Friday, August 15, 2008

Justifying A Public Whipping, Naumann On Sebelius

Archbishop Naumann Speaks Out On Governor Sebelius

With the U.S. presidential race heating up and both John McCain and Barack Obama close to announcing their vice presidential nominees, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City says he hopes his warning of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for her support of abortion, has “alerted” Obama that she is not a good advisor on the Catholic Church.

While he was in Quebec City, Canada for the Knights of Columbus’ annual conference, Archbishop Naumann took time to explain to CNA the intricacies of his decision to ask the Kansas governor to refrain from receiving Communion. (At this particular convention, the grand poohbah of the Knights seemed to indicate that the only two things Catholics should take into consideration when voting are abortion and same sex marriage. Nice to know that social justice issues merit no consideration.)

Writing in the May 9 issue of The Leaven, the Archdiocese of Kansas City’s newspaper, Archbishop Naumann said that because of the governor’s support for legalized abortion, he had asked her to refrain from receiving Holy Communion until she makes a worthy confession and publicly repudiates her stand on abortion. He later clarified that his request to her was not directed toward one particular action, but rather, it concerned her “30-year history of advocating and acting in support of legalized abortion.”
When you stand before God…

“There are many goods you are trying to weigh. Where you have someone in public life who is not living in their public responsibilities consistent with the Catholic faith, I think you are concerned about that individual,” he began. (Except this is the only issue on which the bishops ever speak out and discipline Catholic politicians.)

“One of the things that I said when I met with the governor at one point, is that some day she’s going to have to stand before God and account for her public service. And I hope that she’s going to have something better to say than what she does to this point on the protection of the innocent unborn. But I said if you go to God and you say, ‘Well, I didn’t understand how important this was’ or ‘I didn’t understand that this was such a crucial issue’ then as your bishop I’m the one responsible because I didn’t do enough to try and make sure of that. I told her I wasn’t comfortable with that and so I wanted to make sure that she understood what a serious matter this was.”

The concern for the archbishop is multi-layered, ranging from the individual involved to the rest of his flock. “I think you have concern for that individual and in wanting to try to bring about enlightenment and conversion. You also have a concern for the rest of your people. That’s the problem with the individual that’s in a public position. When they act contradictory to their faith, then it can create within the Church what the Church means by scandal, which means leading others into error.”

According to Archbishop Naumann, he received letters from people who were requesting that she be excommunicated immediately even before he asked Gov. Sebelius not to receive Communion. Yet, Naumann says he isn’t really concerned about these people because they know Sebelius’ actions aren’t in keeping with the Catholic faith.

“It’s all the people that aren’t writing,” who worry the archbishop. “Frankly after the pastoral action I did take with the governor,” the Kansas City archbishop related, “there were several [people] who communicated with me that, ‘we didn’t realize how extreme she was’.”

“I also am concerned about young Catholics that are thinking about public service and public life,” he said. The archbishop’s message to the younger generation of Catholic is that, “they can’t go the road of these so-called pro-choice Catholic politicians and really be faithful to your faith.”

The archbishop’s dialogue with Sebelius

Lest anyone think that Archbishop Naumann’s public correction of Gov. Sebelius was an impulsive decision, he made clear that he was in conversation with her for “a couple years” and that the discussions took place at “various levels.”

As he explained to CNA, “To my mind, you have to pursue it in that way; you have to attempt to meet with the individual, instruct the individual, make sure that you’ve given them every chance to consider their position before you take extreme action.”

When he was asked if Kathleen Sebelius has honored his request, the Catholic leader of Kansas City said that she has. “To my knowledge, she hasn’t gone to Communion since this second request to her so in that sense from an indirect way she’s honoring the request.” (How is this an indirect honoring of his request? He asked her not to receive Communion and she's not.)

However, the governor has not kept the lines of communication open with Archbishop Naumann since his request in May. According to Naumann, “she has not communicated with me at this point at all and she’s told other people in the media that she’s going to respond to me personally, but that hasn’t happened at this time.”

A bad counselor for Obama

“What I found out after I took the pastoral action with Governor Sebelius is that Senator Obama had her on his advisory committee for Catholics,” recalled the archbishop.
“I wasn’t aware of that [beforehand],” he said, “but I hope that it alerted Senator Obama that this is not probably somebody that can really counsel you in terms of the mind and the heart of the Church on this very critical and important area.”

“So I think it would be a bad judgment on Senator Obama’s part to select someone who was in conflict with the Church.”

Turning his attention to Catholic voters and the upcoming election, Archbishop Naumann advised them to bring their values in to the voting booth. If Catholics do this, “we can have a serious impact on the positions that the individuals and parties are taking,” he said.

