An Open Letter to Bishop Malooly
Dear Bishop Malooly,
I have been quite impressed with some of your statements since you succeeded to the Bishop's chair in the Diocese of Wilmington. For example, your comments in defense of the sanctity of life during your installation Mass were powerful:
... Mary’s mother, St. Anne, carried a very special life in her womb which serves as a vivid reminder that every life is special. We will continue to stress the constant teaching of the Church that each person must respect every life from conception to natural death. And we will continue to seek the intercession of Saint Thomas More for Statesmen, Politicians, Supreme Court Justices, Judges and Lawyers—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.In addition, I greatly appreciated your correction of Sen. (now Vice President-elect) Biden's erroneous and scandalous comments that he made during an interview with the Wilmington News Journal, in which he misrepresented the Church's teachings on abortion and summed up his views "as a Catholic" by proclaiming that he is "not a Pope John Paul [II] guy":
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.(emphasis added)
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.
In short, during the election season, you clearly articulated the Church's teachings on abortion, even publicly confronting the Vice President-elect in order to safeguard against any confusion about those teachings. That is why it is with a certain amount of surprise that I read your most recent comments on the topic, in which you announced that you would not advise the Vice President-elect to refrain from taking Communion, despite his openly defiant pro-abortion stance:
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.On the basis of your decision not to ask Vice President-elect Biden to refrain from receiving Communion, one might be tempted to draw certain conclusions about certain aspects of the Church's teachings: either (1) abortion is not what the Church claims it to be, or (2) the Eucharist is not what the Church claims it to be, or (3) all of the above.
"I won't politicize the Eucharist," Malooly said. "I don't want to alienate people. I want to change their hearts and minds."
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, Saratelli 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.
For, if abortion is truly the immoral killing of the most vulnerable and innocent of human life, and if the Eucharist is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior - the unworthy partaking of which constitutes eating and drinking damnation upon oneself, then it is difficult for me to fathom why a Bishop would not want to advise one who is a chief proponent of classifying the killing of the unborn as a constitutional "right" - yea, who even brags about the chief role he played in ensuring that abortion would remain the constitutionally protected law of the land - to absent himself from receiving the Blessed Sacrament.
Bishop Malooly, your decision not to advise Vice President-elect Biden against partaking in Communion (again, we're not even talking about your denying him Communion, just advising him against taking it) given his stridently pro-abortion record can only lead to confusion and scandal among the faithful. I know I'm certainly confused. I haven't taken Communion in over 2 months because of a serious sin that I haven't yet gotten up the nerve to go confess. But, hey, maybe it's no big deal after all. If promoting abortion on demand isn't such a big thing, then maybe my little paltry shortcoming isn't either. Maybe I'll just head on down to the church and have Father pop one of them there wafers* in my mouth. I mean, what's the big deal?
Very truly yours,
* NB: I mean absolutely nothing blasphemous by this statement. There is no doubt in my mind that the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the second Person of the Holy Trinity. It is the basis of my Catholic faith, and the primary reason for my decision to enter the Church.