Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

Catholic World News News Feature

Biden avoids confrontation with his new bishop September 09, 2008

Sen. Joseph Biden did not attend the September 8 installation Mass of Bishop W. Francis Malooly, the new leader of the Wilmington, Delaware diocese where the Democratic vice-presidential candidate lives.

Biden was in Wilmington on Monday morning, but left later in the day for a campaign appearance in Wisconsin, thus avoiding a potential showdown with his new bishop. There was no indication-- either from the senator or from the diocese-- whether Biden had originally planned to attend the afternoon installation.

In his homily the new bishop did not directly address the nationwide furor roused by Biden's public statements on abortion. But Bishop Malooly did make an indirect reference to the issue, saying:

We will continue to stress the constant teaching of the Church that each person must respect every life from conception to natural death. And we will continue to seek the intercession of Saint Thomas More for Statesmen, Politicians, Supreme Court Justices, Judges and Lawyers—that they may be courageous and effective in defending and promoting the sanctity of human life, the foundation of every human right, the foundation of our love for the poor.

A much stronger response to Biden's comments came from the Denver archdiocese, where Archbishop Charles Chaput and his auxiliary, Bishop James Conley, issued a new statement entitled Public Servants and Moral Reasoning. "Sen. Biden is a man of distinguished public service. That doesn't excuse poor logic or bad facts," they wrote. They continued:

If we claim to be Catholic, then American Catholics, including public officials who describe themselves as Catholic, need to act accordingly.