WASHINGTON — Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, has gone on the offensive against Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine, calling the Virginia senator an “orthodox” Democrat and a “cafeteria Catholic.”
Naumann of Kansas City said in his weekly column that Kaine is “picking and choosing the teachings of the Catholic Church that are politically convenient.”
Kaine grew up in Overland Park, and attended a Jesuit high school in nearby Kansas City, Missouri.
At times, his governing choices as Virginia’s governor and senator have been interpreted to run directly against his Catholicism.
Kaine is morally opposed to the death penalty but signed off on 11 executions during his four years as governor. After opposing gay marriage in his 2005 gubernatorial run, he later supported it. He’s personally against abortion, but has consistently voted in favor of abortion rights.
Referring to the vice presidential debate, Naumann wrote 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.”
“He said all the usual made-for-modern-media sound bites: It is not proper to impose his religious beliefs upon all Americans. He trusts women to make good reproductive choices. And when all else fails, there is always: Do we really want to criminalize and fill our jails with post-abortive women?”
“Why is Senator Kaine personally opposed to abortion, if he does not believe that it is the taking of an innocent human life?” Naumann asked.
“I hope in his science classes at Rockhurst he learned that at the moment of fertilization a new human life has begun with his or her own distinct DNA — different from the genetic code of both the child’s mother and father,” he wrote, referring to a Jesuit-run university in Kansas City.
“It is ironic that Senator Kaine expressed such profound concern about imposing his religious beliefs on others, while supporting efforts: 1) to coerce the Little Sisters of the Poor and other faith-based ministries to violate their conscience by including abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their employee health plans; 2) to put small business owners (e.g., florists, bakers, photographers, etc.) out of business with crippling fines if they decline to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies; and 3) to force every American taxpayer to help fund abortion,” Naumann wrote.
“Be wary of candidates who assume to take upon themselves the role of defining what Catholics believe or should believe,” the Kansas City archbishop wrote.
Meanwhile on Thursday, rivals Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took part in the annual Al Smith dinner in downtown Manhattan, but the pair declined to shake hands as they entered the room.
Clinton was introduced first, followed by Trump. They sat with just one seat between them, filled by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who was tasked with playing peace-maker.
Also seated on the dais are a host of political and business leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was quietly booed by some in the room when he walked in.
Trump also was repeatedly booed later in the evening when he described Clinton as corrupt and latched onto information contained in hacked emails from her staff. That included a hit on Clinton for “pretending” not to hate Catholics as she sat at a Catholic charity event.