Monday, May 12, 2008

Archbishop Naumann to Kansas Gov. Sebelius: Stop Taking Communion, Publicly Apologize [UPDATED]

Details at Catholics in the Public Square.

It seems that Gov. Sebelius' name has been mentioned as a potential addition to the Obama ticket. In case you didn't catch that, Washington Post political blogger Chris Cillizza listed Sebelius as the most likely candidate to join Obama on the Democrat presidential ticket.

Whatever the merit of such talk, I think the idea of Sebelius for VP is now impossible. I don't think there's any way Obama risks the Catholic vote by adding an interdicted Catholic to his ticket (although I'm not sure this officially counts as an "interdiction"; but it's close enough to become a political issue should Obama pick Sebelius).

As one commenter at Amy Welborn's blog put it:

Sebelius is being talked about as a vice presidential candidate. It’s better this happens now than after she gets chosen to become Geraldine Ferraro 2.0.

Ahhh, lookie-lookie what we have here. The responses are beginning to pour in, and some of the little donkeys seem awful put out that Archbishop Naumann has thrown a wrench in their plans to re-capture "the Catholic vote", complete with invocations of that little law we're always talking about around here:

And by the way the catholics [sic] sure have their never [sic] trying to smear the Govenor [sic]. All of the cover ups of child molesting priest [sic]. They never let the truth be told they just moved their perverted priest [sic] to another church to prey on more young innocents.
If you can't stick to the subject at hand - i.e. why Gov. Sebelius claims to be Catholic but disregards the teachings of her Church on the unborn - without engaging in ad hominem, perhaps you should instead ask Gov. Sebelius why she wants to be involved with such a Church as you have described.

Here's the reason that Obama is unlikely to risk the controversy of adding Sebelius to his ticket:

Given the effort the Obama Catholics have put into winning over Catholic voters, having a national ticket in which one of the candidates' Bishop has already taken corrective action regarding unworthy receipt of Communion would make the Kerry Communion controversy look like small potatos.

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At 5/12/2008 10:35 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I'm reminded of the comment by Cardinal McCarrick, four years ago, about not wanting communion to become a partisan political issue. As though one party and not the other were the party of abortion.


At 5/12/2008 12:43 PM, Blogger Father Martin Fox said...

I will leave a more definitive statement on this to a canonist, but my sense is, Archbishop Naumann is basing this sanction on the governor's public statements regarding abortion, not on her vetoes of particular legislation.

Why do I say that?

Because of the principle in Canon Law that where the law imposes a penalty, the law is to be interpreted strictly, in favor of the one on the receiving end of the penalty; and if a Catholic public official could cite a legitimate reason for vetoing a prolife bill, that would have to be accepted.

If you read what the links lead to, it says the Archbishop criticized the governor for the vetoes--that's a far cry from saying, they were the reason for saying she can't come to communion.

I realize this may seem an obscure distinction, but it is an important one. Legal mandates that forbid certain actions, and those that mandate specific positive actions, are very different matters. It's vastly easier to craft the former: thou shalt not give positive support to baby killing. But a morally binding mandate that one cannot oppose a specific legislative proposal? That would be hard to sustain under Canon Law.


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