By John Jalsevac

September 10, 2008 ( – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released its second statement in just two weeks correcting a prominent Catholic politician who has caused scandal by publicly defending abortion.

This past Sunday, during an interview on Meet the Press, Democratic VP-nominee Sen. Joseph Biden responded to questions about when life begins by saying that he agreed with the Church that, as a matter of faith, life begins at the moment of conception. However, he then defended his pro-abortion voting record by saying that he would not “impose” his faith on others. He claimed that to do so would be “inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

Biden also appeared to contradict himself later on in the interview, saying that there was “debate” in the Church about when life begins, echoing claims made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on the same program several weeks ago, for which she earned the rebuke of over 25 bishops across the nation.

Today Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman, U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine, released a statement correcting Biden’s statements, saying, “Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice.”

“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 the truth of the matter,” write the bishops.

Instead, they say, the question of abortion rests on the answers to two questions that have little to do with religious faith.

The first question is a matter of biology – namely the question of when life begins – which the bishops says is easily answered by modern scientific advances. “While ancient thinkers had little verifiable knowledge to help them answer this question, today embryology textbooks confirm that a new human life begins at conception. The Catholic Church does not teach this as a matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact.”

The second question is a moral question, namely, “Which living members of the human species should be seen as having fundamental human rights, such as a right not to be killed?”

The bishops are unequivocal in their answer: “The Catholic Church’s answer is: Everybody.”

“This is not solely a Catholic teaching, but a principle of natural law accessible to all people of good will.”

The bishops specifically address Biden’s claims that it would be wrong to “impose” one’s beliefs on abortion in a “pluralistic” society. On the contrary, write the bishops, “Those who hold a narrower and more exclusionary view [about which humans have the right to life] have the burden of explaining why we should divide humanity into those who have moral value and those who do not and why their particular choice of where to draw that line can be sustained in a pluralistic society.”

See related articles:

âEUR¦And Again: Now Bishops Correct Biden’s False Statements about Catholic Teaching on Abortion

Pelosi, and Now Biden: VP-Nominee says Life Begins at Conception, but Won’t “Impose” his Faith on Others