Tuesday, June 03, 2008

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.

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."

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
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"

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


At 6/03/2008 6:41 AM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

Kmiec is beyond embarrassing. He has yet to explain how he could have written articles such as this:


and now supports a candidate who has vowed to only nominate candidates to be judges who support Roe. His position is intellectually indefensible. Hence his retreat into emotion: "poor me, the mean priest spoke harshly about me and denied me communion." Kmiec is an object lesson of the damage a man can do to his own reputation when he allows ambition, and ambition alone, to take the reins.

At 6/03/2008 8:25 AM, Blogger Jeff Miller said...

Dionne also doesn't manage to mention many Catholic commeters had condemned the actions if in fact Kmiec was actually denied Communion. While we think he is a maroon, we pretty much don't believe he is supporting Obama because of the evil Obama supports, but that he has deluded himself in what an Obama presidency would mean.

There is just no real connectin between Kmiec and the Gov. For one the Gov has not been denied Communion, only told not to present herself

At 6/03/2008 9:36 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Speak for yourself, Jeff; I'm not convinced that Kmiec isn't one of the many self-identifying alleged "Catholics" who believe abortion is a Good Thing which must be kept available to every girl of any age for any reason or no reason. No matter what he may have appeared to be in the past.

I never heard of this guy before he endorsed Obama and put what was apparently a reputation as an intelligent and orthodox Catholic scholar at the service of the most evil, dishonest, pro-death candidate to ever seek the presidency.

"Using communion as a weapon"? That's what Kmiec, Dionne, Sebelius, "Catholic Democrats", Teddy Kennedy, Rudy Giuliani, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, Donald Wuerl and the rest want to do: use the public act of receiving the Blessed Sacrament as a weapon to undermine Catholic teaching by demonstrating that open rejection and even violation of the most minimal and fundamental principle of basic morality, thou shalt not kill, need not be a barrier to claiming a Catholic identity.

That's a weapon that strikes at the innocents who are slain, the faithful who are scandalized, the integrity of the Church which passes on the deposit of faith, and the God who gives us his body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. All in order to advance the culture of death and the fortunes of the Democratic Party.

Can somebody tell me, really, just what on Earth Kathleen Sebelius, Douglas Kmiec, or Rudy Giuliani ever suffered from having communion "used as a weapon" against them?

Oh, but wait. I had forgotten. This question has been settled definitively by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, on his U.S. visit this spring. It is not proper to deny communion to any pro-abortion Catholic. If it were, surely there would have been such denials at the papal masses when the Pope was here. Obviously, there is no inconsistency with supporting abortion and purporting to be Catholic.

My mistake. Old habits, you know.

At 6/03/2008 10:12 AM, OpenID discalcedyooper said...

I willing to grant him a little leeway considering that he was the victim of an act. I don't think Dionne did him any favors by interjected Sebelius. I'm going to assume for the time being that Kmiec didn't comment about Sebelius, since he isn't quoted as doing so. I don't remember off hand if he was a signatory of large letter signed by a bunch of Republicans and Democrats saying that communion shouldn't be denied.

A note from the article:
but he requested that I not name the priest to protect the cleric from public attack.
This I think is big of him. I had people commenting at Vox Nova who did want to go after this priest.

I agree with you though that partisans are conflating the two instances.

At 6/10/2008 9:53 AM, Anonymous John Imler said...

For anyone too busy to read the 43 pages of the Bishops' document, let me note some parts which Dionne neglects. He selects from Section 34 but disregards what immediately follows in 35 (emphasis added): There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons...

Section 38 regarding Kmiec's diversion that Catholics should heed the broad social teaching of the Church: The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.

Lastly, Section 42: ...Yet a candidate's position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support.

Can there also be bishops who haven't read this?

At 6/11/2008 4:03 AM, Anonymous harvey said...

Geesh -- not one of you God-fearing Catholic conservatives have mentioned the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost in Mr. Bush's unnecessary war, or the present desperate economic state of the American poor & middle class -- in other words, that perhaps there is a larger & graver picture than simply the abortion issue, as the emminent Mr. Kmiec suggests. Looks like the Republican noise machine has certainly succeeded in blinding us gullible Catholics & everybody else with their quadrennial hat-tipping to the anti-abortion cause, huh?

What ever happened to Cardinal Bernardin's "whole cloth" philosophy that embraced Jesus-like policies on life -- war & poverty & abortion AND death penalty -- all equally? The Cardinal made one proud to be a Catholic, and his line of thought almost demands rejection of the Republican party platform as non-responsive on all but one of his points.

Kmiec has been at the forefront of American politics and conservative thought for over 20 years, with impeccable credentials in Republican and Catholic circles (If one hasn't heard of him, well...) His careful & thoughtful endorsement of Obama should give great pause to Republican apologists, too many of whom are well-meaning Catholics, who have blindly given over the country to the painfully dysfunctional GOP policies of status quo trickle-down economics & worldwide beligerence in exchange for mere lip service on the single issue of abortion.

Doug Kmiec should be praised and studied for his brave endorsement of a change in national direction after 25+ years of towing the GOP party line. And the rest of us with any bit of conscience & intellect should follow his lead.

At 8/31/2008 1:35 PM, Blogger Liberator_Rev said...

It's great to see Catholics demonstrating so much needed conscience when it comes to clergy having the guts to apply moral law to political leaders.
Now watch how many Conservative Catholics become "moral relativists" when it comes to their hierarchy's failure to apply moral law to the CONSERVATIVE political leaders of Nazi Germany!
Many of the most vicious architects of the Nazi Holocaust were Roman Catholics i. e. Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Rudolf Hoess, Julius Streicher, Fritz Thyssen, Klaus Barbie, and Franz Von Papen. None of the Catholics above or below was ever publicly excommunicated by "Holy Mother the Church",
R. C. Engelbert Dollfuss was head of the Nazi state of Austria.
R. C. Leon Degrelle was head of the Nazi state of Belgium.
R. C. Emil Hacha was head of the Nazi state of Bohemia-Moravia.
R. C. Ante Pavelic was head of the Nazi state of Croatia.
R. C. Adolf Hitler was head of the Nazi state of Germany.
R. C. Miklos Horthy was head of the Nazi state of Hungary.
R. C. Konrad Henlein was head of the Nazi state of Sudetenland.
R. C. Pierre Laval was head of the Nazi state of Vichy-France.
R. C. Henry Petain was head of the Nazi state of Vichy-France.
R. C. priest, Fr. Augustin Voloshin was head of the Nazi state of Ruthenia.
R. C. priest, Fr. Josef Tiso was head of the Nazi state of Slovakia.
R. C. priest, Fr. Andrei Hlinka was head of the Nazi state of Slovakia.
R. C. priest, Fr. Anton Koroshec was head of the Nazi state of Yugoslavia.
These Catholics were "pro-life" and anti-homosexual. So what if they conducted the mass-extermination of 6 million Jews (rivals of Catholicism)?
What kind of message do you all think the Church is sending the world by talking of canonizing the pope who was so careful not to excommunicate any of these good Gatholics ?
See JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RCscandal


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

hit counter for blogger