Archbishop Joseph Naumann will be Prayer Breakfast Speaker at NRLC 2018 in Kansas City

By Dave Andrusko

Archbishop Joseph Naumann leads the Rosary in front of Planned Parenthood in Overland Park, Kansas, praying along with archdiocesan pro-life coordinator Allison Donohue (in patterned navy dress) and others. (Joe McSorley/The Leaven)

A friend passed along a terrific story written for the National Catholic Register about our friend Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas who will be the Prayer Breakfast speaker at the annual National Right to Life Convention in Kansas City. (For information about the June 28-29-30 convention and how to register, please click here

Before I pick up on a wonderful profile– “Archbishop Joseph Naumann: Authentically and Unabashedly Pro-Life,” written by Elisabeth Deffner for NCR—I’d like to first remind you of the importance of National Right to Life’s Premier Annual event and what you can expect when you attend.

For starters, the convention brings together in one place national experts on every phase of the life issues in order to equip grassroots pro-lifers not only with the knowledge and skills they need to advance our cause, but provide enthusiasm and motivation. You will come away rejuvenated!

For those who may not know, earlier this year Archbishop Naumann the Catholic Bishops elected him as chairman of the conference’s vitally important committee on pro-life activities. He will succeed another pro-life champion, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. He takes over formally in November.

In her profile Deffner starts at the beginning—in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided and Naumann was a seminarian. He felt very passionate about abortion but was torn when in 1984 he asked to be pro-life coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, thinking there must be a more qualified candidate.

“I felt very passionate about the issue,” he said in a recent interview with Deffner. “But I had never, even in my parish assignments, been in charge of the pro-life committee.”

Now that seminarian who was so moved by Roe v. Wade is Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas — and in November, he will be installed as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

It is perhaps fitting: He has served as a member of the committee for six terms.

“That’s been a great privilege,” he said.

But others who’ve known him for decades rave about Archbishop Naumann.

“I can’t think of anyone better to be in a pro-life leadership position than Archbishop Naumann,” Michael Schuttloffel, the executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, told NCR. “He was born to do this.”

Cardinal Dolan said “Archbishop Joseph Naumann is the Lou Gehrig of pro-life,” adding, ““He’s been on the frontlines since he was a seminarian. We bishops will be lucky to have him!”

The profile is so terrific I want you to please read it in its entirety. You’ll come away knowing that Archbishop Naumann does not shy away from confronting politicians who offer up the “personally opposed” excuse; that he has a particular heart for single mothers and their families (his own father was murdered), and that is kind of charismatic leader young people flock to.

As National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said when the selection was made, it “speaks to the importance the bishops place on keeping the life issues at the forefront of our national dialogue.”

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