View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Letter from Biden's Bishop

Senator Joe Biden's new Bishop, Bishop W. Francis Malooly, published the following letter in the Wilmington News Journal:

In his interview with The News Journal published Oct. 19, Sen. Joe Biden presents a seriously erroneous picture of Catholic teaching on abortion. He said, “I know that my church has wrestled with this for 2,000 years,” and claimed repeatedly that the Church has a nuanced view of the subject that leaves a great deal of room for uncertainty and debate.

This is simply incorrect. 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.

The Didache, probably the earliest Christian writing apart from the New Testament, explicitly condemns abortion without exceptions. It tells us there is a “way of life” and a “way of death” and abortion is a part of the way of death. This has been the consistent teaching of the Church ever since.

It was also the position of Protestant reformers without exception. It was the teaching of Pope John XXIII as well as Pope John Paul II. It is the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops of the Church, including me as shepherd of this diocese.

Some ancient and medieval theologians did see a difference between early abortions and ones that occurred later in term because with the limited medical knowledge of the time they did not know then what we scientifically know now: that a fetus is a living human being from conception.

Nevertheless, they universally condemned all abortions.

Of course, we now know that a fetus is a living human being from the very start. Thus, abortions take innocent human lives no matter when they occur. Since there is no gradation in the Church’s teaching on abortion, there is no way the medically obsolete division of pregnancy into three trimesters by Roe v. Wade can have any bearing on the rightness or wrongness of abortion. Taking an innocent life in the womb is wrong at any stage of pregnancy.

The Declaration of Independence lists life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as God-given rights. Life is listed first, and it is the principal function of the state to protect the lives of citizens. This understanding of the state’s primary obligation to protect human life is also fundamental to Catholic social doctrine to which the senator points. Without life all other rights are meaningless.

This Sunday, all the parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington will pray the Litany of St. Thomas More, martyr and patron saint of statesmen, politicians and lawyers. We will ask St. Thomas More to intercede so all statesmen and politicians may be courageous and effective in their defense and promotion of the sanctity of human life. We hope Sen. Biden will carefully listen to the Church’s 2,000 years of testimony on abortion and that he will join in the defense and promotion of the sanctity of life.

Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, bishop, Catholic Diocese of Wilmington


Even his own Bishop is taking Biden to task.

Given his reaction to a television reporter over the weekend, I wonder if Biden will like the tough questions about not being true to his Church's teachings he might be asked when he meets his Maker?

I wonder if he will ask if Jesus is kidding him?


Anonymous Bill said...

Sarah and Todd are known to have gone to the Assemblies of God Church in Wasilla and later to the Wasilla Bible Church. Both these churches, like all evangelicals in the US and around the world, believe in tithing, which is giving at least one tenths of one’s personal income. While the Wasilla Bible Church’s web site didn’t specifically address this issue, the Assemblies of God’s web site had this to say as to the Church’s position on tithing:

“The Assemblies of God has always been a proponent of tithing (or giving one-tenth of one’s personal income to support the work of God).”
A look at the Palin’s tax returns shows a lack of adherence to this important principle. According to the McCain web site Todd and Sarah made in 2006 $127,869 and donated $4,250 to charity in cash/check donations (which presumably was their tithes) and $630 in non-cash/check donations (which one presumes is the cash in the offering divided by weeks comes out to a mere $12 per week), for a total of $4,880. This is 3.3% of their adjusted gross income. Less than a third of the 10% that Evangelical churches believe that it is mandated of the faithful to contribute. The following year, 2007, the Palin’s contributions were significantly lower. In 2007, Sarah and Todd Palin donated $2,500 to charity in cash/check donations and $825 in non-cash/check donations( this year their cash in the till was higher up to $15.86 per week) , for a total of $3,325. This is 1.5% of their adjusted gross income even half of what was given in 2006. Assuming that this was all that was given to the Church and assuming that all the declared charity contributions were exclusively for the church, this represents a very very small percentage of the 10% expected of the evangelical faithful.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

That may be - I've never seen their returns and have no idea how much they give to their church and other charities. Moreover, you acknowledge that you don't know the official policy of the church they currently attend.

But whatever the case, I hardly think failure to donate the right mount of money to charity is comparable in importance to supporting the killing of unborn children. Are you saying that the two offenses are morally equivalent?

To me, making such a comparison is like saying that speeding is somehow morally equivalent to robbing a bank.

8:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home