by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
It was painful to watch Gov. Andrew Cuomo and many members of the New York state Legislature celebrating the passage of legislation that will keep abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy in the state of New York.
Governor Cuomo echoed the morally incoherent views of his father, claiming his personal conformity to the teaching of the Catholic Church, while advocating and championing policies that allow the killing of unborn children up to the very moment of birth.
Of course, the Catholic Church provides clear moral teaching that the killing of children in the womb is a grave evil. However, one does not have to be Catholic or profess any religious faith to know that every abortion violates the most fundamental of all human rights: the right to life.
Does Gov. Cuomo believe because the church teaches racial bigotry is evil that he cannot support public policies against racial discrimination, but must champion them?
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in his comments regarding a similar bill introduced in the Virginia Legislature went so far as to defend infanticide in the case of a child who survived an attempted late-term abortion.
Fortunately, the Virginia bill never made it out of committee. Meanwhile, Gov. Northam is embroiled in a potentially politically lethal controversy regarding racially offensive activity while he was in medical school.
The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion essentially for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy were built on a foundation of lies.
As abortion advocates fear that foundation is beginning to crumble, they are now refocusing their efforts on state legislation and state constitutions. Catholics and all who believe in the sanctity of human life must now increase and intensify our pro-life efforts at the state level.
The fear that the U.S. Supreme Court might reverse its 1973 decisions and return the right to regulate and even prohibit abortion to state Legislatures has supporters of legalized abortion in a panic. This is why we see this flurry of activity in some states to codify on the state level a so-called right to abortion for any reason throughout all nine months of pregnancy.
In states like Kansas, where there is no hope of passing such legislation, they are appealing to state courts to discover a right to abortion in state constitutions.
Tragically, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not the only Catholic in public office that supports legalized abortion. Every abortion is a grave moral evil because it violates the Fifth Commandment — Thou shall not kill. Moreover, every abortion harms spiritually and emotionally every mother and father who authorized the killing of their own child.
While we must hold accountable those in public life who work to deny legal protection to the unborn child, we are not able to judge the state of their souls. Nevertheless, we know there will be — for all of us — a judgment day.
Advocating for intrinsic evil, like abortion, is a seriously immoral act that constitutes the grave matter necessary for the commission of a mortal sin. Mortal sin endangers our eternal souls placing ourselves on a path to hell.
To receive our eucharistic Lord while in a state of mortal sin only further jeopardizes the eternal fate of our souls. Sincere repentance, a conversion of heart and a genuine effort to make amends for the harm caused by our sin are essential to be able to receive God’s mercy.
As a bishop, I have a serious responsibility to do all in my power to make certain those entrusted to my pastoral care are aware of the moral gravity and spiritual consequences of their actions.
I also have a serious obligation to protect other members of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas from being misled by a seeming tolerance of the scandalous behavior of Catholics in public life.
Pastorally, I am compelled first to attempt to enter into a dialogue with Catholics in public life that conduct themselves in a manner not only inconsistent with Catholic moral teaching, but that violates the most fundamental of human rights.
After efforts at such dialogue, if a Catholic in public life persists in scandalous actions, I have found it necessary to request that they not present themselves for reception of holy Communion.
I make this request in the hope that it will jar the conscience of the politician to repent and also to protect others from moral confusion occasioned by the scandal of their public advocacy for abortion.
I invite every member of the archdiocese to pray for spiritual healing for all those advocating for legalized abortion. When we truly repent, God is always eager to lavish us with his mercy.
Please pray also for prudence and courage for me as I exercise my responsibility to teach the truth with love, to seek a conversion of heart of those who fail to protect innocent human life and to protect others from being led into moral confusion.