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If anyone could have strengthened Presidential candidate Joe Biden's Catholic faith and affected the course of history, it is his bishop, William Francis Malooly.
For the last 12 years, Malooly has been the former vice president's shepherd in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden's home diocese. It was on Malooly's watch that Biden went from:
Within six weeks of Malooly's arrival in Wilmington, his most influential parishioner — Joe Biden — was named Barack Obama's running mate. Biden had a reputation as a solidly moderate Democrat — blue-collar Joe. It was one of the reasons he was chosen to be the vice-presidential nominee.
In his 2008 nomination acceptance speech, Biden told the nation, "I'm here for everyone I grew up with in Scranton and Wilmington; I'm here for the cops and the firefighters, the teachers and the assembly line workers, the folks whose lives are the very measure of whether the American dream endures."
But Biden's Catholic beliefs had already begun to collapse. In an April 2007 interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, Joe Biden expressed his support for Roe v. Wade, something he had already been saying for years.
When Obama chose Biden as his running mate, Catholic News Agency did a roundup piece of what prominent Catholic leaders thought of the nomination. Bishop Charles Chaput, George Weigel and Fr. Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, were among those who undermined Biden's Catholic credentials, saying the candidate's support of abortion excluded him from participation in Holy Communion.
Father Pavone pointed out the problem on Fox News.
"Will the action of giving him [Biden] Communion, publicly, when people know where he stands on abortion, confuse some people?" Pavone asked.
Meanwhile, Biden's bishop stood silent.
In 2008, while on the campaign trail in Florida, the candidate presented himself for Holy Communion.
Bishop John Ricard of Tallahassee quickly responded, urging Biden to examine his conscience before presenting himself again.
When asked for comment on the incident, Malooly told the Associated Press: "I won't politicize the Eucharist. I don't want to alienate people. I want to change their hearts and minds."
When Biden officiated at a so-called gay wedding, Malooly did make a statement, but only to his priests, about the vice president's "disappointing public celebration of a same-sex union."
It took Rev. Robert Morey to do what Malooly, a registered Democrat, had failed to do.
On Oct. 29, 2019, the South Carolina priest made headlines when he refused Communion to Biden.
In a sad observation, the archdiocese of Baltimore noted in 2012: "There is little record of public discourse between vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden and the bishops of his home diocese in Delaware over the Democratic senator's legislative position on abortion."
It is not clear who, if anyone, has been advising the candidate on his Catholic faith.
When his son, Beau, died of cancer in 2015, we do know Biden did not choose Bp. Malooly for the funeral Mass but did feature Theodore McCarrick in a prominent role.