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Scott P. Richert

A Slap in the Face of Catholics

By March 2, 2009

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On Monday, March 2, 2009, President Barack Obama is expected to announce his nominee for the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), current Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic who is radically pro-abortion.Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, August 19, 2008, in Warren, MI. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

In six years as governor, Sebelius has vetoed four separate pieces of pro-life legislation, including one in 2008 that would have provided women seeking abortions in the last weeks of a pregnancy with information about alternatives. The bill would also have instituted regulations designed to prevent coerced abortions, especially among minors. (Victims of incest are often coerced by their abusers into aborting children conceived during incest in order to cover up the crime.)

That is one reason why Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann has warned Governor Sebelius that she should refrain from receiving Holy Communion, declaring that, under Sebelius's rule, Kansas has become "infamous for being the late-term abortion center for the Midwest." But Sebelius's connections to abortion run even deeper. A key donor to her political campaigns is Dr. George Tiller, who specializes in late-term abortions. According to reports, Tiller has performed over 60,000 abortions.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sebelius was rumored to be on the short list of possible Democratic vice-presidential candidates. Controversy over Sebelius's radical pro-abortion stand seems to have played a role in Obama's choice of Delaware Senator (and Catholic) Joseph Biden, whose own pro-abortion views seem moderate in comparison.

But the choice of Governor Sebelius to head HHS is, if anything, even worse. It not only shows that the Obama administration will be more strongly committed to abortion than even the Clinton administration, but it also signals a willingness to confront the Catholic Church on the question of unborn life. As Catholic League President William Donohue stated last night on the CBS Evening News, "for Obama to choose somebody who sews such division within the Catholic community to head HHS really is an insult to Catholics."

(Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius attends a "Women For Obama" town hall meeting at the Macomb County Community College, August 19, 2008, in Warren, Michigan. Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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March 2, 2009 at 8:01 pm
(1) An Angry Catholic says:

Why doesn’t NCCB excommunicate these pro-death radical politicians?

March 2, 2009 at 10:48 pm
(2) Gatomon41 says:

This is despicable. It’s bad enough that Obama choose Biden, but to select the Butcher of Kansas to head Health and Human Services? How can anyone trust her to handle health if
she supports such a self-destructive path?

I have to note that under Canon Law, any politican supporting abortion is automatically excommunicated. But the NCCB should publicly announce this. They need to take a stand. We all must take a stand!

March 2, 2009 at 10:54 pm
(3) Scott P. Richert says:

I think part of the problem here is the entire NCCB mindset. The bishops as a whole aren’t responsible for instructing Catholic politicians in the United States; each individual bishop is responsible for instructing the politicians in in his diocese—just as he is responsible for instructing the rest of us.

But many bishops are afraid to take any action that might be seen as going beyond what the bishops as a whole do. They’re all waiting for another bishop to take the first step.

March 2, 2009 at 11:39 pm
(4) michael says:

Dear Scott,

Sibelius….just another in an ever-growing line of “Catholics” in the PUBLIC arena who actively promote abortion.

Since she will be living/working in Washington, do you suppose Archbishop Wuerl will issue any kind of statement about this? Oh, yeah……how many “Catholic” politicians in Washington has he censured and excommunicated?

March 3, 2009 at 5:25 pm
(5) Larry says:

Time has come for the 60 million real practicing Roman Catholics in our USA to stand together and let all the deviants know we want God and Jesus in our daily lives and in the public place. We do not want the culture of death that our legislators keep telling us we have to accept. Time to vote out of office any Roman Catholic politican who votes against God and Jesus.
Cannot get any simple than that.

March 3, 2009 at 11:04 pm
(6) Nancy says:

This is surely a time to turn to prayer, if ever there was one. This appointment is either unfortunate, deliberately insulting or both, and committed Catholics should not only write to the President but also pray for our nation at this critical crossroads.

March 4, 2009 at 12:38 am
(7) Micael says:

Scott, Angry & Gato,

In all fairness I believe the Bishop in Gov. Sebelius’ diocese has effectively excommunicated her. The he has not expressed the “E” word, he has mentioned publically stated she is NOT to receive communion …practically ex-COMMUNicating her.

Unfortunately Larry has the 60 million number a bit off. I believe the number of Catholics number about 65 million of which only 30% go to Mass regularly , and of those 19.5 million I’d guessimate at best 25% are active with parish and Church issues as abortion. So the number is dwarfed to about 3.5 million.

Also, it has been said, if every US Catholic was a faithful believer and active participant of their faith they would transform this nation as oppose to what has occured in the last 30-40 years … many Catholic have been transformed and actively represent and “faithfully” reflect the views of the Secular Culture & Religion.

