Blog Post

Archbishop Slams Candidate’s “Cafeteria Catholicism”

Archbishop Joseph Naumann Archbishop Joseph Naumann

Kansas City’s Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann minced no words when penning a hard-hitting critique of vice presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine, who professes to be Catholic but follows Church teaching only as far as it is politically convenient.

In a column appearing in The Leaven, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Archbishop Naumann reflects on the recent vice-presidential debate and what it revealed about the faith of Senator Tim Kaine.

“It was painful to listen to Senator Kaine repeat the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal,” the Archbishop writes. “He said all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites: It is not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans. He trusts women to make good reproductive choices. And when all else fails, there is always: Do we really want to criminalize and fill our jails with post-abortive women?”

Even though the Senator says he’s against the imposition of religious beliefs on others, he apparently has no qualms about supporting efforts to force American taxpayers to fund abortion, the  Archbishop points out. Nor does he hesitate to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries to violate their conscience by including abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their employee health plans. He has also done nothing to protect small business owners such as florists, bakers, and photographers from being forced out of business by crippling fines if they decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Senator Tim Kaine (D) Senator Tim Kaine (D)

And yet many of the Senator's public positions do conform with his religious beliefs - such with the church’s opposition to racism or our preferential option for the poor. He's also not reluctant to uphold public policies that mirror the Ten Commandments with regard to stealing, perjury, or forms of murder, other than abortion.

This is because the founders of our nation actually dealt with these "religious" issues 240 years ago in the Declaration of Independence where they articulated that certain self-evident and inalienable rights, such as the right to life, are given to us by our Creator - not the Supreme Court.

In other words, it’s the government’s role to protect those rights, not grant them or take them away, and Senator Kaine seems to know this very well.

But what his politically correct positioning fails to take into account is the fact that the government's right to protect human life is not dependent on religious belief. As the founders’ stated, these are self-evident truths. They are accessible to everyone through the use of reason and do not require faith.

For that matter, why, if the Senator does not believe that abortion is the taking of an innocent life, is he "personally opposed" to it? Surely he learned in school that at the moment of fertilization a new human life has begun with his or her own distinct DNA — different from the genetic code of both the child’s mother and father, the Archbishop surmises. Surely he has seen ultrasound images of his children and grandchildren when they were in their mother’s womb.

“If he knows these truths of biology, why would he believe that anyone has the right to authorize the killing of an unborn human being? This is where the reproductive choice euphemism breaks apart. Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being’s life? Our choices end where another individual’s more fundamental rights begin."

The Archbishop goes on to question Kaine’s alleged fear that if abortion is made illegal, our prisons would be teeming with post-abortive women.

“ . . . [W]e actually have decades of legal history in our own country when this was certainly not the case,” the Archbishop reminds. “Before the late 1960s when abortion was illegal in every state, except for the life-of-the-mother cases, it is difficult to find a single instance of a woman imprisoned for abortion. The laws were enforced against the abortionists.”

Besides, our legal system is more than capable of devising public policies that can protect the unborn without punishing women.

“It is interesting that Senator Kaine expressed his personal anguish when as governor he enforced capital punishment sentences. He gave the impression that he attempted unsuccessfully to convince Virginians to abolish the death penalty. Yet, with regard to legalized abortion, I am not aware of Senator Kaine making a similar effort to convince his constituents to work for public policies that protect the lives of the unborn. Instead, he appears eager to champion not only maintaining the status quo, but actually expanding abortion rights.”

While it is true that this presidential election presents Americans with a difficult choice between two very flawed candidates, it is imperative that voters look beyond the personalities and see the bigger picture.

“In making your decision as a voter, I encourage you to think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint to key Cabinet and other powerful government positions if he or she becomes president.”

Remember, “We are choosing not just a president, but an entire administration.”

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