Archbishop Joseph Naumann told pro-life leaders gathered in Louisville last week that they are part of the “most important human rights effort of our time and our age.”
Pro-life work is especially critical now, the Kansas City archbishop said, “at a time of pro-life promise with the current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court and a time when supporters of legalized abortion are incredibly motivated and energized.”
“This is a moment of great opportunity as well as a moment of great peril for our culture and society,” said Naumann, who is the chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
The archbishop acknowledged that the latest iteration of the clerical sex abuse crisis “has impaired the voice of the church in speaking to our culture about the great moral evils of our time” but added that this does not “absolve us of speaking boldly and strongly at the same time with humility.”
“We must continue to teach the truth and speak it with love,” he said.
In the past, Naumann has not shied away from calling on Catholics to live up to the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of human life.
Last April, Naumann released a statement urging Congress to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The bill draws public attention to “the shameful reality that the United States is one of only seven nations worldwide that allows the barbaric practice of late-term abortion, when a child likely feels pain and might even live outside the womb with appropriate medical assistance,” he said.
Abortions performed after the middle point of pregnancy not only kill a child but also “pose serious physical dangers to women,” he added.
The vast majority of Americans strongly support a ban on late-term abortions, the archbishop noted, which is one more reason Congress should waste no time in passing the bill.
“I also pray that consideration of this bill moves our country closer to recognizing all unborn babies as legal persons worthy of our love and respect,” he said.
Not long before the presidential elections of 2016, Naumann slammed vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine for his support of abortion, calling him a “cafeteria Catholic” who picks and chooses from Church teaching according to its political expediency.
Naumann said that it was “painful” to listen to Kaine repeat “the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal” in the last vice presidential debate.
While boasting of his Catholic credentials, Kaine fell back on “all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites,” the archbishop noted, such as it is “not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans” and he “trusts women to make good reproductive choices.”
The archbishop called on voters to “be wary of 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, fully embracing his party’s platform,” he continued, “but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.”