An open letter penned by the left-wing groups known as Faith in Public Life (FPL) and Faithful America has called for the removal of Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, as chair of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee after Naumann said President Joe Biden should stop professing to be a “devout” Catholic.
Nearly 20,000 people have signed onto the petition published by the two liberal groups at Action Network. The letter features a photo of Biden shaking hands with Pope Francis.
The groups rebuked Naumann (pictured) for stating during an interview with Catholic World Report in February:
The president should stop defining himself as a devout Catholic and acknowledge that his view on abortion is contrary to Catholic moral teaching. It would be a more honest approach from him to say he disagreed with his Church on this important issue and that he was acting contrary to Church teaching.
As Breitbart News reported, FPL is a “George Soros-funded group” that, in May 2020, posted an online letter criticizing Cardinal Timothy Dolan and other bishops for participating in a phone conference with former President Donald Trump. In its letter, FPL was insistent Trump is “not pro-life.”
Faithful America, a group that states it is “not affiliated with any church or denomination,” but is “the largest online community of Christians putting faith into action for social justice,” launched a petition in January calling for evangelical leader Franklin Graham to lose his job because of his support for former President Donald Trump.
The two groups introduced their online petition with the statement:
In the latest sign that some U.S. Catholic bishops are out of step with Pope Francis, the bishops’ pro-life committee chair claims President Biden should stop calling himself a “devout” Catholic – and even says the president should know better than to take Communion.
It’s only a few months into Biden’s term, yet Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS, is already far more critical of the new president than he ever was of Donald Trump. In a recent interview, Naumann even praised a South Carolina priest who bragged about denying Biden Communion on the campaign trail.
The groups propped up LGBTQ activist Catholic Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky, who, in January 2019, condemned the young Covington Catholic students who attended the March for Life in Washington, DC, for wearing MAGA hats to the march.
As Breitbart News reported:
It astonishes me, [Bishop Stowe] writes, “that any students participating in a pro-life activity on behalf of their school and their Catholic faith could be wearing apparel sporting the slogans of a president who denigrates the lives of immigrants, refugees, and people from countries that he describes with indecent words and haphazardly endangers with life-threatening policies.”
“From COVID-19 to climate change to family separation, Trump’s policies were so deadly that Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, KY, correctly called the ex-president ‘anti-life,’” FPL and Faithful America said in the statement accompanying their petition.
“It’s time for top U.S. bishops to stop the attacks and join Pope Francis in finding common ground with President Biden,” the groups declared. “The bishops’ conference must appoint a new pro-life chair – a true pastoral leader who will pay equal attention to all life issues.”
In the open letter itself, the Biden supporters complained:
[I]nstead of following the pastoral model of Pope Francis and other bishops who are building bridges with only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee has questioned Biden’s faith and even praised a priest who once denied Biden Communion.
“In questioning President Biden’s faith and even claiming he should not receive Communion, Archbishop Naumann is choosing the culture wars over pastoral leadership,” the letter stated.
Naumann, however, received a show of support this week from a letter led by CatholicVote, a group that states its mission is “to inspire every Catholic in America to live out the truths of our faith in public life.”
The letter was signed by CatholicVote President Brian Burch and other Catholic leaders and national representatives of pro-life organizations.
CatholicVote’s letter to Naumann states:
Ostensibly, the hard-left group who circulated this petition claims their call for your removal is based on what they erroneously believe to be an incompatibility with the priorities of our Holy Father. The letter’s author seems completely unaware that Pope Francis himself boldly compared having an abortion to “hiring a hitman.” The Holy Father said, “Is it right to hire a hitman to solve a problem? It is not right to kill a human being, regardless of how small it is, to solve a problem!” The letter likewise falsely accuses you of failing to “seek common ground” with a President who, on the one hand, talks about the importance of his Catholic faith, and with his other hand, personally signed Executive Orders that will directly lead to the deaths of thousands of unborn children.
The letter did not hesitate to praise Naumann’s work in both St. Louis’s “underserved communities of color” and, more recently, in helping to “establish a strong Project Rachel ministry nationwide, assisting women and men adversely affected by an abortion experience.”
“You are an annual presence at the March for Life in Washington each January,” CatholicVote continued. “You have given countless hours of advice, support, and direction to pregnancy resource centers, striving to offer women humane and compassionate alternatives to abortion.”
The letter’s signers added:
We understand that your admonition of President Joe Biden, whose campaign was both funded and endorsed by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, did not make you popular in some quarters. In publicly noting that the President’s unequivocal advocacy for abortion on demand makes him ineligible to receive Holy Communion, you have followed St. Paul’s directive to Timothy: “Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine.” (2 Tim 4:2-3).
“We thank you for your courage in transmitting ‘sound doctrine’ and for your commitment to defending the most vulnerable among us,” the letter concluded.
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