Already a strong advocate for life in his current position, Naumann is slated to become the next leader of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee; U.S. Catholic bishops elected him to the position earlier this fall.
In an interview with Catholic World Report Monday, Naumann explained why the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death is a priority in his ministry and why other priests should make it a priority, too.
“… if the Church is silent on the destruction of life, we’re being negligent, and leaving our young people vulnerable to making this tragic decision,” Naumann said.
When he preaches about abortion, Naumann said he tries to be sensitive that people in the pews may have had experiences with abortion. He said he often mentions post-abortion healing programs such as Project Rachel.
“I say to such people that they know better than anyone else what a tragedy abortion is, and ask them to pray for me in my work that I can help others to know about the pain they’re experiencing,” he said.
He urged priests to talk about abortion more often because of its massive destruction of unborn children and families. He said more needs to be done to teach young people about the sanctity of human life.
“I’d also like to say to our priests: we can’t fail to talk to our people about these real sins that affect the lives of our people. If we talk about sins they don’t commit, of what good is that?” Naumann challenged.
A few people may walk out, as they have when he preaches about abortion, but the truth must be shared, he said.
“I pray for those who walk away, as I’ve obviously hit a difficult chord with them. But most people who hear me are supportive,” he continued.
He feels the first reaction from bishops should be to presume the politician in question is ignorant or poorly-catechized and then must explain the Church’s position to him.
But, Naumann argues, if a politician uses his Catholic name to try to convince other Catholics to betray the Faith, that is a grave danger to souls.
He blasted so-called “pro-choice Catholics,” saying, “Tim Kaine, a U.S. Senator and former vice presidential candidate, is another example of a politician who flaunted his Catholic background but spewed a lot of pro-choice rhetoric. When they do this, they’re taking on a teaching role and misleading our people.”
Naumann, who regularly attends the March for Life in Washington, D.C., also shared why the pro-life cause means so much to him personally:
“My own father was murdered before I was born. It was in December 1948, and I was just three months along inside my mother’s womb. So, I was part of a crisis pregnancy, in a sense, even though it was a different culture at the time. As the issue evolved and became an issue in our culture today, my personal background gave me a greater sensitivity to women facing a pregnancy under traumatic circumstances.”
Naumann will begin serving in the new position in about a year. He will replace New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan who currently leads the pro-life committee.