Archbishop of Kansas City Joseph Naumann criticized Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) in a recent column as a “cafeteria Catholic” who picks and chooses which parts of his faith are “politically convenient.” In an op-ed published at The Leaven, the diocesan newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, Naumann wrote that it was “painful” to listen to Kaine at the vice presidential debate as he “repeat[ed] the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal.” “He said all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites: It is not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans,” Naumann wrote. “He trusts women to make good reproductive choices. And when all else fails, there is always: Do we really want to criminalize and fill our jails with post-abortive women?” Naumann wrote that Kaine “appears to have no qualms” about the imposition of religious beliefs on matters such as the “church’s opposition to racism or our preferential option for the poor.” Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) addresses supporters during a Get Out The Vote campaign rally at the National Western Complex in Denver, Colorado, Oct. 10. (Jason Connolly/AFP/Getty Images) “He appears not to be conflicted with our public policies mirroring the Ten Commandments with regard to stealing, perjury, or forms of murder, other than abortion,” Naumann continued. He further argued, “Our founders actually believed that the right to life is given to us by our Creator, not by the Supreme Court.” “Of course, religion will speak about fundamental human rights issues,” Naumann said. “However, to understand that the government has a right to protect human life is not dependent on religious belief. As the founders’ stated, these are self-evident truths. They are accessible to everyone through the use of reason. They do not require faith.” The archbishop asked why Kaine is personally opposed to abortion “if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life?” “Is the senator unaware that abortion stopped the beating hearts of 60 million American children aborted legally since 1973?” Naumann wrote, adding:
If he knows these truths of biology, why would he believe that anyone has the right to authorize the killing of an unborn human being? This is where the reproductive choice euphemism breaks apart. Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being’s life? Our choices end where another individual’s more fundamental rights begin.
Naumann also pushed back against Kaine’s claim that post-abortive women would be jailed if abortion were made illegal:
Before the late 1960s when abortion was illegal in every state, except for the life-of-the-mother cases, it is difficult to find a single instance of a woman imprisoned for abortion. The laws were enforced against the abortionists. Our own legal experience shows clearly that it is possible to develop public policies aimed at protecting children, not punishing women.
He added that he wishes Kaine “would take the time to talk with some of the post–abortive women that are assisted by Project Rachel and other post-abortion ministries helping women and men find healing, hope and mercy after an abortion.” “Our current permissive abortion policies, placing the entire burden of responsibility for the abortion decision upon the mother, results in millions of women experiencing an inner imprisonment where the bars keeping them from freedom and happiness are the guilt and unresolved grief that inevitably ensues from abortion,” Naumann wrote. Naumann then acknowledged:
This presidential election presents all Americans with a difficult choice. Both major political parties have nominated very flawed candidates. In making your decision as a voter, I encourage you to think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint to key Cabinet and other powerful government positions if he or she becomes president. We are choosing not just a president, but an entire administration.
He cautioned against “candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe.” “Unfortunately, the vice-presidential debate revealed that the Catholic running for the second highest office in our land is an orthodox member of his party, fulling embracing his party’s platform, but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient,” he concluded.
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