This is on the website of Catholic Action for Faith and Family:
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke Discusses the Canonical and pastoral Aspects of Archbishop Joseph Naumann’s Public Reprimand of Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Her Nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services
Some emphases in the original (questions).
“As a Roman Catholic, her appointment is the source of the greatest embarrassment because she has publicly and repeatedly betrayed her Catholic faith…”
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
Catholic Action for Faith and Family
March 10, 2009
Interviewed by Thomas J. McKenna
The Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, has a long history of supporting abortion rights while holding public office. As a result of her actions, last year the Archbishop of Kansas City, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, publicly requested that she refrain from receiving Holy Communion because of public scandal she was giving. As her bishop he first carried out a prolonged dialogue with her over many months where he tried to reason with her and make her aware of the seriousness of her actions supporting abortion.
Last week President Obama nominated Governor Sebelius to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Archbishop Naumann, as well as many prominent Pro-life organizations across the country, is decrying the appointment as being detrimental to the Catholic and Pro-life causes in the United States.
Is Your Excellency aware of this controversy?
Yes, I am quite aware of the case of Governor Sebelius. She is well known for her support of the right to procured abortion and for her public association with some of the more notorious agents of the culture of death. She has also favored other anti-life legislation, especially legislation which denies the right to life to the innocent and defenseless unborn.
What is your opinion of her appointment to this influential position?
Her appointment saddens me on several scores. First of all, it is sad for our nation to have a person who favors the right to kill the unborn in the womb placed in charge of the federal office with responsibility for health and human services. No matter how good Governor Sebelius’ record regarding other human life concerns may be, if she is not committed to the safeguarding of human life from its very inception, she should not be entrusted with the questions of health and human services for our nation.
As a Roman Catholic, her appointment is the source of the greatest embarrassment because she has publicly and repeatedly betrayed her Catholic faith, in the most fundamental tenet in the most fundamental tenet of the moral law, that is, the law to safeguard and foster human life from the moment of its inception to the moment of natural death. What is more, she has obstinately remained in her moral error after being admonished by, at least, three of her Bishops, including her present Bishop, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas. Her position on the question of procured abortion is the source of the greatest scandal to Catholics and to all who uphold the natural moral law.
In your opinion did Archbishop Naumann proceed in accordance with canon law?
Archbishop Naumann proceeded in perfect accord with Canon Law and the sound pastoral practice it embodies. He steadfastly tried to help Governor Sebelius recognize her grave error and to correct herself. When she refused to do so, he had no choice but to remind her that the Church’s discipline requires that persons who publicly and obstinately remain in serious sin must be denied Holy Communion. When the Governor did not respect the Archbishop’s instruction that she not present herself to receive Holy Communion, he was obliged to make it public that the Governor had been instructed not to present herself to receive Holy Communion. Archbishop Naumann acted with exemplary pastoral charity in the matter, protecting the Body and Blood of Christ from unworthy reception, preventing the Governor from the commission of the most serious sin of sacrilege, and ending the great scandal caused by the Governor’s unworthy reception of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Under these circumstances was he justified in asking her to refrain from receiving Holy Communion and do you believe this was a pastoral approach?
Not only was Archbishop Naumann justified, he was fulfilling one of his most solemn duties as a pastor, namely, the care of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of the worthy reception of Holy Communion. As I mentioned above, his action, in my judgment, could not have been more pastorally correct. He has spoken the truth with love. More than that cannot be asked of any shepherd of the flock.
If Governor Sebelius was to be confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary and move to Washington D. C., would the Archbishop of Washington or any surrounding diocese where she might take up residency, be obliged to enforce in their diocese the sanction imposed by her bishop in Kansas?
To be accurate, Archbishop Naumann did not impose a sanction upon Governor Sebelius. He simply made clear her canonical status in regards to reception of Holy Communion anywhere. No Catholic who publicly and obstinately remains in serious sin can receive Holy Communion. For her sake and for the sake of the Church, Archbishop Naumann made clear that Governor Sebelius is in the condition of unworthiness to receive Holy Communion, until she reforms her public actions regarding procured abortion.
As I said above, Archbishop Naumann only did what was his duty as Bishop. Every Bishop is held to the same universal Church discipline which has been in force since the time of Saint Paul the Apostle and is stated in canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law. Whether Governor Sebelius is in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, or in any other diocese, she should not present herself for Holy Communion because, after pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin.