Willmington: Bp. Malooly corrects Sen. Biden in the newspaper

His Excellency Frances Malooly, the new Bishop of Willmington, Delaware, had an op-ed piece the other day in the News-Journal.

This is the diocese of pro-abortion vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE).

My emphases and comments.

    Catholic Church has made no exception regarding abortion since ancient times

    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.  [The ability to learn, to correct mistakes, is sign of reasonably intelligent people.  Sen. Biden has been instructed, clearly and publicly, from various sources in such a way that he cannot be any longer unclear about the Church’s true positions.  Therefore, he is either being willfully deceptive or he is incapable of learning.]

    This is simply incorrect. [probably dishonest too] 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.  [Ancient Romans didn’t seem to like it much either.]

    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. [Hmm… not a litany approved for liturgical use.  But I guess if the bishop is doing it, it’s approved!] 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 [and pray] 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


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  1. Christiani non abiceunt foetus. That is the law of Didache, and the term FOETUS refers to any creature, from conception to right before its acknowledgment by the putative father. IOW, even in pagan Rome, FOETUS was a juridical term: one of Christianity’s great contributions to civilization (i.e. that all human persons are created by God and therefore proprietors of rights that precede the state)can be traced to the defense of the FOETUS as a subject of rights.

  2. Lindsay says:

    The Thomas Moore litany was distributed with the diocesan newspaper and all the families in the diocese have been encouraged to pray it leading up to the election. I think that it was composed and distributed by Bishop Salterelli (but maybe just chosen by him–pretty sure I read that he wrote it, though) for the election four years ago.

    Anyway, not that that makes it liturgically any different, just letting readers know he didn’t just pull this litany out arbitrarily for this letter.

  3. Torquemada says:

    Does anyone know if Malooly has also told Biden he may not receive Communion?

  4. Crusader Airman says:

    Bravo, your Excellency!

  5. David Kastel says:

    I agree with Torquemada…more action from the bishop, enough talk.

  6. JML says:

    Stalin: “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

    We’re about to find out.

  7. Mary Jane says:

    Guess that takes care of “John XXIII Catholics.” Nice and unambiguous.

  8. supertradmom says:

    So, why are there so many confused Catholics on this issue? Sadly, people forget the unseen, innocent dead. “45 million dead babies in 35 years” is my answer to Biden. God bless this bishop!

  9. fortradition says:

    I believe Bishop Malooly stopped short of asking Biden not to present himself for Holy Communion. Still, I’m happy he had the courage to write the letter to the editor of the Wilmington newspaper and also ask that the Litany be said. He was on the platform at the Mall in D.C. for the annual March for Life. Bishop Malooly was previously from my Archdiocese, but nothing as yet has been set to print in the local newspaper here from our Archbishop.

  10. Radio45 says:

    As long as most Americans believe that life begins at the first breath and ends at the last, abortion will be legal. It is the responsibility of those who belive that life begins at conception to change the minds and hearts of those who believe otherwise. When hearts and minds change laws follow and not the other way ’round. Mr. Biden has little to say on the matter if the people of God do the work with which they have been entrusted.

  11. TJM says:

    Radio45, sounds like an excuse to vote for the Demonrats. TOm

  12. shana sfo says:

    “When hearts and minds change laws follow and not the other way ‘round.”

    I daresay that you are wrong there. Before 1970, I doubt you could have found a handful of people who thought killing an unborn baby was just removing ’tissue blobs’. Everyone knew it was a baby, no one but scientists and doctors ever used the term ‘fetus’ and very few thought abortion was anything but killing.

    Then the law changed.

    So did the minds of many of those who previously would have said, “Its wrong”. Most people do not hold convictions strong enough to risk anything to defy or break laws, even if they are unjust. They will just shrug their shoulders, tsk-tsk a bit and move on.

  13. mpm says:

    Shana sfo & Radio45,

    I think you’re both right. The “mission” is as Radio45 depicts it. And Shana
    is right because the “law” cut short the dialog that Catholics could have made.

    Actually, because the “law” didn’t change, but a dictate came down from the S.C.
    that not only invalidated the existing state laws, but did one better — there
    was now (BEHOLD) a constitutional right that the states had to recognize — it
    made the job of persuading others about the morality involved much more difficult.

  14. Michael J says:

    I agree that hearts and minds must be changed, but I disagree with the implicit statement that they must be changed first.

    The law must uphold justice regardless of what people “think”

  15. Steve Girone says:

    Thank you Bishop Malooly, and may God continue to give you the courage to speak out. May he also soften
    the hearts of Senator Biden and all others who are thinking in error about abortion.

  16. elm says:

    Have you ever heard anyone ask a woman when her fetus was due to be born? If hearts and minds have to be changed, why did blacks received equal rights before the country’s hearts and minds were changed? How were the slave freed before this grand scheme of metanoia happened? Stick your head in the sand a little deeper.

  17. TJ says:

    So what do we do with McCain who supports abortion in the case of rape, incest or emergency? I was taught in seminary that not even the Church supports abortion in these cases so are people that vote for him in any moral danger. What about any politicians who supports the death penalty? Should they also not be allowed to receive our precious Lord? They surely aren’t pro-life if they support the death penalty.

  18. Jordanes says:

    TJ asked: So what do we do with McCain who supports abortion in the case of rape, incest or emergency?

    We vote for him, because the alternative is vastly worse.

    I was taught in seminary that not even the Church supports abortion in these cases so are people that vote for him in any moral danger.

    If they agree with his positions, yes. If they have proportionate reasons to vote for him, and are voting for him only in spite of his evil policy positions and to try to prevent Obama’s election, no.

    What about any politicians who supports the death penalty? Should they also not be allowed to receive our precious Lord? They surely aren’t pro-life if they support the death penalty.

    The Church disagrees. As then-Cardinal Ratzinger instructed the U.S. bishops in June 2004:

    Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

    Most if not all of the saints agreed with the Church that capital punishment is not intrinsically evil. I’d be loath to call the saints anything but pro-life.

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