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Archbishop Naumann elected US bishops’ pro-life committee chair

Archbishop Naumann won the pro-life committee with 96 votes, or 54 percent. The other candidate, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, garnered 82 votes, or 46 percent. The committee has customarily been overseen by a cardinal.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., waves at the crowd at the annual March for Life rally in Washington Jan. 27. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn); right: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago is seen in Chicago April 4. He praised Illinois governor for his promise to veto a bill that would use public funds for abortion. (CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)

Baltimore, Md., Nov 14, 2017 / 08:27 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In a move seen as an endorsement of St. John Paul II’s “culture of life” approach, the US bishops on Tuesday elected Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas as chairman of the conference’s committee on pro-life activities.

The bishops also elected a conference secretary and the chairs of five additional committees Nov. 14 during their plenary assembly in Baltimore, Md. Board members for Catholic Relief Services were elected as well.

Archbishop Naumann won the pro-life committee with 96 votes, or 54 percent. The other candidate, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, garnered 82 votes, or 46 percent. The committee has customarily been overseen by a cardinal.

Archbishop Naumann who was already a member of the pro-life committee, has challenged pro-choice Catholic politicians, spearheaded efforts to restrict abortion in Kansas, and prioritized abortion in his teaching ministry.

As a young priest, Naumann oversaw the pro-life office of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Under his leadership, the archdiocese began the Project Rachel ministry, a post-abortion healing ministry of the kind O’Connor championed. Naumann worked to support pregnancy centers and homes for mothers and children.

Cardinal Cupich has also spoken directly about the moral issue of abortion, and strongly criticized politicians whom he believes take pro-choice advocacy too far. But Cupich has contextualized these efforts in the memory of “seamless garment” approach of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

In the vote for conference secretary, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit won with 52 percent, to Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City’s 48 percent.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville was elected chair of the religious liberty committee with 57 percent of the vote to Archbishop Jerome Listecki of Milwaukee’s 43 percent.

The chairman-elect of the communications committee is Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, who garnered 116 votes to Bishop John Barres of Rockville Centre’s 70 votes.

Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland was elected chair of the committee on cultural diversity in the Church with 57 percent to Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux’ 43 percent.

For the committee on doctrine, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend was elected as chair with 54 percent to Bishop Daniel Thomas of Toledo’s 46 percent.

Bishop Joseph Cistone of Saginaw was elected chair of the collections committee by 66 percent to Archbishop Michael Jackels of Dubuque’s 34 percent.

The bishops also elected six members of the board of directors for Catholic Relief Services: Bishop Felipe Estevez of Saint Augustine; Bishop Fabre; Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis; Bishop Rhoades; Bishop Oscar Solis of Salt Lake City; and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.

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  1. It was a close call. The fact that Cupich, who believes that everything is a “life issue” and is Dissenting priest Father James Martin’s favorite person, got 82 votes is scary. 82 bishops out of about 200 want to water down the pro life teachings of the church. Scary, scary, scary.

  2. Phil Lawler gives a sober assessment of the election, “Year after year the committee has issued solid statements affirming the right to life. Yet the scourge of abortion — and the scandal of Catholic politicians who endose the killing — has continued. Can you name the current chairman of the committee whom Archbishop Naumann will replace? Or the chairman before that? Did you notice any difference in their approaches? Under Archbishop Naumann’s leadership, the bishops’ committee may take somewhat stronger public stands. But we should not expect any dramatic change. So why are we celebrating Archbishop Naumann’s election? Because his rival in the Tuesday election, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, would have brought radical change to the bishops’ committee. So, yes, there is cause for celebration in Archbishop Naumann’s election. But it is the celebration of a danger averted, more than of a victory achieved.” (Phil Lawler in Lifesite). Lawler suugests Catholics who used to look to Rome and now have turned from this Pontificate can look to Naumann. It seems with the Pontiff’s favoriti Cardinal Cupich, Tobin in the mix and apparent yes man DiNardo Archbishop Naumann will be marginalized. Unless his supporters have the mettle to reconstitute the USCCB.

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