"We didn't pick the time, nor did we pick the fight" | Carl E. Olson | Catholic World Report
An exclusive interview with Archbishop Naumann about the HHS mandate, the Ryan budget, and what the Supreme Court ruling means for the religious freedom fight.
Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann, D.D., archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, has been an important figure in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as a member of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the Committee on Marriage and Family Life.
He spoke yesterday with Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, a few hours after the much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, and shared his thoughts about that ruling, the HHS mandate, the national debt, the importance of the principle of subsidiarity, and the role of bishops in articulating and proclaiming Catholic social doctrine.
CWR: What is your initial impression of, or reaction to, the Supreme Court ruling about the health-care bill?
Abp. Naumann: I think it makes even more important now the court challenges that have been filed by many dioceses and Catholic institutions in terms of religious liberty and conscience-rights protections. I think that becomes even more important as it appears this law is going to go into effect. The American bishops as a body have always supported—and I think it is important to say—increased access to health-care for the poor. And so that’s always been a priority for us and if we can make that available to the poor in a way that is financially responsible, then I think we certainly support it.
But there was unified opposition by the bishops to this bill because of its refusal to put in language that would prohibit it from being used for abortion and the refusal to put in conscience-protection language. We’ve seen both of those to be valid concerns with the HHS mandate’s implementation of this bill.
CWR: There were reports from the USCCB meeting earlier this month that you had expressed concern about critical remarks made by certain USCCB committees about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. You were quoted as saying that such remarks can create the perception of partisanship, and you made a point about how the principle of subsidiarity has been “neglected in past documents.” Why has the principle of subsidiarity been neglected so often from the pulpit, by bishops? Why do so few Catholics know of it and understand it?