An irate Bishop Robert C. Morlino joined a growing number of Catholic prelates bent on criticizing pro-choice politicians when he charged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Sunday with "violating the separation of church and state" and "trampling on the pope's turf."
Just before the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Madison, Wis., Bishop Morlino happened to watch Mr. Biden being interviewed on NBC's "Meet the Press."
The bishop then announced during his sermon that he was tossing his prepared notes to preach against "confusion" caused by the two politicians.
"This [sermon] is not because they are Democrats," he told congregants, "it's because they claim to be Catholic."
The two politicians "are stepping on the pope's turf and mine," he continued, "and they are violating the separation of church and state ... confusing God's good people."
Both politicians, he said, were schooled in pre-Vatican II Catholic churches, where "abortion was always wrong. There was nothing else available in Catholic religious education in those days."
The Vatican II council in the early 1960s modernized the church by changing some of the ceremonies and relaxing its message.
Today, "Speaker Pelosi and Senator Biden are Catholics and they are on television and they are giving their ideas to Catholic people and they are causing confusion," he said. He would be equally critical, he added, if pro-choice Republican Catholic politicians made similar remarks.