E.J. Dionne on Kmiec Being Denied Communion [UPDATED]
The Obama Catholics definitely want to keep this story alive, so E.J. Dionne obliges by writing about it over a month later in The Washington Post:
... Word spread like wildfire in Catholic circles: Douglas Kmiec, a staunch Republican, firm foe of abortion and veteran of the Reagan Justice Department, had been denied Communion.(emphasis added)
His sin? Kmiec, a Catholic who can cite papal pronouncements with the facility of a theological scholar, shocked old friends and adversaries alike earlier this year by endorsing Barack Obama for president. For at least one priest, Kmiec's support for a pro-choice politician made him a willing participant in a grave moral evil.
Kmiec was denied Communion in April at a Mass for a group of Catholic business people he later addressed at dinner. The episode has not received wide attention outside the Catholic world, but it is the opening shot in an argument that could have a large impact on this year's presidential campaign: Is it legitimate for bishops and priests to deny Communion to those supporting candidates who favor abortion rights?
Kmiec started life as a Democrat. His father was a soldier in the late Mayor Richard J. Daley's Chicago political machine, and Kmiec's earliest political energies were devoted to Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 campaign.
But like many Catholic Democrats, Kmiec was profoundly attracted to Ronald Reagan. For him, five words in Reagan's 1980 acceptance speech summarized the essence of a Catholic view of politics: "family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom."
Already, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City has played an indirect role in the 2008 campaign by calling on Kathleen Sebelius, the popular Democratic governor of Kansas who has been mentioned as a possible Obama running mate, to stop taking Communion because of her "actions in support of legalized abortion."
Kmiec says he is grateful because the episode reminded him of the importance of the Eucharist in his spiritual life, and because he hopes it will alert others to the dangers of "using Communion as a weapon."
Good Lord, not only has Kmiec essentially argued that the "pro-choice" position is one that Catholic voters can embrace, now he's even adopted this nonsensical bit of rhetorical rubbish straight out of the Catholic Democrats' playbook:
"... using Communion as a weapon"Really? Is that what Kmiec believes Archbishop Naumann has done, for example? Did the Archbishop "use Communion as a weapon" against Gov. Sebelius? I think we need some clarification from Kmiec on that issue, given that Archbishop Naumann is specifically mentioned in this piece.
At any rate, I expect better from someone of Prof. Kmiec's caliber than to engage in that sort of shallow rhetoric. Again, it is beyond pathetic what this "Catholic legal scholar" has stooped to in order to defend the indefensible "pro-choice" position of his chosen candidate (and, perhaps, his candidate's potential running mate).
Let's be clear about what's going on here with this Op/Ed by Dionne and Kmiec's intellectually lazy appeal to the mantra about "using Communion as a weapon." This effort is an attempt to stir up doubt and outrage over this single instance of Kmiec wrongfully being denied Communion by an overzealous priest in order to intimidate and deter bishops like Archbishop Naumann from legitimately exercizing their episcopal authority in such matters as pro-abortion ("pro-choice", whatever) politicians presenting themselves for Communion.
That's why, I believe, the piece specifically mentions Archbishop Naumann's actions with regard to Gov. Sebelius - an example that is completely unrelated and distinguishable on both the facts and the law from what happened to Kmiec.
Blur the lines, stir up outrage, intimidate the Bishops, make abortion go away as an issue for Catholic voters in this year's election. That's what's going on here.
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Deal Hudson on Prof. Kmiec and Blurring the Lines Between "Pro-Choice" and Pro-Abortion
And You Thought the Priest Who Denied Doug Kmiec Communion for Supporting Obama Was Hard Core ...
Did Doug Kmiec Just Now Catch On That Obama and NARAL Are Politically Conjoined? [UPDATED]
Deal Hudson on "How Obama's Catholics Will Dodge the Infanticide Question"
Kmiec's Dishonesty [UPDATED]
Catholic Teaching and Political Risk Taking: When Credit Isn't Given Where Credit is Due [UPDATED]
Kmiec's Wishful Thinking on Obama and Abortion
The Curt Jester: "Shameless Garment" [UPDATED]
So-Called "Catholic Reaganite" Doug Kmiec Endorses Obama [UPDATED]
"No'bama for Me, Thanks"Can a Catholic Vote for Obama?
Obama's Pledge to Planned Parenthood: “I Will Not Yield"
Deal Hudson: "Barack Obama's Catholic Problem"
"Why American Catholics are Supporting Barack Obama
Catholics at the Ballot Box
How the Catholic Left Will Tackle McCain
Why Does Kmiec Criticize McCain for Positions on Which He Gave Romney a Pass?
Deal Hudson on "Douglas Kmiec and the Lure of Obama"
Douglas W. Kmiec on "The Moral Duty to Inquire"
Professor Bainbridge: "Will Catholic Reaganites Go for Obama?"
Deal Hudson: "Preacher Man: Barack Obama and the the Gospel of Liberalism"
"Sorry, Doug Kmiec, But This Catholic Isn't Buying Obama"
Ramesh Ponnuru on Douglas Kmiec and "Catholic Reaganites for Obama" [UPDATED]
Romney Advisor Says Obama "a Natural for the Catholic Vote"
Obama "Post-Partisan"? Ask John Roberts
Obama and the "Pragmatic Center"