Obama Chronicles VI: Rebellious Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius, current governor of Kansas and alleged Catholic, has distinguished herself in many ways. Most disturbing among them is her long-held support for the act of abortion. It is this single attribute that perhaps makes her attractive to President Obama as he sets his sights on her as his nominee for the post of secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

By the way, those words, "health" and "human services" have a whole lot to do with the defining characteristics of the Sebelius era in Kansas.

For example, out of a sincerely held, very deep belief in the jaundiced view that abortion is nothing more than an aspect of reproductive health services, she has gone out of her way to embrace the culture of death. Her opinion, based on her statements and actions, is that every mother should have the right to choose to end the life of her own preborn child.

Sebelius has explained that though she is "personally opposed to abortion," she is "obligated to uphold state and federal laws and court decisions related to abortion."

When Sebelius vetoed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act last year, she explained in her veto message,

I am concerned about a number of provisions in SB 389. The United States Supreme Court decisions make clear that any law regulating abortion must contain exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman's life or health. However, SB 389 allows a variety of individuals to seek a court order preventing a woman from obtaining an abortion, even where it may be necessary to save her life. I am concerned that the bill is likely unconstitutional or even worse, endangers the lives of women. …

As Governor, nothing is more important to me than the safety, health and privacy rights of our citizens. I am vetoing SB 389 because it endangers the health of women and is likely to be found in violation the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Kansas.

The governor issued this statement with a straight face, though the message she received from her archbishop should have given her pause, since Sebelius is a Catholic who has supported abortion for more than 20 years.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann reacted immediately upon receiving word of the Sebelius veto and issued a stinging rebuke, in which he said,

What makes the governor's actions and advocacy for legalized abortion, throughout her public career, even more painful for me is that she is Catholic. Sadly, Governor Sebelius is not unique in being a Catholic politician supporting legalized abortion.

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….

Having made every effort to inform and to persuade Governor Sebelius and after consultation with Bishop Ron Gilmore (Dodge City), Bishop Paul Coakley (Salina) and Bishop Michael Jackels (Wichita), I wrote the governor last August requesting that she refrain from presenting herself for reception of the Eucharist until she had acknowledged the error of her past positions, made a worthy sacramental confession and taken the necessary steps for amendment of her life which would include a public repudiation of her previous efforts and actions in support of laws and policies sanctioning abortion.

The archbishop stopped short, however, of stating that if Sebelius approached a priest, deacon, or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion to receive the Eucharist, she would be denied. Pity! Sebelius ignored him in the same way she has been ignoring archbishops for years.

Since the archbishop's initial reprimand, things have clearly gotten worse. During the presidential election campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama had Governor Sebelius on his team of advisors regarding Catholic matters, and the archbishop explained in an interview,

"What I found out after I took the pastoral action with Governor Sebelius is that Senator Obama had her on his advisory committee for Catholics. …

"I wasn't aware of that [beforehand] but I hope that it alerted Senator Obama that this is not probably somebody that can really counsel you in terms of the mind and the heart of the Church on this very critical and important area.

"So I think it would be a bad judgment on Senator Obama's part to select someone who was in conflict with the Church."

By now, we all realize that now President Obama had no concern whatsoever for authentic Catholic doctrine, nor was he about to take advice from a Catholic who follows what the Church teaches. Quite the contrary, he surrounded himself both then and now with dissenters … Catholics who defied Church teaching and got away with it … and still get away with it!

To this very moment, no firm order has been given that the governor should be denied the sacrament, should she approach for the reception of Holy Communion.

The sad fact is that Sebelius will be making her way through the various government hearings held to ascertain whether or not she could be confirmed as the new HHS secretary under Obama. And during these hearings, she will probably be held to a higher standard by her political peers than she has been by Catholic bishops. Sebelius has been at the forefront of the abortion rights debate in Kansas for more than 20 years, and has yet to be clearly and resoundingly rebuked.

Bill O'Reilly has claimed that Sebelius is "not fit to serve"; he based this comment on her public alliances with infamous abortionist George Tiller. But, sadly, the Catholic bishops have not suggested that she is not fit to call herself Catholic.

Robert Novak labeled Sebelius "the national pro-choice poster girl" in May of last year. However, Catholic bishops have not taken definitive action to make sure she knows she is not authentically Catholic and must cease her public claims to the contrary!

I will give but one example of her long history of carrying the water for the pro-aborts. In Kansas in the 1980s, a mother and her preborn child were murdered in a case similar to the Scott Peterson case. In 1989, Sebelius was a state representative. A state law was proposed to define preborn babies killed in such ways as persons. But Sebelius opposed it, stating, "I think for me and a lot of other people there are certain inalienable rights established for a person, but those are not applied in utero."

In other words, in 1989 Sebelius refused to acknowledge the fact that a baby exists in his mother's womb prior to birth. That was 20 years ago … The archbishop took no corrective action.

The sad fact is that over these many years, no Catholic bishop has taken steps to correct Sebelius in a meaningful way. She has repeatedly ignored the public statements of her bishops. Over time, Sebelius has become recalcitrant in her support for abortion, which she clearly believes is but another aspect of health care. Sebelius represents all that is despicable about the movement that strives to protect abortion rights at all costs, as though abortion itself were a sacrament.

So now, we come to the present moment and the prospect of having this woman preside over a department concerned with public "health" and the provision of "human services." What an oxymoron that is!

What kind of health care is it that provides for murdering an innocent preborn child as a solution to a perceived problem? And what kind of human service is it to discard, on the garbage piles of America, the bodies, bones and blood of little babies who never had a chance to live?

Macabre, is it not, that we are facing the prospect of having an advocate of human butchery in one of the most pivotal positions in our nation's government?

It is disturbing, as well, that a so-called Catholic may assume this role with nary a word of genuine repudiation from Catholic shepherds.