Joseph F. Naumann, 71, has served as Archbishop of Kansas City, Kansas since 2005. He was born in St. Louis, was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1975 and an auxiliary bishop in 1997. He served in a variety of parishes and administrative roles before coming to Kansas City as coadjutor archbishop (with the right of succession) in 2004.
Throughout his priesthood he has been active in supporting the pro-life movement, and serves as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities. On January 28, Archbishop Naumann celebrated the annual March for Life vigil Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In his homily, he admonished Catholics to fight the culture of death with “prayer, fasting and almsgiving.”
CWR: In January 2020, 100,000 people participated in the 2020 March for Life, and the featured speaker was President Donald Trump. Where do we stand today?
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann: The circumstances are very much different. I’d say we had many more than 100,000 at the March for Life a year ago, and would have had more than that this year had it not been for the virus and fears that the March would be taken over by people with other agendas. The passion that our people have to build a culture of life and to protect the most vulnerable, the unborn, is strong, particularly among our young people.
CWR: Do you think the 2021 March for Life was at all effective as a virtual event this year? What kind of participation did you observe?
Archbishop Naumann: The downside of having a virtual event is that we cannot observe the participants in the same way. But, considering the correspondence I’ve received, and what I observed at the Vigil Mass, I’d say a lot of people were tuned in and watching.
I was also pleased to see so many U.S. bishops from New Hampshire to Hawaii livestreaming Holy Hours after the vigil from their cathedrals. It was beautiful.
CWR: Do you think it was a mistake to cancel the March for Life? Will it return next year?
Archbishop Naumann: It was a wise and prudent decision to cancel the March, considering the event at the Capitol that happened a few weeks before. It was not the time to have a mass demonstration. And, God willing, it will definitely return next year.
CWR: Mr. Biden professes to be a devout Catholic, yet is 100% pro-choice on abortion. How do you think America’s bishops ought to respond to this situation?
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SOURCE: Catholic World Report, Jim Graves