The Catholic Bishops are cheesed with Joe Biden for, as they see it, claiming that abortion is just a “personal and private issue.” Here’s the relevant quote, from Biden’s response on Meet the Press last Sunday:
I’d say, “Look, I know when it begins for me.” It’s a personal and private issue. For me, as a Roman Catholic, I’m prepared to accept the teachings of my church. But let me tell you. There are an awful lot of people of great confessional faiths–Protestants, Jews, Muslims and others–who have a different view.
According to the bishops, “the Senator’s claim that the beginning of human life is a ‘personal and private’ matter of religious faith, one which cannot be ‘imposed’ on others, does not reflect Catholic teaching.”
Of course, Biden did not say that the Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a private matter. His position is that it is a confessional matter. The bishops can assert until they are blue in the face that what they profess is universally applicable because it’s built into the nature of things; but at the end of the day they remain religious leaders asserting the doctrine of their church. And most American Catholics, like Biden, understand them as such.