Ultraconservative Archbishop to Lead US Catholic Hierarchy’s “Pro-Life” Committee

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November elected Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City as chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Archbishop Naumann, known to endorse ultraconservative views on abortion and the role of the Catholic hierarchy in American politics, was elected over Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago. Similarly conservative on the issue of women’s autonomy, Cardinal Cupich contextualizes antiabortion policies with other issues such as access to healthcare and income inequality. The election, the first time in nearly 40 years that the bishops did not elect a cardinal to the position, suggests that the USCCB favors a hardline approach on abortion to one that expands the ambit of “pro-life” advocacy to societal issues. Archbishop Naumann is openly critical of prochoice Catholic politicians, calling them “cafeteria Catholics,” and asserts that abortion is the greatest “moral crisis of our time.” The appointment elevates Naumann’s definition of pro-life to a position of public prominence in advance the 50th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.

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