Beliefnet News

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) Several leading U.S. Catholic bishops are publicly rebuking Sen. Joe Biden, accusing the Democratic vice presidential nominee of voicing “flawed moral reasoning” on abortion.
The criticism comes soon after nearly a dozen U.S. bishops castigated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for saying abortion continues to be an “issue of controversy” in the Catholic Church.
Both Democrats’ comments came on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Biden said on Sunday (Sept. 7) that “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at conception.” But, he added, “for me to impose that judgment on others is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”
The Delaware senator also cited St. Thomas Aquinas, a 13th century Catholic theologian, on when a developing fetus obtains a soul.
Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl said on Tuesday that “when life begins is not a matter of faith, but a matter of science.” He also said Aquinas opposed abortion.
“Defense of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but an act of justice,” Wuerl said.
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., also criticized Biden in a joint statement.
“The senator’s claim that the beginning of human life is a `personal and private’ matter of religious faith, one which cannot be `imposed’ on others, does not reflect Catholic teaching,” they said.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver concurred.
“Real pluralism thrives on healthy, nonviolent disagreement,” Chaput said. “It requires an environment where people of conviction will struggle respectfully but vigorously to advance their views.”
Chaput also said “Meet the Press” has become an unlikely “national window on the flawed moral reasoning of some Catholic public servants.”
Biden’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

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