Joe Biden’s Catholic Bishop Won’t Deny Communion Over Pro-Abortion Views

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Joe Biden’s Catholic Bishop Won’t Deny Communion Over Pro-Abortion Views

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 11
, 2008

Dover, DE ( — The Catholic bishop that oversees the diocese where Joe Biden worships says he will not deny the incoming vice president communion over his pro-abortion views. Bishop W. Francis Malooly’s decision stands in contrast to one made by Bishop Joseph F. Martino, of Biden’s hometown Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Malooly, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, is participating in the meeting the nation’s bishops are holding this week in Baltimore.

He told the Associated Press that he won’t ask Biden to withdraw from receiving communion even though several of his fellow bishops have done so. He said he would rather change Biden’s opinion on abortion.

"I won’t politicize the Eucharist," Malooly said. "I don’t want to alienate people. I want to change their hearts and minds."

Malooly said he spoke with Biden in September on the day before his installation as the new bishop and the two agreed to discuss the issue of abortion and Catholic pro-life teachings at a later date.

For his part, Malooly has tried to persuade Biden to change his views and issued a letter in October correcting the senator after Biden misstated Catholic views on abortion during an interview.

Biden claimed Catholics can support abortion and he understated the far-reaching effects of the Roe v. Wade decision.

"But throughout the church’s history, we’ve argued between whether or not it is wrong in every circumstance and the degree of wrong. Catholics have this notion, it’s almost a gradation," Biden claimed.

Malooly wrote in a letter to the editor that Biden "presents a seriously erroneous picture of Catholic teaching on abortion."

"This is simply incorrect," he says of Biden’s interpretation. "The teaching of the Church is clear and not open to debate. Abortion is a grave sin because it is the wrongful taking of an innocent human life."

"The Church received the tradition opposing abortion from Judaism. In the Greco-Roman world, early Christians were identifiable by their rejection of the common practices of abortion and infanticide," Malooly goes on to say.

"The Didache, probably the earliest Christian writing apart from the New Testament, explicitly condemns abortion without exceptions," he continues. "This has been the consistent teaching of the Church ever since."

In September, Bishop Martino held firm to his past statements when asked if Biden would be refused communion.

“I will not tolerate any politician who claims to be a faithful Catholic who is not genuinely pro-life,” Bishop Martino said in a pastoral letter in September 2005 and he held firm to the position when asked.

“No Catholic politician who supports the culture of death should approach Holy Communion,” Bishop Martino said, without specifically commenting on Biden. “I will be truly vigilant on this point.”

He said he would privately meet with pro-abortion Catholics to inform them why their views are out of step with the Church.

Biden attends church weekly and has received communion at his hometown church in Delaware.

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