Communion if he supports a false 'right' to abortion,” Chaput said.
But the new bishop who oversees the diocese in Delaware where Biden has worshipped and lived for many years told the Associated Press at the bishops’ conference in Baltimore that he would rather change the vice president-elect’s mind than refuse him the sacrament.
“I won't politicize the Eucharist," Bishop W. Francis Malooly said. "I don't want to alienate people. I want to change their hearts and minds.”
In an official statement on Biden and Holy Communion issued in September by Malooly, the bishop defended his decision to allow pro-abortion politicians to receive the sacrament.
“It is my intention to build a supportive and trusting friendship with Sen. Biden and as many public officials as I can,” Malooly said. “I will do my best, with your prayers, to assist him and all public officials as well as all citizens in our Diocese and beyond to understand how crucial the sanctity of life is to a just society in the state of Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and our entire nation.”
Both Bishops Chaput and Martino have said they would speak privately to Biden about changing his pro-abortion position before denying him Holy Communion.
Then-Cardinal Ratzinger and now Pope Benedict XVI, however, did not mince words in a letter he sent to then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick in Washington, D.C., in 2004 discussing cooperation in dealing with politicians who support or advance abortion, shown in part here:
“Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.”
When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" , nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”
In August, LifeSiteNews.com reported that a ban on pro-abortion politicians speaking at Catholic schools in Delaware would apply to Biden.
“I would say that as long as Sen. Biden’s stated position on abortion remains the same then it would apply to Sen. Biden whether he is a senator or the vice president,” Bob Krebs, communications director for the Catholic diocese of Wilmington, told the news service.