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EXCLUSIVE: Bishop Naumann – US bishops must address scandal of ‘Catholic’ Biden championing abortion

Biden’s actions are 'confusing Catholics and non-Catholics regarding the Church’s teaching on the evil of abortion'
Wed Feb 3, 2021 - 2:57 pm EST
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Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Nov. 26, 2019. Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas / Youtube

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KANSAS CITY, Kansas, February 3, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview (read full interview below) that the bishops of the United States have an “obligation” to act when it comes to the country’s president identifying himself as a devout Catholic while working to expand abortion.

“The fact that President Biden identifies himself as a devout Catholic, while working to preserve and expand legalized abortion, even using tax dollars to fund abortion, presents a unique challenge to the Bishops of the United States,” said Naumann, who also acts as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Naumann spoke in his capacity as Archbishop of Kansas City.

The Archbishop said that whether intentionally or not, President Biden’s actions are “confusing Catholics and non-Catholics regarding the Church’s teaching on the evil of abortion.”

“It is the responsibility of the Bishops of the United States to defend the most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life, and to protect the integrity of Catholic moral teaching. We cannot abdicate either of these responsibilities, even as we are eager to work with everyone to promote the common good,” he said.

In his first two weeks in office, Biden pledged to make abortion available to “everyone” by “codifying” Roe v. Wade and revoked the Mexico City policy that blocks federal funds from going to nongovernmental organizations that provide abortions in developing countries. Democrats have also pledged to quickly eliminate the pro-life Hyde Amendment that prohibits federal funds from going to pay for abortions in programs like Medicaid.

Naumann defended a Jan. 20 Inauguration Day letter written by Archbishop José Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), that warned that Biden’s pledge to pursue anti-life and anti-family policies would advance “moral evils” in the areas of “abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.”

“I am in full agreement with Archbishop Gomez, President of the USCCB, on his exhortation to President Biden to reexamine his views on life,” the Archbishop said, adding his voice to more than a dozen bishops publicly came out in support of the letter.

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“We must continue to speak to President Biden, as well as all Catholics, and even all Americans, about the truth of what abortion is. Abortion is not something to be celebrated, and it is not healthcare. It is the intentional killing of a child. To participate in abortion or to promote abortion is a grave evil.”

Gomez’s letter was not appreciated by some prelates. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago called it “ill-considered.” Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego went as far as stating that abortion should not be used as the “de facto litmus test” in determining whether a Catholic politician is a “faithful Catholic.”

Naumann said, however, that spiritual shepherds, as pastors, have an “obligation to attempt to establish a dialogue with public officials who declare themselves to be Catholic, yet who support the taking of life in the womb.”

“We also have an obligation to clarify Church teaching on abortion, and to prevent confusion caused by those who claim the mantle of Catholicism, yet reject fundamental Church teaching. This may involve publicly addressing these leaders, to eliminate any misunderstanding about what the Church truly professes,” he said.

He called on bishops and laity across the country to “pray and fast” for Biden so that he will “cease attempting to confuse people about Catholic teaching by trampling on the sanctity of human life while presenting himself as a devout Catholic.”

When asked about how he deals with the problem of pro-abortion politicians who claim to be Catholic presenting themselves for Holy Communion, the Archbishop said that if dialoguing with them produces no fruit, he requests that they not present themselves to receive.

“If even after an extended dialogue a Catholic in public life persists in scandalous actions, I have found it necessary to request that they not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, for their own spiritual welfare and for the protection of many others from moral confusion,” he said.

Near the end of the interview, the Archbishop offered words of encouragement to Catholics striving to be faithful to the Lord in these difficult times of pandemic, political unrest, and a new administration that bodes to be unfriendly to life, family, and religious freedom.

“Jesus never promised His Disciples that following Him would be easy. In fact, Our Lord told them, if they wanted to be His disciple that they had to be willing to take up the cross. Jesus did promise His disciples that He would be with us until the end of time,” he said.

“Jesus tells us that He is the Way and the Truth and Life. Jesus, who is life itself, has already won the victory over sin and death. We know, therefore, with complete and utter confidence that life will be victorious. Adversity only makes our love purer and more powerful.”

***

Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s full interview with LifeSiteNews

LifeSiteNews: As the Archbishop of Kansas City, what was your reaction to the USCCB issuing a statement on President Biden’s inauguration day that not only showed a desire for US Catholic leadership to work with the President to advance policies rooted in the Gospel and the social teachings of the Church but, at the same time, pointed out the new President’s pledge to "pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender.” As you know, Cardinal Cupich called the statement “ill-considered.” What are your thoughts on this statement?

Archbishop Joseph Naumann: I am in full agreement with Archbishop Gomez, President of the USCCB, on his exhortation to President Biden to reexamine his views on life. We must continue to speak to President Biden, as well as all Catholics, and even all Americans, about the truth of what abortion is. Abortion is not something to be celebrated, and it is not healthcare. It is the intentional killing of a child. To participate in abortion or to promote abortion is a grave evil.

No woman should be abandoned to the point where she must face the destruction of her child, and our country should be looking for ways to prevent abortion and protect unborn children instead of spreading the fallacy that abortion is an empowering choice, or a healthcare choice. Women deserve real medical care and social support, instead of the opportunity to take their own child’s life.

Biden’s administration, along with mainstream media, largely portrays the president as a "devout Catholic" who prays regularly and goes to Mass. Many Catholics who voted for Biden likely thought they were voting for a truly Catholic president. Can a politician who champions abortion, who has pledged to codify Roe, who has plans to reverse the Mexico City policy and eliminate the Hyde Amendment, be considered to be a Catholic in good standing? How should Catholics think about such a politician? How should a spiritual shepherd publicly talk about such a politician?

