Prelate Asks Governor to Forgo Eucharist

Cites Her Cooperation in Procurement of Kansas Abortions

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TOPEKA, Kansas, MAY 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas, has joined his voice to that of other U.S. prelates in asking local pro-abortion politicians to refrain from receiving the Eucharist.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann said Friday in the Leaven, the archdiocese's official newspaper, that he repeated a request to Governor Kathleen Sebelius to not receive Communion.

Archbishop Naumann's message comes after both Cardinal Edward Egan of New York and Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., have recently addressed the issue. Their messages came in the wake of Benedict XVI's trip to their respective archdioceses, during which various pro-abortion politicians received the Eucharist.

Archbishop Naumann said: "What makes the governor's actions and advocacy for legalized abortion, throughout her public career, even more painful for me is that she is Catholic. Sadly, Governor Sebelius is not unique in being a Catholic politician supporting legalized abortion.

"Since becoming archbishop, I have met with Governor Sebelius several times over many months to discuss with her the grave spiritual and moral consequences of her public actions by which she has cooperated in the procurement of abortions performed in Kansas. My concern has been, as a pastor, both for the spiritual well-being of the governor but also for those who have been misled -- scandalized -- by her very public support for legalized abortion."

Additional actions

Archishop Naumann said he consulted with the other three bishops of Kansas and then "wrote the governor last August requesting that she refrain from presenting herself for reception of the Eucharist until she had acknowledged the error of her past positions, made a worthy sacramental confession and taken the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion."

"Recently," he lamented, "it came to my attention that the governor had received holy Communion at one of our parishes. I have written to her again, asking her to respect my previous request and not require from me any additional pastoral actions."

The prelate asked the faithful of the archdiocese to pray for Sebelius. And he continued, "I hope that my request of the governor, not to present herself for holy Communion, will provoke her to reconsider the serious spiritual and moral consequences of her past and present actions. At the same time, I pray this pastoral action on my part will help alert other Catholics to the moral gravity of participating in and/or cooperating with the performance of abortions."

The Kansas prelate had another motive for publicly announcing his request to Sebelius: She vetoed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act on April 21.

The act aimed to ensure that women are given information about the development of their unborn children and the alternatives to abortion that are available.

It also included a provision for bringing legal action against doctors suspected of performing illegal late-term abortions. Kansas is home to one of the nation's most notorious late-term abortion providers, George Tiller, whose Web site claims "more experience in late abortion services over 24 weeks than anyone else currently practicing in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Australia."

Tiller is a financial supporter of Sebelius' political campaign.