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Bishop Ricard to VP-elect Biden: Remember the unborn, examine your conscience

Catholic World News - November 10, 2008

Reacting to the recent attendance of Sen. Joe Biden at a Mass in his diocese, Bishop John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee has called upon the vice president-elect to ‘proclaim your support to the Person of Christ in the most vulnerable of his members: the pre-born child.’

‘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,’ wrote Bishop Ricard in November 4 letter. ‘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,’ Bishop Ricard continued, ‘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 Eucharist, as the real presence of Christ, is also the sign of our unity as a Church, which is built on sharing in the mission of Christ to protect the defenseless.’

‘While grateful for the effective collaboration you and your office have offered on so many worthy projects and concerns,’ the bishop added, ‘I also observe, by your support for laws that fail to protect the unborn, a profound disconnection from your human and personal obligation to protect the weakest and most innocent among us: the child in the womb.’ Quoting a 2004 US bishops’ conference document, Bishop Ricard called upon Sen. Biden to examine his conscience before receiving Holy Communion: ‘all must examine their consciences as to their worthiness to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord. This examination includes fidelity to the moral teaching of the Church in personal and public life … Respect for the Holy Eucharist, in particular, demands that it be received worthily and that it be seen as the source for our common mission in the world.’

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