“There’s a lot at stake in the elections,” observed Naumann.

“I think that the political parties read the results of the election and then put an interpretation on it. After this election, they’re either going to think ‘we need to be more aware of these values about the sanctity of human life; the importance of marriage and its traditional understanding being upheld’ or they’re going to think ‘these are things we can either ignore or the tide is with us to go against what has really been the tradition of Western civilization’.”


I'm sort of at a loss as to how Archbishop Naumann thinks Catholics should vote. Neither party has a truly pro life candidate, so how does one send the appropriate message in order to save the tradition of Western Civilization? Not vote at all, vote for a pro life fringe candidate, or take some other issues into consideration?

There's no question that Governor Sebelius is pro choice. Lots of republicans are too. Lots of Catholics are for that matter. That doesn't necessarily make one pro abortion. And no I don't buy into all the arguments which say pro choice is pro abortion. In my line of work I've dealt with the abortion question enough to know the choices surrounding abortion are difficult and the ethics far more nuanced than the Church would like to admit.

In singling out Governor Sebelius in the way Archbishop Naumann has almost makes the statement that she has more influence on his flock than he does. His mention of the letters which asked for her immediate excommunication probably states who has the influence on him. I don't know whether to commend him for not caving into their demands for excommunication or to feel sorry for him that he thinks denying Sebelius communion is some sort of pastoral compromise.

As to her influence on Barak Obama and the Catholic question, I don't know that Barak needs some politician to inform him of the Church's positions when the Church has been trumpeting their official positions for decades. Me thinks it's more of the good archbishop giving the governor credit for far more influence than she actually has.

I suspect his real issue has more to do with the fact that she's maintaining her position against the authority of his advice. That he probably doesn't like. It's a public repudiation of his authority in that she's a public person. This is probably the same reason Archbishop Burke went after Rick Majerus, the basketball coach of the University of St. Louis. How many Catholics really care what Rick Majerus thinks about Roe v Wade? None that I know of.

This election year is shaping up to be a tough one for Catholics. Obama's position on abortion is as pro choice as it gets, while McCain maybe anti abortion but he's pro stem cell research. McCain's stance on immigration certainly doesn't reflect the position of the USCCB, and on most other issues he falls solidly in the neo con camp. A reflective informed Catholic voter may wind up reflecting themselves out of voting.

Once the Olympics games are out of the way, the political games begin in earnest. It will be interesting to see how many more Catholic politicians wind up DQ'd by their bishops.


  1. Gov. Sebalius probably does have more influence than Bishop Naumann. I have more respect for her than him for sure. She is not receiving Communion now, but eventually they will excommunicate her anyway, the way things are going these days. Perhaps she'll come out in favor of women priests and then they'll excommunicate her. The more reports I hear from the Church hierarchy of excommunicating people, the less I want to go to Church. I can't go to the Catholic Church anymore. I can't call myself a Catholic and feel good about it in the least. The Catholic Church is dead spiritually. Gov. Sebalius will reach the point where she is in agreement with people like me and you and just will say no more, it's enough, I'm not taking abuse anymore oh Catholic Church full of male domineering paranoid sexual pervert priests who hate women and anyone with a conscience of their own.

    An Enlightened Catholic, I am beginning to understand, is an ex-Catholic.

    The true scandal is Archbishop Naumann and his narrow little mind, pee wee sized heart, who would have Catholics vote in a mass murdering war-mongerer & torturer, pro-death penalty proponent like GW Bush, who was for making abortion illegal and outlawing gay marriage. Archbishop Naumann is the scandal. The Church hierarchy is the scandal. The pedophile priests are the scandal. The Popes are the scandal. The Catechism is a scandal. The theology of the Pharisees is a scandal.

    If this election hinges on the Democrats getting the "Catholic" vote - God help us! The "Catholic" vote brought us GW Bush, a War in Iraq, a teetering to the brink of depression economy, massive layoffs and job losses, massive outsourcing of jobs, massive foreclosures, massive bankruptcies, the list goes on and on to a bleak and utter destructive path. Archbishop Naumann and his narrow minded perverted excommunicating loving irreligious pedophile loving, no good scheming liar priest in the hierarchy are the scandal that make me want to puke in disgust! I am fed up with BS in the Church.

  2. At the risk of being cynical, which when it comes to the catholic church I already am, the choices are really easy if we take a lesson from a famous TV sitcom from the 60's ...

    There was an episode in Hogans Heroes where Hogan is defusing a bomb and cant decide which wire to cut, so he asks Klink. Klink said red, Hogan cut the blue one, (the correct choice) because he knew Klink always made the wrong choice.

    Along the same lines, history has consistantly shown us that if the catholic church (magisterium) supports a position, the position they support it is probably inappropriate and probably "ante-christo".

