Archbishop Naumann is the chair of the U.S. bishops' conference (USCCB) pro-life committee.
He celebrated the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life, normally attended by thousands on the eve of the annual March for Life. However, the 2021 Mass was closed to the general public due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The March for Life is an annual pro-life demonstration around the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
Normally attended by tens of thousands of pro-life advocates, the 48th annual March for Life is closed to the public and will be live-streamed on Friday as pro-life leaders walk through the streets of Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, Archbishop Naumann emphasized that the COVID precautions taken by society "have communicated to our elderly that their lives are important and treasured."
"Perhaps, the greatest bright spot in our nation's response to COVID-19 was the extraordinary measures that we have taken to protect the most vulnerable, those with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly," Naumann stated.
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"In a culture where euthanasia and assisted suicide have gained traction," he added, "it has been heartening that our COVID protocols are not based on a biased Quality of Life ethic"--restricting care for the elderly and disabled based on an assumption about their "quality of life."
At the end of his homily, the archbishop explained the Church's teaching on reception of Holy Communion is not meant to be "inhospitable" or "exclusive." When a Communion recipient replies "Amen," he said, it "is an affirmation that we believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims to be revealed by God."
"We do not want non-Catholic Christians to profess something that they do not believe," Naumann said of non-Catholics being instructed not to receive Communion.