The head of the Knights of Columbus has written an open letter to Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden about Biden’s position on abortion.

Addressing Biden as “a fellow Catholic layman,” Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson took issue with Biden’s abortion-related comments during a Sept. 7 appearance on Meet the Press. Biden said he accepted the Church’s teaching that life begins at conception “as a matter of faith” but said he could not impose that belief on others through public policy.

Biden was subsequently criticized by many American bishops for having misrepresented Church teachings in his remarks.

In his letter, Anderson appealed to Biden to abandon his support for abortion rights.

“On behalf of the 1.28 million members of the Knights of Columbus and their families in the United States, I appeal to you, as a Catholic who acknowledges that life begins at conception, to resolve to protect this unalienable right,” Anderson’s letter concluded. “I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues personally with you in greater detail during the weeks between now and November 4.”

— Tom McFeely