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Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas.Lisa Bourne / LifeSiteNews

May 30, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion and euthanasia have a “deeper relevance” when it comes to U.S. public policy debate than issues such as poverty and immigration, the U.S. Bishops’ incoming pro-life chair said in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews. 

“I think with abortion and euthanasia, you're always dealing with a direct threat to innocent human life,” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City said in an interview with LifeSiteNews’ Editor-in-chief and co-founder John-Henry Westen.

“And the other thing that makes those issues, I think, have a particular moral relevance, a deeper relevance, is that this attack on human life happens within the family – the very place that's called to be the sanctuary of life.” 

Naumann said that for this reason, abortion and euthanasia “have great weight in public policy.”

Naumann, who is the incoming Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said that “nuances” in Catholic teaching do not exist when it comes to abortion and euthanasia.

“Every human life is precious. And, wherever the human person is threatened, wherever life is diminished the Church has an equal concern no matter what those circumstances might be,” he said. 

But there are nuances when it comes to issues such as poverty and immigration. 

People, he said, may disagree about what “best benefits the poor.” And, it becomes “complicated” when determining “what's the right public policy in terms of immigrants and how the nations keep order at their borders, but still welcome immigrants.”

“So I think there are there are more nuances to some of these issues when we get into the public policy debate,” he said. 

The conversation touched on whether the need behind the U.S. Bishops’ 2004 document “Catholics in Political Life” remained a valid concern today.

That statement against honoring those who publicly act in defiance of the Catholic Church’s fundamental moral principles, particularly abortion, was still warranted, Archbishop Naumann said.

“I think that's still true today that we create confusion amongst our own people if our Catholic institutions honor in some way or give a platform to those that fail to in their public life fail to live out our Catholic faith in these very critical areas these very important areas in terms of the morality of public policy,” Naumann told LifeSiteNews. 

“I think what we said in 2004 is still applicable today,” he said, “in that Catholic universities and colleges and other institutions, when they're talking about commencement addresses or giving awards to people, that I think that that prudence demands that we avoid giving anything that would be scandalous or appear to give approval to these public statements that are at odds with the church's teaching on these important moral issues.” 

Archbishop Naumann has defended the Catholic faith repeatedly before and since his November 2017 election as USCCB pro-life committee chair, both in action and with clear statements on the importance of upholding Catholic principles. This has included the pastoral duty of censuring pro-abortion Catholic politicians for the scandal caused by their public defiance of Church teaching.  

The archbishop went on to speak on the topics of contraception, marriage, homosexuality and gender politics, worthiness to receive Communion, and the existence of hell. LifeSiteNews will publish these reports shortly.