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Kansas City archbishop explains request that Sebelius not receive Communion

Catholic World News - March 16, 2009

In a column in The Kansas City Star, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City has explained to the general public his request that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius not receive Holy Communion. President Barack Obama has nominated Sebelius to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. “As a Catholic priest, my life is dedicated to attempting to bring people to Jesus Christ. In our Catholic faith, we believe that Jesus makes himself uniquely present to us through our reception of the Eucharist,” Archbishop Naumann explained. “Catholics have a personal responsibility not to receive Holy Communion if they have with knowledge and intention committed a grave evil.” “For more than 25 years,” he continued, “Gov. Sebelius has advocated and supported legalized abortion. She has opposed such modest protections as parental notification for minors, waiting periods, informed consent and improved regulation of abortion clinics. In the hope to awaken her to the grave spiritual consequences of her own actions and in an effort to prevent her from leading others into error, it was my responsibility to request that the governor refrain from receiving the Eucharist.”

(The Kansas City Star does a disservice to the archbishop with a headline that suggests the column is an "attack" on Sebelius. Although Archbishop Naumann is certainly critical of the governor, his pastoral concern comes through clearly. The Star's headline for an accompanying story is revealing: Ordinarily one speaks about a "church vs. state" conflict. But the Star makes it "church vs. politics." Do the editors mean to imply that the Church is-- or should be-- opposed to all political activity?)

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