Bishops Fail to Chastise VP Biden Over Gay Wedding

News: Life and Family
by Church Militant  •  •  August 8, 2016   

Only Abps. Kurtz, Wenski and Bp. Malone call out the vice president

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WASHINGTON ( - United States bishops are remaining silent on the scandal sparked by Catholic vice president Joe Biden's participation in a gay wedding.

The scandal in question occurred last week, in which Biden presided over the private ceremony in his residence in Washington, D.C. Shortly after the event, the vice president tweeted, "Proud to marry Brian and Joe at my house. Couldn't be happier, two longtime White House staffers, two great guys."

Monday marked the first time the sitting vice president, the country's first Catholic to hold the office, has presided over a same-sex wedding, following his being granted temporary certification from the District of Columbia to legally officiate the ceremony.

To date, only three of the country's prelates have publicly denounced the action. In an official post on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) blog, Abp. Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, current president of the conference, Bp. Richard Malone of Buffalo, New York, and Abp. Thomas Wenski of Miami, Florida reacted to the scandal, albeit without mentioning the vice president's name.

"When a prominent Catholic politician publicly and voluntarily officiates at a ceremony to solemnize the relationship of two people of the same-sex," the statement reads, "confusion arises regarding Catholic teaching on marriage and the corresponding moral obligations of Catholics. What we see is a counter witness, instead of a faithful one founded in the truth."

"Pope Francis has been very clear in affirming the truth and constant teaching of the Church that same-sex relationships cannot be considered 'in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family,'" the prelates continue. "Laws that redefine marriage to deny its essential meaning are among those that Catholics must oppose, including in their application after they are passed."

VP Biden presiding over same-sex wedding

The largely optimistic post noted that providing a "[f]aithful witness can be challenging," and Catholics must continue to pray for Catholic politicians "that they may fulfill the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage and offer a faithful witness that will bring much needed light to the world."

The blog post marks the first time since last week that prominent U.S. prelates have publicly breathed a word concerning the scandal, with Washington cardinal Donald Wuerl remaining silent despite pressure from conservative Catholic organizations to publicly denounce the action.

The move from Biden has been labeled as taunting the Church, with canon lawyer Edward Peters commenting that the vice president "went out of his way to act with contempt" for the Church's teachings on homosexuality and marriage, "daring the Church to do anything about it."

According to Peters, Biden's actions do not merit any specific punishment under current canon law, although the lawyer recommended Cdl. Wuerl deny the politician Holy Communion; such an action would fall under Canon 915, which states that those "obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion."

Cardinal Wuerl, however, has a history of sidestepping that specific provision in canon law, going so far as to punish a priest for denying the Eucharist to an outspoken lesbian Buddhist in 2012.

Biden's support for same-sex "marriage" has been publicly known for years, with the vice president announcing in 2012 that he was "absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights [as heterosexual couples]."


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