By Kathleen Gilbert

WILMINGTON, Delaware, November 12, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As Sen. Joe Biden stumped across Florida the Sunday before Election Day, parishioners at the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Tallahassee were dismayed to find that the pro-abortion senator was in their midst and receiving Holy Communion - and his bishop offered no reproof.

Bishop W. Francis Malooly, the newly-appointed bishop of Sen. Biden’s Wilmington diocese, said according to an AP report that he had agreed to discuss Catholic teaching with Biden, but shied away from advising the senator to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. 

"I won’t politicize the Eucharist," Malooly said. "I don’t want to alienate people. I want to change their hearts and minds."

While Bishop Malooly demurred from instructing Biden not to receive communion, however, he has in the past taken the politician to task over his pro-abortion views. At his installation mass (to which Biden had been personally invited by the bishop), Malooly in his homily hammered home Church teaching on abortion, focusing in particular on the need for politicians to uphold the right to life from conception - a message that was widely interpreted as being directed at Biden.

"We will continue to seek the intercession of Saint Thomas More for Statesmen, Politicians, Supreme Court Justices, Judges and Lawyers," said the bishop at his installation mass, "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."

Bishop Malooly had also taken Biden to task for his infamous comments, made on NBC’s Meet the Press in September, to the effect that his pro-abortion views were compatible with his Catholic faith.

In refusing to instruct Biden not to receive communion, however, Bishop Malooly appears to be going against Vatican instructions stating that priests "must" not offer Holy Communion to politicians who have excommunicated themselves by supporting abortion.

Bishop Malooly replaced Bishop Michael Saltarelli, who had offered his resignation to the Vatican in September following his 75th birthday, as per canon law.  Amid scandal from Biden and other politicians claiming to be Catholic while supporting abortion, Saltarelli had in the past asserted that "the promotion of abortion by any Catholic is a grave and serious matter.

"Objectively, according to the constant teaching of the Scriptures and the Church, it would be more spiritually beneficial for such a person to refrain from receiving the Body and Blood of Christ," Saltarelli declared.

"I ask Catholics in this position to have the integrity to respect the Eucharist, Catholic teaching and the Catholic faithful," he continued.

Tallahassee’s Bishop, John Ricard, swiftly warned Biden following Biden’s receiving the Eucharist in his diocese to examine his conscience carefully before approaching the altar again.

See related LifeSiteNews.com articles:

Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley Seems Ignorant of the Fact that Rome Has Said Pro-Abortion Politicians ‘Must’ be Denied Communion
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08111108.html

Bishop of Diocese Where Biden Received Communion Calls Him to Account over Abortion
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/nov/08110703.html