Venerating Sebelius At The La Times

April 27, 2009 09:00 AM

venerating: to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference

holy war: (1639 AD) a war or violent campaign waged by religious partisans to propagate or defend their faith

These two definitions, if one is to believe the L. A. Times' Tim Rutten, set forth a conflict between pro-abortion Democrat Kathleen Sebelius and the Catholic Church, the Church being the entity Rutten accuses of waging a "holy war."

In his article entitled, "The holy war over Kathleen Sebelius," Rutten first wants his readers to understand that even though Sebelius is not an attorney, she has a good grasp of what is and is not constitutional, even though the bill she just vetoed deals with late term abortions, and would have put restrictions on those abortions.

The vetoed legislation was certainly not the type of bill American Life League would have endorsed because at its core, the bill did not prohibit a single abortion, but rather

"would have required doctors performing late-term abortions to report additional information on those procedures to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Further, "The bill also would have permitted women or girls who later believed their abortions were illegal to sue the doctors. Their husbands or, in the case of minors, a parent or guardian, also could sue."

But, Rutten writes

When Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius this week vetoed another in the seemingly unending series of restrictive abortion bills her state's legislature churns out, it guaranteed that her confirmation as secretary of Health and Human Services would become a battleground in the increasingly nasty campaign being waged against officeholders who are both Catholic and Democratic.

Politics in Kansas has long been poisoned by extremism on both sides of the abortion question. This latest bill is one of a number that Sebelius, who is not a lawyer, has been advised to veto as unconstitutional. The measure would have amended an existing statute on late-term abortions, which Kansas permits after the 21st week of pregnancy only if the mother is at risk of death or severe physical or mental injury. The amendment would have required far more detailed reporting by physicians and would have allowed prosecutors who disagreed with the doctor's judgment to file criminal charges. Husbands who objected to the abortion would have been allowed to file civil suits.

"A physician acting in good faith to save a pregnant woman's life, and using his or her best medical judgment, should not be subject to later criminal prosecution," said Sebelius, explaining why she vetoed the bill. She is a practicing Catholic who personally opposes abortion. She argues, however, that such opposition does not relieve her of a legal obligation to veto legislation she thinks is unconstitutional.

In 2006, Sebelius said: "My Catholic faith teaches me that all life is sacred, and personally I believe abortion is wrong. However, I disagree with the suggestion that criminalizing women and their doctors is an effective means of achieving the goal of reducing the number of abortions in our nation." The governor contends that other approaches, particularly adoption incentives and better public health programs, are more effective, and she frequently notes that the number of abortions in Kansas has declined 10 percent during her six years in office. 

So, here we have "saint" Kathleen standing up for her Catholic faith, telling the world that she is a practicing Catholic and that she knows what the Church teaches, but has an obligation to take matters into her own hands when mothers want to take the lives of their own children prior to birth.

What a lady!

It is obvious to anyone who understands Catholic teaching on abortion that Sebelius is creating scandal, regardless of the Los Angeles Times' veneration for the lady. The "nasty" people are not those who are called by God to point out the truth, to emphasize the need for Sebelius to address her error and to call upon her to stay away from Christ in the Holy Eucharist until she does so. No, quite the contrary. Bishop Naumann and his peers care about Kathleen Sebelius' soul and are teaching her by their pronouncements that her advocacy for killing preborn children is a crime against God. 

Au contraire! Says Rutten, whose view is that it's not really about Catholic truth, but rather about Republicans versus Democrats. He tells readers

For conservatives who've been trying for years to pry Catholic voters out of the Democratic Party, the Holy Grail of political advantage is a long-sought clerical edict that would prohibit any Catholic officeholder who ever has cast a pro-choice vote from receiving Communion. From there, it would be a relatively small step to extend the ban to any Catholic who has voted for a pro-choice candidate. Catholic Democrats would be forced to choose between their party and their Church.

Rutten is clearly working hard to confuse and otherwise divide Catholics by claiming that bishops who stand up and defend Christ in the Eucharist are simply puppets of the Republican Party. This is ridiculous but clearly designed to drive a wedge where none exists. It is not partisan teaching, but rather Church law, that instructs every extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, ordained deacon, priest and bishop who distributes Holy Communion to withhold the sacrament from a public figure who supports aborting a child, regardless of his or her party. In fact, this Church law applies to all public figures who claim to be Catholic, not just politicians. It is Christ who is being protected by the enforcement of this law, no partisan jihad has a thing to do with it!

Face it, it is the Catholic in question who chooses to do evil and thus separates herself from Christ. The Church stands firm in her teaching, but each individual Catholic must choose to say yes or to say no. Nobody's hands are tied behind their back; not a single Catholic is forced to accept anything.

But, Rutten's "logic" gets worse, believe me! He extols the virtues of those bishops who choose to remain silent because, in Rutten's opinion, they have a broad social agenda that contains many issues and abortion is just one of them. He warns us, one and all, that things could get a whole lot worse. He posits

This is a nasty business with serious implications, and the bishops might want to consider where they'll find themselves if even their own co-religionists come to believe they're in the business of dictating officeholders' actions rather than forming consciences.

First, if Rutten is correct about bishops who have a broad social agenda that incorporates Democratic Party policies as the preferred partisan agenda, then those Catholic bishops are themselves in error. This is so because abortion is not an item on a long list of social issue questions. Abortion is an act of murder, plain and simple. And any Catholic who supports abortion or in any way publicly advocates for it is in serious difficulty. That Catholic should be denied Communion so that he or she has the opportunity to reflect on the error of his support for abortion, make amends and then come back to the Church, whose founder, Jesus Christ, is always waiting with His merciful love.

There is not a single Catholic bishop who could ever dictate the actions of anyone. God has given each person a free will, Mr. Rutten. And there is not a single bishop who can force feed formation of conscience to another person either! Each person has the opportunity to do that himself, with God's help, God's grace and Church teaching.

Perhaps Mr. Rutten should step down from his soapbox, stop worshipping at the altar of death and destruction and take a little instruction in Catholic teaching. If he were to do that, he might actually write something about the Church that made sense and was truthful, though I doubt that is his game.

I have the distinct impression that Rutten wrote his diatribe intentionally in order to give the impression to his readers that Sebelius is the victim and Christ's shepherds are the villains. It's Rutten's Little Red Riding Hood versus the Big Bad Wolf story.

What a bag of blarney that is.

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