Blog Post

Kathleen Sebelius Gets it Wrong at Georgetown

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

During a speech that encouraged graduates to embrace relativism when dealing with the subject of faith in the public square, Kathleen Sebelius' much anticipated address at Georgetown University on May 18 was anything but pleasant as she found herself being heckled just two minutes into her speech.

is reporting that shortly after beginning her address at Georgetown's Public Policy Institute, a heckler stood up and shouted, "I got a message for you Kathleen Sebelius. You're a murderer - abortion is murder!"

While the heckler was being removed from the scene, Sebelius, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the author of the controversial birth control mandate that has been condemned by the U.S. bishops, had nothing but praise for herself when addressing the graduates:

"I have the extraordinary opportunity to help implement legislation that is finally, after seven decades of failed debate, ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable health coverage," she said.

When referencing the controversy over the birth control mandate, which would compel the Catholic Church and all of her institutions to provide healthcare services to employees that violate Church teaching or face crippling fines, she implied that it was the Church, not the government, that was trying to impose itself on the people.

Referring to President John F. Kennedy's famous talk to Protestant ministers where he promised not to let his religion influence his policy decisions, she said: "In that talk to Protestant ministers, Kennedy talked about his vision of religion and the public square, and said he believed in an America, and I quote, 'where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials – and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against us all'.”

She continued: "Kennedy was elected president on November 8, 1960. And more than 50 years later, that conversation, about the intersection of our nation's long tradition of religious freedom with policy decisions that affect the general public, continues."

Sadly, she went on to encourage graduates to follow her lead by embracing the rules of moral relativism, rather than the teachings of the Church, when confronting the issue of faith in the public square.

"Contributing to these debates will require more than just the quantitative skills you have learned at Georgetown," she said. "It will also require the ethical skills you have honed – the ability to weigh different views, see issues from other points of view, and in the end, follow your own moral compass."

Kathleen Sebelius is one of the most strident pro-abortion "Catholics" in public office today. As Governor of Kansas, she not only supported abortion rights and vetoed common sense pro-life legislation, she was also a supporter of the notorious late term abortionist, George Tiller, who was murdered in 2009. Her behavior was considered to be so scandalous that her own bishop, as well as Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the highest court at the Vatican, advised her not to present herself for 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," Cardinal Burke said at the time.

Deacon Keith Fournier, writing for Catholic Online, believes the spectacle of Sebelius' appearance at the nation's premier Catholic university, which was met with outrage by the school's alumni and many of its students, will spark a debate that could bring about much-needed reform to the school.

"The commencement address given by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius may actually help to bring about the necessary corrective of this Catholic University which has clearly lost its way. Please pray for Georgetown University. And, while you are praying, pray for Kathleen Sebelius to return to the truths of the faith into which she was baptized.

"Let us pray - and let us act - in a way that ensures that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaking at Georgetown University becomes the seed of the much needed reform of that once great Catholic University and its return to the faith it claims to profess."

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