Text Size:SmallerLarger

insert library item

Letters & Op-Eds - 2009

The Washington times

LTE: Keep Politics Out of the Church

Jon O'Brien

27 March 2009

Like the majority of Catholics, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama's choice to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, seems to be able to reconcile her faith with her political beliefs, including her position on abortion ("HHS nominee Sebelius caught between her politics and faith," Page 1, Tuesday). Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., concurs, stating that she joins "a whole raft of others in the Senate and Congress." It might make good copy to claim that pro-choice Catholics are in turmoil, but the reality is somewhat different.

To prove this, we only have to examine the results of the last presidential election, when 54 percent of Catholic voters were among the 53 percent of Americans who voted for the pro-choice ticket. Most Catholics believe their faith supports their conviction that women must be trusted to make decisions about their own lives - especially when it comes to choices about contraception or abortion. There has been no suggestion that Mrs. Sebelius is anything but qualified for the HHS job. But this doesn't stop some Catholic bishops and other conservatives from complaining about Mr. Obama's selection.

While Vatican officials and, indeed, all Catholics may have their own opinions about who should and should not receive Communion, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops rightly reminded American Catholics that such matters should be left to local bishops. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, therefore, need not be dictating from Rome as to how American bishops should act in regard to Mrs. Sebelius or any other Catholic in these circumstances. Perhaps this controversy, which was most likely stirred up on a small conservative organization's Web site, was necessary because other bishops know something that Archbishop Burke doesn't: The altar rail is not a place for political battles.

 

JON O´BRIEN

President

Catholics for Choice

This letter was published in The Washington Times.