    Therefore, whoever or whatever the church says to vote for, if we vote for the opposite, we will probably get the better choice.

    (wonder if that qualifies me for an exomm ... nah ... I'm small potatoes in this argument, although I could sure have fun with this on NCR ... ;-) )

  3. Colleen - is it your birthday today!! I want to wish you a very happy birthday!!!

  4. ohhh nooooo butterfly ... you talked about womenpriest ... good catholics arent supposed to do that, it is forbidden now by magisterial edict.
    :-p (how do you spell that sound?)

    Your birthday is soon also isnt it butterfly?

    Something I meant to add to the previous post. When this all hit the fan earlier this year, I read part of the bill that Sebelius vetoed. (something the AB did not do) I'm not an attorney or a policitican, but even with my limited understanding, I could see that it was a mess!!!

    A fact which the AB keeps ignoring, the bill was a horrific cacophany of political rhetoric that would have tied the legislature in knots for years. Not to mention, it would never have stood up to a court challenge. Numerous other political commentators have reached the same conclusion.

    So, with a preponderance of evidence saying the Sebelius vetoed a really bad bill, what is the real issue here?

    I believe the real issue is gender, and that she had the audicity to "disobey" him. As of yet, no sanctions have been made for any of the male catholics who in the kansas legislature that voted against the bill.

  5. That is interesting Carl, that no other legislators who voted against the bill who were Catholic have been reprimanded or told not to receive Communion. Such a shame to be a priest with so many in the flock being disobedient and scandalous but only correcting the woman. It is such obvious discrimination.

    My B-day is in a few weeks. How about yours? My son is surprising me with something and I hope it is a keyboard so I can begin composing and recording via the computer. I think Col's birthday is today or it was yesterday, or maybe it's on the 20th... I can't remember. Can't believe we're all born in the same year. Amazing, don't you think?

  6. Sept 8. Amazing? yes and no - synchronicities like this occur for me so frequently now that it really doesnt surprise me anymore.

    Another interesting tidbit I heard about AB Naumann. A while back he was speaking at a school event, and a senior girl took him to task over an issue. (I wish I could remember what it was) She backed him down in front of everyone and he had to admit he was wrong. Some of those present said it was amazing to watch!

    My impression is that he pontificates really well, but when someone goes toe to toe with him, and has their facts straight, he cant stand up to them. My guess is that is what happened in the meetings with Sebeluis.

    What is interesting is how quiet she is being about the situation. She could easily castrate him in the press if she wanted to. Makes me wonder what is going on in the background. You are probably right about your earlier comment about all hell breaking loose after the olympics close. Should be interesting.

    Well, enough verbosity for one night, time for my evening yoga ... hmmm ...

    do you suppose I could blame my cynical liberal protestant proportionalistic heretical attitudes toward the magisterial authority on the yoga? Fr Davies in England did say yoga is a doorway to demon possession ...

  7. Thanks for cheering me up Carl. Bill Moyer's Journal tonight was fascinating and revealing about the imperial Presidency in the US. Have to get the book whose title I forget and have to look up author's name on So much truth to this man's story.

  8. Bill Moyer's Journal tonight was an interview with former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich about his latest book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. You can probably see it on Worth seeing. I'm going to watch again tomorrow.

  9. On a sorta kinda related issue, did you happen to catch the article about McCain being divorced and remarried.

    I find the hypocrisy of this fascinating. The church slams divorced/remarried couples for living in perpetual unrepentant sin of adultery. Yet, in the next breath, the church is backing a presidential candidiate who is divorced, remarried and is LIVING in adultery (according to the vatican anyway).

    At the same time, we have Sebelius who is (as far as I know) faithful in her only marriage, has been denied communion for a vote on a really bad, really really bad piece of legislation.

    And the FO's wonder why I give so much LiP and dont trust our leadership. duh!!!

  10. Butterfly, my birthday was July 19, but my daughter's is August 20th.

    Carl, I read that quote from Fr, Davies about Yoga and was underwhelmed to say the least. It's right up there with EWTN's assessment of the New Age movement. Oh well, what can one expect.

    Your point about Naumann not publicly chastising the males who voted for that ever so rotten bill is on target. Same situation with Sr. Louis Lears. I'll be curious to see what happens with Fr. Burgeous when he meets with his supreriors. Will he be laicised like Bozek is undergoing?

  11. Colleen - Happy Belated Birthday! And a Happy B-Day to your daughter on the 20th!!! Yea!!!

  12. Great commentary, Colleen. I especially like your statement that, "I suspect his real issue has more to do with the fact that she's maintaining her position against the authority of his advice. That he probably doesn't like. It's a public repudiation of his authority in that she's a public person."

