Baltimore, Md., Nov 14, 2017 / 08:27 am
In a move seen as an endorsement of St. John Paul II's “culture of life” approach, the U.S. 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.