The fact that President Biden identifies himself as a devout Catholic, while working to preserve and expand legalized abortion, even using tax dollars to fund abortion, presents a unique challenge to the Bishops of the United States.

Whether intentionally or not, the President’s actions are confusing Catholics and non-Catholics regarding the Church’s teaching on the evil of abortion.

The people of the United States have entrusted enormous power and responsibility to President Biden. However, the Presidency does not empower him to define Catholic teaching.

It is the responsibility of the bishops of the United States to defend the most fundamental of all human rights, the right to life, and to protect the integrity of Catholic moral teaching. We cannot abdicate either of these responsibilities, even as we are eager to work with everyone to promote the common good

Spiritual shepherds, as pastors, have an obligation to attempt to establish a dialogue with public officials who declare themselves to be Catholic, yet who support the taking of life in the womb. We also have an obligation to clarify Church teaching on abortion, and to prevent confusion caused by those who claim the mantle of Catholicism, yet who reject fundamental Church teaching. This may involve publicly addressing these leaders, to eliminate any misunderstanding about what the Church truly professes.

All of us, bishops and laity, need to pray and fast that the President will cease attempting to confuse people about Catholic teaching by trampling on the sanctity of human life while presenting himself as a devout Catholic.

Catholics, some in leadership positions, who support Biden often point to his immigration and environmental policies as the reason for their support. They don’t like his policy to expand abortion, but they turn a blind eye to it because of his other, perhaps supportable, policies. What would you say to such Catholics who want to downplay Biden’s abortion stance because of his stance on immigration and other matters?

When it comes to weighing priorities during elections, the U.S. bishops have reaffirmed that “the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.” While the bishops warn us not to “dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty, and the death penalty,” we did give priority to upholding and defending our brothers’ and sisters’ most basic right—to live.

The personal and societal consequences of attacks against human life, whether at its earliest stages or at its final stages, are all the more serious because most often they are “carried out in the very heart of and with the complicity of the family— the family which by its nature is called to be the ‘sanctuary of life.’ (Evangelium Vitae). This is the place where a person should be most loved, cherished, and protected.

The enormous number of human lives destroyed by abortion is one factor that elevates its importance. The most recent available data indicates over 2,000 children per day die from abortion in the United States. Since abortion was legalized in 1973, over 61 million children have been killed—and untold numbers of women and men suffer in the aftermath.

The tragedy of abortion is also distinct in that it is currently legal to directly and intentionally take the life of an innocent human being. Current laws in our country fail to protect the lives of unborn children. Our highest court fails to recognize children in their mothers’ wombs worthy of protection. This is a grave injustice. There is no right to kill another human being. There is an inalienable right to life.

All of these facts make ending abortion our preeminent priority. Pope Francis has agreed that it is the preeminent priority, calling the right to life the fundamental right.

Canon law teaches that Catholics who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion” (915). According to a 2004 memo issued to the U.S. bishops by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Catholic politician who is “consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws” manifests “formal cooperation” with grave sin. Do you think President Biden falls into this category? If during a state visit to Kansas, he were to come to Mass in your Archdiocese, what would you do if you knew he would be presenting himself for Holy Communion?

When a baptized Christian, after prayer and reflection, is received into full communion with the Catholic Church, they make the following profession: “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.” Each time we come to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion, the priest says: “The Body of Christ.” The recipient replies: “Amen.” Our Amen expresses not only our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist but also our belief in the Church that Our Lord empowered to make Himself present through the Blessed Sacrament.

In effect, our Amen when receiving Our Lord is an affirmation that we believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God.

We do not want a non-Catholic Christian to profess something that they do not believe. Similarly, integrity requires a Catholic not receive the Eucharist while acting in a manner incoherent with fundamental Catholic teaching.

The efforts of some politicians who support and even celebrate pro-abortion legislation will result in killing many more unborn children, as well as the spiritual and emotional wounding of their mothers and fathers.

Advocating for intrinsically evil acts, like abortion, is a serious immoral act – one that involves grave matter, the prerequisite for the commission of a mortal sin, as Pope Benedict notes.

While we can object to the actions of pro-abortion public officials, we are not able to judge their souls. At the same time, we know there will be a Judgment Day. In my own role as a bishop, I have a serious responsibility to make certain that those entrusted to my pastoral care are aware of the moral gravity and spiritual consequences of their actions. I also have a serious obligation to protect other members of my flock from being misled by a seeming tolerance of the scandalous behavior of some Catholics in public life.

It is critically important that I attempt to enter into dialogue with such Catholic leaders. If even after an extended dialogue a Catholic in public life persists in scandalous actions, I have found it necessary to request that they not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, for their own spiritual welfare and for the protection of many others from moral confusion.

What do you hear the Lord asking you to speak to your flock during these times of pandemic, political unrest, and a new administration that bodes to be unfriendly to life, family, and religious freedom?

Jesus never promised His disciples that following Him would be easy. In fact, Our Lord told them, if they wanted to be His disciple that they had to be willing to take up the cross. Jesus did promise His disciples that He would be with us until the end of time.

The Letter of John tells us that the disciples of Jesus should not be amazed if the world hates us. He also reminds us that to hate another is equivalent to being a murderer. While rejecting actions that are evil, we can never hate those who do evil to us or others.

Jesus gave His life for us, despite our sins and betrayals. It is the call of His disciples to lay down our lives in love for others, even those who speak ill of us and seek to harm us.

Jesus tells us that He is the way and the truth and the life. Jesus, who is life itself, has already won the victory over sin and death. We know, therefore, with complete and utter confidence that life will be victorious. Adversity only makes our love purer and more powerful.


  abortion, holy communion, joe biden, joseph naumann, pro-abortion catholic politicians, pro-abortion catholics, united states conference of catholic bishops, usccb

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