Communion Vetoed for KS Governor

A few excerpts from a column by Archbishop Joseph Naumann appearing in the area Roman Catholic newspaper:
On the day of my return (Monday, April 21) from the exhilarating experience of participating in Pope Benedict’s pastoral visit to the United States, I learned that Governor Kathleen Sebelius had vetoed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act (HS SB 389), which had been passed by significant majorities in both chambers of the Kansas Legislature.
Since becoming archbishop, I have met with Governor Sebelius several times over many months to discuss with her the grave spiritual and moral consequences of her public actions by which she has cooperated in the procurement of abortions performed in Kansas. My concern has been, as a pastor, both for the spiritual well-being of the governor but also for those who have been misled (scandalized) by her very public support for legalized abortion.
The governor has spoken to me on more than one occasion about her obligation to uphold state and federal laws and court decisions. I have asked her to show a similar sense of obligation to honor divine law and the laws, teaching and legitimate authority within the church.

I have not made lightly this request of Governor Sebelius, but only after much prayer and reflection. The spiritually lethal message, communicated by our governor, as well as many other high profile Catholics in public life, has been in effect: “The church’s teaching on abortion is optional!”

I reissue my request of the faithful of the archdiocese to pray for Governor Sebelius. I hope that my request of the governor, not to present herself for holy Communion, will provoke her to reconsider the serious spiritual and moral consequences of her past and present actions.
A few reflections on this by this Kansan:
  1. I am impressed that the archbishop had several conversations with the governor.. it seems that he was interested in a dialog with her.
  2. I like that he considered this a pastoral matter and he is personally concerned for the governor.
  3. I like the legislative bill because it addresses (to some degree) the idea of fetal viability.
  4. The legislature lacked only 2 votes to overturn the veto.. wow.. talk about the impact of a lone vote!
  5. I am wondering if it is appropriate to refuse communion to an elected official because of their governmental actions.

I'd like to open that last reflection up for your input.. admittedly I am on the fence on this one and would like to have your input. Here are three questions for you:

  1. Do you think that a church leader should take actions similar to the archbishop if the elected official is openly pro-choice?
  2. Would it make a difference if they are openly pro-abortion?
  3. What other actions should warrant similar religious censure?

I look forward to your feedback!


  1. Chuck writes (and quotes):

    Matthew 18:15-17 [Jesus taught,] "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. (16) But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' (17) If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him [or her] as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

    1 Corinthians 11:27-29 [Paul wrote by the Holy Spirit,] Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. (28) A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. (29) For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.

            I have to applaud the actions of the Archbishop. You have a very public member (the Governor) of his church stating that it is okay to take grave and immoral actions against members of our society, who have the least ability to protect themselves -- unborn children.
            The Archbishop attempted to counsel her in private, yet he had no influence upon her choices, her actions. Her actions show the shallowness of her faith. It is up to God to judge her heart, but it is up to us to have discernment over matters of faith and obedience to our professed "faith" in this world.

    James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man [or woman] claims to have faith but has no deeds [saving the lives of the unborn]? Can such faith save him?

            I think the Archbishop is attempting to follow the Biblical model of correcting behavior of professed Christians. I would cite Paul's example captured in 1 Corinthinans 5 as an excellent Biblical model of attempting to correct immoral behavior.

            Thanks for reading.

  2. This is a tough one. It seems as though she is being refused for what the archbishop is categorizing a sin. At least, that's how it appears to me. I realize it's a little more "grey" than the black and white I am making it here, but if you get down to the nuts and bolts, that's what it is really.

    If that's the case, then I guess non of us can take communion, huh?

    But I have issues with how the Catholic church handles the issue of communion, anyway. So I should just be quiet.


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