By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City responded to statements made during a recent Washington Post interview with Kathleen Sebelius, the pro-abortion Catholic Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, where she blamed the “separation of church and state” for her persistent pro-abortion position that resulted in her being banned from Communion.
In an interview with LifeSiteNews.com, Archbishop Naumann of Kansas City said the secretary’s argument “misrepresents the issue” to make it appear that “she was the victim of merely upholding the law.”
During the Washington Post interview, Sec. Sebelius said being banned from receiving Communion was “one of the most painful experiences of my life” but went on to say that she is a “firm believer in the separation of church and state, and I feel that my actions as a parishioner are different than my actions as a public official and that the people who elected me in Kansas had a right to expect me to uphold their rights and their beliefs even if they did not have the same religious beliefs that I had.”
She added: “And that’s what I did: I took an oath of office and I have taken an oath of office in this job and will uphold the law.”
Archbishop Naumann responded by saying: “Secretary Sebelius misrepresents the issue by her attempt to invoke separation of church and state. At no time did I ask her not to execute her oath of office.
“Secretary Sebelius makes it appear that she was asked not to receive Holy Communion because she was the victim of merely upholding the law. In reality, Secretary Sebelius opposed even such modest restrictions on abortion as parental notification of minors, required waiting periods before an abortion, as well as meaningful regulation of abortion clinics to protect, at least, the mother’s health.”
Bishop Naumann went on to say that it was just as painful for him to have to ask the Secretary to refrain from receiving Communion. “However, I had exhausted every reasonable means to convince her to change her position,” he said. “I also had a serious obligation to uphold the integrity of the Eucharist and to protect other Catholics from being misled by the former Governor’s support for legalized abortion.
While serving as Governor of Kansas, Sec. Sebelius vetoed several key pro-life bills, including abortion clinic regulation, parental notification and informed consent laws, as well as a patient or family member the legal right to sue an abortion provider over a suspected late-term abortion. She also vetoed a bill that would have strengthened the state’s ban on late-term abortion.
Her affiliation with the notorious late-term abortionist, George Tiller, who was murdered last spring, also caused great scandal in the Church.
Just before the 2008 election, Bishop Naumann wrote in his weekly column that he found it difficult “to find a single instance, either in a procedural or substantive vote, where she acted in a manner that would afford unborn children the maximum protection . . . Sebelius voted to weaken or eliminate even such modest measures as parental notification, waiting periods and informed consent.”
Bishop Naumann says he will continue to pray for Secretary Sebelius “that she will accept the grace to acknowledge the grave evil in which she has been involved and will have the courage to take the necessary steps to correct the scandal created by her past actions.”
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