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Catholic World News News Feature

Archbishop Naumann laments Sebelius appointment, warns of threat to Catholic hospitals March 05, 2009

“Normally, it would be a source of joy and pride to have a Catholic from Kansas named by the President to an important Cabinet post. Unfortunately, I experience neither with President Obama’s selection of Governor Kathleen Sebelius as his choice to serve as the Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),” writes Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann in a column that will be published in his archdiocesan newspaper tomorrow.

Archbishop Naumann continues:

The Secretary for HHS will be a key figure in developing and implementing the Health Care Reform for the nation. There are those, who have great influence within the Obama administration and with whom Governor Sebelius has been associated throughout her political career (e.g. Planned Parenthood, National Organization of Women, NARAL, etc.), who want abortion not only to be permitted in this country but considered a right. If they are successful in their efforts to have abortion included amongst “basic health care services,” then it is entirely possible that doctors, nurses and health care institutions will be compelled to cooperate in the provision of abortion. Those advocating for abortion to be considered a “right” would love to see Catholic hospitals faced with the choice to either cooperate in providing abortions or close.


“The appointment of Governor Sebelius as the Secretary of HHS concerns me on many levels,” he adds. “With her history of support for legalized abortion and embryonic stem cell research, it is troubling the important influence that she will have on shaping health care policies for our nation … I am also concerned personally for Governor Sebelius. Her appointment as Secretary for HHS places her in a position where she will have to make many decisions that will in all probability continue her personal involvement in promoting legalized abortion and her cooperation in this intrinsic evil.
I am also concerned that the appointment of Governor Sebelius places another Catholic supporting legalized abortion in a prominent national position. She joins Vice-President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and unfortunately a host of Catholic Senators and members of the House of Representatives who support legalized abortion contrary to the clear and consistent teaching of their Church. It saddens me that so many Catholics, to gain political advancement, have chosen to compromise their Catholic faith by their failure to defend the most fundamental of all human rights-- the right to life.”

Archbishop Naumann concludes:

I am reminded of the powerful scene in A Man for All Seasons, the play about the heroic Catholic English Martyr, St. Thomas More. After Richard Rich has perjured himself in order to make it possible to convict Thomas More of treason, the Judge asks Thomas More if he has any questions for the witness. Thomas More notes that Richard Rich is wearing a chain of office and asks what it signifies. He is told that Richard Rich has been appointed Attorney General for Wales. Thomas More then paraphrases the Gospel saying to Richard Rich: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul, but for Wales?”

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