A leading American prelate has urged voters to “be wary” of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine, a “cafeteria Catholic” who picks and chooses from Church teaching according to its political expediency.
In a stinging column in his diocesan newspaper, The Leaven, Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann said that it was “painful” to listen to Senator Kaine repeat “the same tired and contorted reasoning to profess his personal opposition to abortion while justifying his commitment to keep it legal” in the last vice-presidential debate.
While boasting of his Catholic credentials, Kaine fell back on “all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites,” the Archbishop noted, such as it is “not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans” and he “trusts women to make good reproductive choices.”
The Archbishop appealed to voters to “be wary of candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe.”
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “the vice-presidential debate revealed that the Catholic running for the second highest office in our land is an orthodox member of his party, fulling embracing his party’s platform, but a cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.”
Underscoring Kaine’s “contorted reasoning,” Naumann observed that the Senator “appears to have no qualms” imposing his religious beliefs when it comes to opposing racism or encouraging a preferential option for the poor, or when our public policies mirror “the Ten Commandments with regard to stealing, perjury, or forms of murder, other than abortion.”
In the Declaration of Independence itself, Naumann notes, the founders stated that “the right to life is given to us by our Creator, not by the Supreme Court.”
“Why is Senator Kaine personally opposed to abortion, if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life?” Naumann asks. And if abortion is killing an innocent human being, why does Kaine publicly support it?
“This is where the reproductive choice euphemism breaks apart,” the Archbishop said. “Does anyone really have the choice to end another human being’s life?”
Responding to Senator Kaine’s stated fear that if abortion were made illegal again, our prisons would be teeming with post-abortive women, Naumann called up the historical record.
“Before the late 1960s when abortion was illegal in every state, except for the life-of-the-mother cases, it is difficult to find a single instance of a woman imprisoned for abortion,” he said. “The laws were enforced against the abortionists. Our own legal experience shows clearly that it is possible to develop public policies aimed at protecting children, not punishing women.”
Kaine goes beyond mere acquiescence and “appears eager to champion not only maintaining the status quo, but actually expanding abortion rights,” the Archbishop noted.
Naumann also berated Kaine for supporting efforts “to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries to violate their conscience,” to put small business owners “out of business with crippling fines if they decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies” and “to force every American taxpayer to help fund abortion.”
At the conclusion of his column, Archbishop Naumann encouraged Catholic voters “to think not only of the candidate, but who they will appoint to key Cabinet and other powerful government positions if he or she becomes president.”
“We are choosing not just a president, but an entire administration,” he said.