In the March 6 edition of The Leaven, Archbishop Naumann made the following comments:
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….
In many ways, I can understand why President Obama selected Governor Sebelius. As I have acknowledged on several other occasions she is a very bright and gifted leader. In many important areas, she represents well Catholic social teaching. She has advocated for more affordable housing for the poor, she has worked to expand access to health care for economically disadvantaged children, and she has supported incentives encouraging adoption.
Yet, on the fundamental moral issue of protecting innocent human life, Governor Sebelius, throughout her career, has been an outspoken advocate for legalized abortion. For this reason her appointment to HHS is particularly troubling. …
The appointment of Governor Sebelius as the Secretary of HHS concerns me on many levels. 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. Having elected President Obama with his own record of support for legalized abortion, our nation should not be surprised by his appointment of a Secretary for HHS who shares his views. Though many people voted for President Obama, not because of his support for legalized abortion but despite it, voters in effect gave him the ability to appoint individuals who share his anti-life views to his Cabinet and even more troubling to the courts.
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. …
We need to pray for all Catholics who serve in public life that they will have the courage and integrity to be true to the teachings and principles of our Faith no matter the political consequences.
~ Via efg at Kansas Meadowlark.
OSV interviewed Archbishop Naumann on March 4, 2009. In the interview, he disclosed some of the back story to his decision, said that claims by a Catholic group that she is actually pro-life are "very, very dishonest," described the process — on a case-by-case basis — bishops need to take with a pro-choice politician in their jurisdiction, and reacted to pro-life Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback's warm reception of Sebelius' nomination. Click here to read that interview.