    Have you noticed on the NCR cafe that, when someone like Joan Chittester defends women's rights, the word that immediately surfaces from the right-wingers on the cafe is obedience?

    Obedience seems to be the sole virtue for those on the right--and especially for women. The thought of a woman out of control is just intolerable for the authority figures of church and society.

    This is why so many of the right-wingers focus on Chittester: she herself represents (in their mind) a woman out of control. And it's always amazing to me that some of her most vitriolic attackers are other women. Maybe at some deep level they realize that they have chosen a subjugation she refuses to choose, and thus they have to destroy her, because she reminds them of the road not taken.

  13. The mists of history may reveal the character similitudes of annular birth order. I too am a Leo/Virgo cusp baby of the early 50's. Maybe the evolving integration of consciousness predisposed a hopeful projection of seasonal awareness upon the offspring by the caretakers. Different priorities made demands upon a community at points in the cycle of the year. I am currently not cocerned about where my sweaters are right now, and relish the varieties of fresh produce available in this interim period. Perhaps the conservative mind can be understood in impetus from an environment of personal privation. Just a thought.

  14. I had to think about you comment for awhile tuppenceabag. Personal privation can have a whole host of meanings, and I think you have good point.

    Sometimes just lack of experience can have a profound effect on someone's outlook. I've often thought that a lot of things open up for people when they get away from their home neighborhoods and culture and see there's a bigger world out there. Sometimes they find there is a bigger church too.

  15. Tuppence:

    I've been thinking about what you said. I've met a lot of people in the metaphysical community over the years, roughly the same age, who were born in this particular time slot. All shared similar awareness and passions for spirituality, though many different interpretations and expressions.

    I've often wondered if we werent here as a "forerunners", to lay the groundwork for those who are coming of age now, creating a framework, an energy grid, a pontentiality for the indigos and crystals to step into now.

    I have always been one who, as colleen mentioned about sundance, found the right place to be at a certain time, then planted myself as an "anchor". Anchoring the spiritual energy of an area usually preceding major spiritual expansion, staying for extended periods of time, until the next evolution occurred. Then I would be guided (sometimes kicking and screaming) to the next place. The process always unfolded in a wonderfully synchronistic pattern, that was obvious looking back, but not so obvious (to me at least) in the moment.

    I have been told by those who claim to be sensitive, that I have always anchored at or near the intersections of lay lines or grid intersections. I cant verify that, but it would make sense.

    It doesnt surprise me that those of us here are all in that same group. It reinforces what I have been feeling for some time now, that we are on the verge of a major transitional event. I had the sense today that we passed a critical mass point over the weekend.

    I also became aware of my "entourage" (kryon) today, I've known they were there for a long time, but today I felt their presence for the first time outside of a channeling, which was a wonderful moment.

    Colleen, what do you make of buzzards circling overhead every time I am in the pool swimming laps? Been happening consistently since about the time butterfly found her wings.

  16. Carl and Colleen - Did you watch Bill Moyers Journal on If not, please watch and listen to the interview with former US Army Colonel Andrew J. Bacevich about his latest book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.

    What he reveals is what I believe is part of something really big happening to the consciousness of this country. People are waking up, and this man is awake. This man is able to connect a lot of dots in terms of what has been happening in our country for the last 30 years politically, economically and militarily. He is very influenced by Niebuhr Reinhold and speaks of him as a "prophet." I am really blown away by this comprehension of our disastrous foreign policy and imperial presidency and how he is able to communicate it with humility. He makes enormous sense when sometimes it just feels overwhelmingly senseless. The man is a genius and probably a prophet too. I think this is really important to not miss.

    Here is the link:

  17. Carl, you are so on target with this. It's why I mentioned the influence Mark Spitz had on Michael Phelps.

    "I've often wondered if we werent here as a "forerunners", to lay the groundwork for those who are coming of age now, creating a framework, an energy grid, a pontentiality for the indigos and crystals to step into now."

    I need to speak more about the whole phenomenon of the 'boomer' generation as it effects the Crystals. We were talking about this the other night, and laughing about how one of the ways you can tell a Crystal is if they listen to music from the late sixties and early seventies. Musicisians and groups like Simon and Garfunkle, Cat Stevens, The Moody Blues, The Beatles, some Steppenwolf, some Rolling Stones, most of the folk singers. It seems like it's almost a dead giveaway.

    It's not that they reject today's music, but if you check out their Ipods, you'll find some of the above listed artists.

    Crystals can be an interesting group of young adults. Free Spirits with agendas, and yes, our generation not only laid the groundwork but are expected to mentor them into becoming who they really are, which is more than most of us! :)