SAN DIEGO, CA, March 13, 2009 ( – The head of the Roman Catholic Church’s highest office overseeing Church law has slammed the nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), calling the nomination “the source of greatest embarrassment” to the Catholic Church.
In an interview with Thomas J. McKenna, president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, strongly supported the means by which the Governor has been disciplined by her bishop because of her public support for abortion. Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann has been strongly critical of Sebelius in the past, publicly admonishing her not to receive Communion, and has called Obama’s nomination of the governor “offensive.” 

“Archbishop Naumann acted with exemplary pastoral charity in the matter, protecting the Body and Blood of Christ from unworthy reception, preventing the Governor from the commission of the most serious sin of sacrilege, and ending the great scandal caused by the Governor’s unworthy reception of the Body and Blood of Christ” said Archbishop Burke in the interview.
When asked for his opinion on the nomination of Governor Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services he said, “As a Roman Catholic, her appointment is the source of the greatest embarrassment because she has publicly and repeatedly betrayed her Catholic faith.”

“What is more, she has obstinately remained in her moral error after being admonished by, at least, three of her Bishops … Her position on the question of procured abortion is the source of the greatest scandal to Catholics and to all who uphold the natural moral law.”

“No matter how good Governor Sebelius’ record regarding other human life concerns may be, if she is not committed to the safeguarding of human life from its very inception, she should not be entrusted with the questions of health and human services for our nation” he continued.

The Archbishop concluded his remarks by saying that “every bishop” is held to the “universal Church discipline” found in Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law, which state that, “Those […] who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

“Whether Governor Sebelius is in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, or in any other diocese, she should not present herself for Holy Communion because, after pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin.”
In a separate interview with Archbishop Naumann, McKenna asked why the bishop publicly asked Governor Sebelius not to present herself for Holy Communion. “My motivation was primarily to protect the Church and her teaching, as well as to protect our people from being misled” he explained.
When asked about the sin of scandal he explained, “I am very concerned about the governor and others like her leading individuals to think that it is not really so bad if you support abortion. What I think is even more deadly, especially for our young people, is for them to think that if the law permits abortion it must not be all that bad for me to procure an abortion either.”
Both interviews can be read in their entirety on Catholic Action for Faith and Family’s web site,