Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, responds to statements made by Sen. Joseph Biden published in the October 19, 2008 edition of the News Journal.
In his interview with the News Journal published on October 19, 2008, Senator Biden presents a seriously erroneous picture of Catholic teaching on abortion. He says, “I know that my church has wrestled with this for 2,000 years,” and he goes on to claim repeatedly that the Church has a nuanced view of the subject that leaves a great deal of room for uncertainty and debate.
This is simply incorrect. The teaching of the Church is clear and not open to debate. Abortion is a grave sin because it is the wrongful taking of an innocent human life. And the Church has always opposed abortion. The Church received the tradition opposing abortion from Judaism. In the Greco-Roman world the early Christians were identifiable by their rejection of the common practices of abortion and infanticide. The “Didache,” probably the earliest Christian writing apart from the New Testament, explicitly condemns abortion without exceptions. It tells us that there is a “way of life” and a “way of death” and that abortion is a part of the way of death. This has been the consistent teaching of the Church ever since. It was also the position of Protestant reformers without exception. It was the teaching of Pope John XXIII as well as Pope John Paul II. It is the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops of the universal Church, including myself as shepherd of this diocese.