KANSAS CITY, Kansas, December 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Politicians who “flaunt” being Catholic while asserting that they are also pro-abortion are guilty of “misleading” other Catholics and must be admonished, said U.S. Archbishop Joseph Naumann in a recent interview.
Naumann, who was elected last month by his brother bishops over Cardinal Blase Cupich to be the next head of the U.S. bishops' pro-life efforts, said that openly pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians are “particularly problematic” for the bishops to deal with.
“We have an obligation to dialogue with that individual as much as possible. We want to presume his or her good will and that he or she is misinformed, and to get him or her to think more carefully and honestly about the issue,” he said in the interview with Catholic World Report.
“Where it is particularly problematic is when we have Catholic politicians who flaunt their Catholicity, but take positions that our inconsistent with our Catholic teaching. This was the case with Kathleen Sebelius, who was our Kansas governor previously. She would talk about how Catholic she was, but act totally contrary to Church teaching. It creates a problem for us as bishops when Catholic politicians do that. They teach our people that it is okay to be Catholic and support legalized abortion,” he added.
Naumann called US Senator and former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine “another example of a politician who flaunted his Catholic background but spewed a lot of pro-choice rhetoric.”
“When they do this they’re taking on a teaching role and misleading our people,” he said.
Naumann called it “less problematic” for a Catholic politician who is pro-abortion but who does not say his position is in accordance with his Catholic faith.
“We still need to dialogue, but he’s not saying, ‘I’m Catholic and pro-choice and you can be Catholic and pro-choice, too,’” he said.
Naumann, who is the Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, will take over his duties from Cardinal Dolan as chairman of the USCCB pro-life committee in the coming year.
The Archbishop has a long track record of supporting life, including serving as St. Louis’s archdiocesan pro-life coordinator from 1984 to 1995, establishing a Project Rachel ministry there and the Lifeline Coalition network of Catholic social service agencies and pro-life caregivers. He was also a founding board member of the Vitae Foundation.
Archbishop Naumann had already served six terms as a member of the Bishops’ pro-life committee when he was elected chairman of the committee last month.
In addition to his pro-life witness in regard to Sebelius and Kaine, the archbishop and his fellow Kansas prelates produced a video for Catholics During last year’s presidential election advising them of the moral obligation to “keep (the) human rights catastrophe” of abortion “at the forefront of their minds when voting.”
This past May the archbishop cut ties between his archdiocese and the Girl Scouts due to the Scouts’ ties to abortion.
Archbishop Naumann has also been unique among the U.S. Bishops in voicing concern over the international aid organization Catholic Relief Services (CRS) on its funding guidelines after revelations that CRS gives millions of dollars each year to pro-abortion and contraception organizations in developing countries.
Naumann said during the interview that priests must not shy away from giving homilies on the topic of abortion.
Priests must speak about it, he said, because failing to address the truth of the issue is negligence, leaving young Catholics at risk for the tragedy of abortion.
“I’d also like to say to our priests: we can’t fail to talk to our people about these real sins that affect the lives of our people,” stated Naumann.
“If we talk about sins they don’t commit, of what good is that?”
“Certainly we want to preach about the topic in a sensitive way,” he added, “and be supportive of those who chose abortion but now regret it. But if the Church is silent on the destruction of life, we’re being negligent, and leaving our young people vulnerable to making this tragic decision.”