By Tim Waggoner

WASHINGTON, September 15, 2008 ( – Catholic bishops across the nation have rebuked Senator Joe Biden for claiming, during a September 7 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, that his support for abortion is in keeping with his Catholic faith.

To date at least 14 bishops have responded to Biden’s erroneous statement about Catholic teaching and abortion.

Responding to a question from Meet the Press Moderator Tom Brokaw, Biden stated that he agreed with the Catholic Church that life begins at conception. He then continued, “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

Biden also later appeared to contradict himself, saying throughout Church history there has been “debate” on when life begins, implying that life may not begin at conception after all.

However, as many bishops have pointed out already – especially in light of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s similar misstatement of Church teaching on the same television show several weeks prior – paragraph 2270-71 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explicitly states that the Church has always taught that life must be respected from conception and that abortion at any stage is a grave evil. Furthermore, the Church has also repeatedly said that the state must protect life from conception to natural death in its laws.

Responding to Biden’s statement that it would not be right to “impose” his views about when life begins on others, Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa said, “It is plainly false to assert that the answer to the question of when human life begins is limited to the realm of personal and private faith and that therefore there is no basis for preferring one position over another.”

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver also addressed this remark. “Resistance to abortion is a matter of human rights, not religious opinion,” he said. “And the senator knows very well as a lawmaker that all law involves the imposition of some people’s convictions on everyone else. That is the nature of the law. American Catholics have allowed themselves to be bullied into accepting the destruction of more than a million developing unborn children a year. Other people have imposed their ‘pro-choice’ beliefs on American society without any remorse for decades.”

For more commentary from the bishops see:

Here is American Papist’s updated list of bishops who have responded to Sen. Joe Biden (in somewhat chronological order):

1. Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton
2. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, CO
3. Bishop James Conley, his auxiliary
4. Bishop Robeert Morlino of Madison
5. Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC
6. Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, OK
7. Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, PA
8. Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, CT
9. Bishop Fran Malooly of Wilmington, DL
10. Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND
11. Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin, TX
12. Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Sioux City, IA
13. Bishop Paul Coakley of Salina, KS
14. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, MA