By John-Henry Westen
DELEWARE, August 26, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In an interview with Bob Krebs, the Communications Director for the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, to which Senator Joseph Biden belongs, Krebs confirmed that Biden’s Bishop will not permit the Senator even if elected Vice President of the United States of America to speak at Catholic schools.
When asked for the Bishop’s take on Senator Biden and his stand in favor of abortion, Krebs directed LifeSiteNews.com to Bishop Michael Saltarelli’s 2004 statement on ‘Catholics in Political Life’ which, said Krebs, "very plainly states Bishop’s position in this matter."
In that document Bishop Saltarelli notes that, in line with the US Bishops Conference policy, "Our Catholic institutions will not honor Catholic politicians who take pro-abortion legislative positions or invite them to speak at our functions or schools."
LifeSiteNews.com called the diocesan communications director a second time to ask if that specific ban on speaking at Catholic schools or Catholic functions would apply to Biden, even if he became the Vice President.
Krebs replied, "I would say that as long as Senator Biden’s stated position on abortion remains the same then it would apply to Senator Biden whether he was a Senator or the Vice President of any type of public figure."
In the same 2004 document, Bishop Saltarelli singled out Catholic politicians like Biden who claim a personal opposition to abortion but that they could not impose their faith’s beliefs on others. Wrote the Bishop: "No one today would accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to human slavery and racism but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’ Likewise, none of us should accept this statement from any public servant: ‘I am personally opposed to abortion but will not impose my personal conviction in the legislative arena.’"
In the document, Bishop Saltarelli does not rule out refusing communion to pro-abortion politicians but does say that he much prefers "active engagement and dialogue". He notes that he does not expect priests and others administering communion to withhold it from politicians. "That is ultimately my responsibility," he said.
The Associated Press reports that Biden received Communion last Sunday at his local parish of St. Joseph on the Brandywine near his home in Greenville, Delaware. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput commented to AP that Biden should not present himself for Communion given his public support for abortion.
Biden "has admirable qualities to his public service," Chaput said in his statement. "But his record of support for so-called abortion ‘rights,’ while mixed at times, is seriously wrong. I certainly presume his good will and integrity - and I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for Communion, if he supports a false ‘right’ to abortion."