Scranton Bishop Says He will Refuse Communion to Joseph Biden
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
SCRANTON, PENN, September 2, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Catholic bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, has confirmed that pro-abortion vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden would be refused Holy Communion in his diocese, according to the Scranton Times.
The Times reports that "when asked whether the Democratic vice presidential candidate would be refused Communion should he tour the region, the diocese held firm" to a statement made by Bishop Joseph F. Martino in 2005 declaring that he would not "tolerate any politician who claims to be a faithful Catholic who is not genuinely pro-life" receiving Holy Communion.
"No Catholic politician who supports the culture of death should approach Holy Communion," said Bishop Martino, who added, "I will be truly vigilant on this point."
The Bishop’s firm defense of Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, is reflected by the Pope and Vatican officials, who have repeatedly stated that persistently pro-abortion politicians cannot receive Communion.
Canon law 915 states that those who "obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion".
Although Biden’s own bishop has not enforced the church’s law regarding Biden, he recently stated that the Democratic vice-presidential candidate would not be permitted to speak in any diocesan facility. He has also "asked" pro-abortion politicians not to present themselves for Holy Communion, but has stated his unwillingness to so far enforce this request.
"It is not my expectation that individual priests, deacons and extraordinary ministers of communion will make judgments on their own as to the worthiness of individual Catholic public servants to receive communion," Bishop Michael Saltarelli wrote in a newspaper column in 2004. "That is ultimately my responsibility in light of Catholic moral theology and the Code of Canon Law. At this stage, I much prefer the active engagement and dialogue called for by Catholics in Public Life."
According to NBC, Biden was seen last Sunday at St. Joseph of the Brandywine parish, where he was given Holy Communion by Monsignor Joseph Rebman. Rebman told NBC that the bishop and various priests have spoken to Biden about his pro-abortion stance, but none had ever denied him communion.
Delaware Senator Joseph Biden has consistently cast pro-abortion votes since the 1980s, when he and other Catholic Democrats abandoned their pro-life positions as the party’s pro-abortion position solidified.
Biden normally receives a 100% approval rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), which recently issued a statement confirming that "Sen. Biden has consistently expressed support for a woman’s right to choose (abortion). While we have not agreed with him on every vote, we have a longstanding relationship with Sen. Biden that is open, positive, and constructive."
Bishop Martino’s willingness to enforce Church law is shared by other bishops in the USA and Canada, including Bishop Fred Henry of Alberta, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, Paterson, New Jersey Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli, Birmingham Bishop Robert J. Baker, Atlanta Archbishop John F. Donoghue, Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis and former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke who has just taken up the position of Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest judicial authority of the Catholic Church besides the Pope himself.