March 4, 2009 at 6:07 pm
(8) Doug says:

” radically pro-abortion”, sorry Scott that’s nothing more than tired hyperbole. As a Kansan, I know Sebelius is just our governor. The Republican dominated Kansas legislator has always been free to pass any abortion legislation it desires and to over ride any veto of it. They haven’t yet, but get by with passing the buck over to Sebelius Get heavy with the excommunications, and persist with one 1 or 2 push button issues, you may find more Catholics deciding what so many Catholics and other Christians have realized over the years. Formal membership in a certain denomination(s) may not be necessary for eternal life.

March 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm
(9) Scott P. Richert says:

Sorry, Doug—I’m not following your logic. The fact that the Republicans either haven’t been willing or haven’t been able to override her repeated vetos of pro-life legislation proves that she’s not radically pro-abortion?

Wouldn’t, say, not vetoing such legislation, and not accepting contributions from a late-term abortionist who is responsible for the deaths of 60,000 children, be more reasonable signs?

Formal membership in a certain denomination(s) may not be necessary for eternal life.

Or it may be. That’s the gamble that anyone who leaves the Church is taking.

Of course, those who leave the Church because they’re upset that the Church does not countenance the murder of unborn children may have other reasons to worry about the health of their souls.

March 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm
(10) ShirleyInOz says:

The USA has a country where the state and religeon are separated by the Constitution which very wise forefathers laid down.

When are Catholics going to realise that there are MANY religions and that none of them are specifically catered to?

The LAW applies to everyone.

Would you like it if Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Lutheran or Episcopalian leanings influenced the LAW of the land? No. You would think it wrong because it conflicted with YOUR views.

I am not saying abortion is right. I am just saying the Catholic Church does NOT have the right to make the laws of the USA and should stop trying to make out that anyone who disagrees with their views is inherently evil.

March 5, 2009 at 8:22 am
(11) Dixie says:

uh… Shirley… The Catholic Church is not bound by the law of man… ie US Constitution. It is bound by the law of God.

Obama continues to push his excessively liberal agenda of pro-abortion. Perhaps we should begin to ask ourselves “what is his real agenda?”

Just because you (anyone) may disagree with the Church, doesn’t make THE CHURCH wrong.

good article Scott… thanks for always keeping us up to date on the important issues of the day, as they may affect the church.

March 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm
(12) M says:

Really, a slap in the face? Why did Catholics United, a pro-life group, launch this site: Catholics for Sebelius?

Reducing abortions doesn’t always mean making them illegal.

March 5, 2009 at 8:36 pm
(13) Scott P. Richert says:

M, Catholics United is not a “pro-life group.” It is a group that is using a “seamless garment”-type approach not to treat other issues as if they were as important as abortion (a worthy goal) but to deemphasize abortion and to give faithful Catholics a false assurance that they can vote for pro-abortion politicians.

I’ve discussed this type of approach before, in “The Practical Effects of the ‘Seamless Garment’.”

March 6, 2009 at 12:19 am
(14) M says:

Actually, no. They’re saying that you are being disingenuous with your claims on her stance, her voting record, and the net impact of her actions.


March 6, 2009 at 1:06 am
(15) ShirleyInOz says:

Dixie, ALL religions claim that. And all democratic countries are made up of multiple religions. And I realise that it makes for difficulties when the law of the majority interferes with the views of the minority, but I repeat: why is the Catholic Church view any more valid than that of another religion. And saying it is The Church isn’t really valid. It is the Catholic Church, but other churches don’t think we are The Church, they believe in the validity of their own relationship with God. My comment was simply this: why is a person assumed to be evil and anti-Catholic if their views don’t co-incide with a Catholic view. Not all non-Catholics are evil.

March 6, 2009 at 7:35 am
(16) Scott P. Richert says:

Sorry, M, “Actually, no” isn’t an answer. The details that I included in the post about Sebelius’s acceptance of funding from a late-term abortionist are correct. The record of her vetos of pro-life legislation is public. Catholics United wants to claim that other legislation has reduced the numbers of abortions in Kansas by increasing economic opportunity, and they may even be correct.

But that doesn’t let Governor Sebelius off the hook. Accepting blood money—money earned through the murder of unborn children—in order to advance one’s political career isn’t Catholic. Neither is vetoing legislation that would provide information on alternatives to late-term abortion.

And if you don’t think that Catholics United is attempting to use the seamless-garment approach to downplay the importance of abortion, you don’t know much about the organization. I recommend that you read A Nation for All, written by Chris Korzen and Alexia Kelley, the cofounders of Catholics United.

