.- Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, has published an open letter to Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden in several major newspapers, chastising his support for abortion and correcting his erroneous claims about historical Catholic teaching on abortion.
Warning that Bidenâs public remarks could confuse Catholic women in crisis pregnancies about the morality of abortion, Andersonâs letter also invites Biden to meet with him to discuss the issue in person.
The open letter to Biden, a U.S. Senator from Delaware, was published in USA Today, the Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Delaware News Journal on September 19. Anderson says he writes the letter âon behalf of 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the United States.â
Anderson begins his letter to Biden by saying he writes as âa fellow Catholic layman.â Commenting that the bishops who have publicly corrected Bidenâs remarks on historical Catholic teaching on abortion are âfar from alone,â Anderson tells Biden his statements âcarry considerable weightâ because of Sen. Barack Obamaâs emphasis of Bidenâs Catholic identity.
âYou now have a unique responsibility when you make public statements about Catholic teaching,â Anderson writes.
Echoing many Catholic bishopsâ responses to Bidenâs remarks, Anderson says modern medical science âleaves no doubtâ about when life begins.
âIt is not a matter of personal religious belief, but of science,â he writes.
Andersonâs letter addresses Bidenâs appeal to St. Thomas Aquinas, which the senator used to justify his pro-abortion rights views. Anderson says that the learned saint had âonly a medieval understanding of biologyâ and questions whether any other appeal to medieval biology would be made to justify modern law and policy.
Regardless of St. Thomasâ understanding of biology, Anderson continues, the saintâs view is âin any case entirely consistent with the long history of Catholic Church teaching in this area, holding that abortion is a grave sin to be avoided at any time during pregnancy.â
The sinfulness of abortion, according to Anderson, is taught in the early Christian work of the Didache, as well as the works of Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine and Aquinas.
Anderson cites the Second Vatican Councilâs description of abortion as âan unspeakable crimeâ and its teaching that human life must be protected from the âmoment of conception.â
Bidenâs remarks have life or death consequences, Anderson explains:
âStatements that suggest that our Church has anything less than a consistent teaching on abortion are not merely incorrect; they may lead Catholic women facing crisis pregnancies to misunderstand the moral gravity of an abortion decision.â
While noting the senatorâs opposition to partial birth abortions, Anderson tells Biden âyour unconditional support for [Roe v. Wade] is a de facto endorsement of permitting all other late term abortions, and thus calls into question your appeal to Aquinas.â
Comparing the denial of the rights of unborn children to the denial of the rights of
African Americans before the U.S. Civil War, Anderson writes:
âToday, children of all races who are fully viable and only minutes from being born are also denied recognition as âpersonsâ because of the Roe v. Wade regime that you so strongly support.â
Anderson exhorts Biden to change his political stand, saying: âYou have a choice: you can listen to your conscience and work to secure the rights of the unborn to share in the fruits of our hard-won liberty, or you can choose to turn your back on them.â
Closing his letter with an invitation, Anderson writes: âI would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in greater detail during the weeks between now and November 4.â