Catholic Citizen

faith informs life

Bishops take exception to Biden statement of faith

As reported by Associated Press;

Two prominent U.S. Catholic bishops said Tuesday that Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden contradicted church teaching by saying in a weekend interview that determining when human life begins is a “personal and private” matter of religious faith he would not impose on others.

The statement from Cardinal Justin Rigali and Bishop William Lori said Biden, who appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” is the latest case of the U.S. Catholic hierarchy correcting a Catholic politician.

Asked on the program about when life begins, Biden said: “Look, I know when it begins for me. It’s a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I am prepared to accept the teachings in my church.”

He added that while he believes life begins “at the moment of conception,” it would inappropriate to impose that view on others in a pluralistic society.

The bishops said Biden was right to say human life begins at conception. But the church “does not teach this as matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact,” they said.

“Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice,” they added.

Personally, I take exception to the Bishop’s taking exception to Joe Biden’s statement of faith.  I take exception to the statement that the church “does not teach this as a matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact.”

As I have related in a previous post,

“The Roman Catholic Church considers life to begin at conception, when an egg is fertilized by a sperm. Therefore, abortion is seen as a form of murder, making it a sin. Any Catholic that obtains or takes part in an abortion is considered to be excommunicated from the Church, although they may be allowed back if they ask for forgiveness for their sin. In addition to an actual abortion procedure, the Church views other actions, including the use of an IUD, the Morning After Pill, RU-486; embryonic stem cell research, and IVF, as acts of abortion because they have the potential to destroy an embryo. Yet, the Church also distinguishes between what they consider to be a direct abortion and an indirect abortion.

A direct abortion is an act that purposely ends the life of an embryo or fetus. These forms of abortion are always thought to be morally wrong, thus making them a sin. An indirect abortion refers to an act that is used to save a woman’s life but that indirectly causes an unborn child to die. For example, a woman dealing with an ectopic pregnancy would need to have part of her fallopian tube removed in order to save her life. Although the fetus is not destroyed by this act, it will die because it is taken out of the body. However, this type of situation very rarely arises thereby making the majority of abortion procedures a grave sin in the eyes of the Church.”

I have also expressed my opinion that this stance cannot be justified by a reasonable person.  Someone has to take responsibility for all the unwanted, accidental children which would result if the entire world’s population were to model their lives on such a policy.

To call out a true “Son of the Church” in such a public manner for his attempt to serve his fellow man and recognize the laws of the country he lives in is contemptible, and I reject it.  As a Catholic and an Obama/Biden supporter, I suspect the “callout” by the Bishops as being politically motivated.

It is the height of the ridiculous for the “Church” to take a position supporting those who claim the “right position” on abortion, birth control, etc., when those same people are responsible for the death of thousands in war.  Rome has prohibited Bishops around the world from getting involved politically in government.  These gratuitious statements by Bishops each time they have the opportunity to “call out” the candidates of one party while elevating those of another on the basis of “Church Teaching” is unacceptable and a violation of Rome’s prohibition on political activity, cloaked in the guise of “Guidance to the Faithful.”

As Joe Biden said, “For me, as a Roman Catholic, I am prepared to accept the teachings in my church.” That is a personal choice, and one that I agree with.  Citizens of the United States of America who are not Roman Catholic are not bound by the doctrines and teachings of the Church, nor the opinions of the Bishops.  Outside of the Church, the Bishops opinions hold no more weight than any other citizen.  As leaders of the Church, their “political statements” should be silent, other than to preach the same Gospel as Joe Biden is a witness to.  He should be supported by the Bishops, not criticized in public.

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August 27, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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