In a 144-page book, abortion takes up four pages. That’s completely out of proportion to the severity of the issue, which both the Holy See and the bishops of the United States have repeatedly declared to be a fundamental issue of political justice. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constituitive element of a civil society and its legislation.”

When Catholics United was first founded, I briefly had some hope that they were being honest about their intentions. A true Catholic political movement in the United States would indeed place far more emphasis on just-war theory and the Catholic Church’s social teaching than many Catholics do today.

But such emphasis must be in addition to an insistence on the absolute immorality and injustice of abortion—not in place of. In downplaying abortion, Catholics United has revealed itself to be nothing more than a front group for Catholic Democrats who want to claim fidelity to Church teaching while voting for policies that result in the deaths of millions of unborn children each year.

March 6, 2009 at 7:41 am
(17) Scott P. Richert says:

Not all non-Catholics are evil.

That’s certainly true, Shirley. But the destruction of unborn life is evil, as Christians have testified from the days of the Apostles.

April 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm
(18) Lynne says:

I would like to know why there is an advertisement for “Safe Abortions” on this web site? Hopefully it is an overlook, but it seems to me that these people are $$$ financial contributors. Don’t you have some kind of regulations in place to prevent this???

April 3, 2009 at 3:15 pm
(19) Scott P. Richert says:

Lynne, About.com is an advertiser-supported web network. Google text ads are triggered automatically by words on the webpage. Since that process is computerized, it means that, unfortunately, sometimes ads crop up that should not be on the Catholicism guidesite.

When I see such ads, I report them to the proper authorities at About.com, and they work with Google to remove them. That can take some time, however.

The other problem is that such ads change whenever a page is loaded, and they may change based on the IP address of the person viewing the page. Therefore, I may not see the ads that you see.

If you see an offensive ad, the best thing you can do is note the URL of the webpage you’re on and the text of the ad, and e-mail it to me. If you can include a screenshot of the ad, that’s even better.

Even with constant vigilance, such problems are likely to persist. The only way I can ensure that offensive ads do not appear on the Catholicism guidesite is to quit writing about such things as abortion, stem-cell research, the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, etc. Yet if I do that, then those who oppose the Church’s teaching have scored a victory.

June 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm
(20) fran says:

Obama is a not only a murderer but the murderer of the innocent ones and all those who follow him have to prove themselves as murderers since God’s law says “Thou shall not KILL”
If the USA legalize abortion why not legalize other related acts of killing and murder? If the law of the US is for life then, all who are connected with abortion have to be prosecuted in court of man slaughter and killing and murder.

June 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm
(21) Fran says:

Obama is a murderer. He should be prosecuted for man slaughter killing and murder and those who follow his pro abortion campaign. May God punish him severely.

July 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm
(22) betsy says:

I am legitemely angered at Catholics who proclaim to be Catholic but yet have their own made up set of Catholic teachings. If you trulely believe in the Catholic church and all of her teachings then follow them.
If you can’t then get out of our Catholic churches and find another one., that teaches smorgesborg theology
Catholics who have their own agenda are creating more confusion and choas for all of who who do follow the teachings of our wise and Holy church, who is truely guide by the Holy Spirit.
I also would like to address Catholics who proclaim they are Catholics but then openly vote for politians who are pro-choice. What are you doing to preserve the sancity of our Holy Church?

July 6, 2012 at 5:57 am
(23) annjo says:

How does the catholic church view prevention of conception, by means of contraception – is it considered by the church to be a sin – of the same severity as the murder of an unborn child. Then, I guess most married catholic couples are sinners!!! In the underdeveloped countries, it is a very conscious effort to keep the family size low. Scott, please clarify my doubt.

October 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm
(24) Lisa says:

Putting aside “what” the Church teaches – which would only spark an ugly debate by those in disagreement, the point is that anyone who claims themself to be Catholic, can not do so rightfully without also adhereing to and upholding the teachings of the Catholic Church. Being Catholic means to be UNITED in belief and faith and PRACTICING that faith. In this regard, Catholics are most certainly subject to the laws of their faith just as Jewish people are subject to the laws of Jewdaism or Islamists are subject to the laws of Islam.

In the matter of Governor Sebelius, if she’s going to proclaim herself a Catholic, and then cause actions to be made or make decisions that blatantly oppose Catholic teaching, she’s acting against the very religion she claims to believe in and the Church has full authority and RESPONSIBILITY to deny her reception of Holy Communion. This is what the Archbishop is recommending. He’s not telling her to resign from her job – but telling her that if she refuses to practice her Catholic faith, she should also refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

You can not be a Catholic and not be a Catholic at the same time.

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