Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kmiec the Martyr

(Hat tip: Chris Blosser)

Prof. Doug Kmiec writes at Commonweal to bemoan the rough and tumble of political blogging in the Catholic blogosphere:
... A longtime Republican who served in the Reagan administration, I nonetheless endorsed Obama last spring. Ever since, I’ve been subjected to unrelenting personal attacks launched from right-wing Catholic keyboards-blogs (and bloggers) so coarse and uncivil they make the insults of talk radio sound like actual journalism. Further, the lack of civility that rules the right-wing Catholic blogosphere has infected mainstream Catholic journalism as well. In a syndicated assessment of the 2008 election, one usually thoughtful conservative columnist employed the following descriptions of Catholic Obama supporters: “decadent,” “tribal,” “immoral,” “certainly stupid,” “mindless,” and in need of basic “adult education.” And those were all in a single paragraph! Such highly concentrated rhetorical venom is not calculated to invite discussion.

Of course, bloggers deny there is anything “personal” in such attacks. My online tormentors like to claim that their beef with me is my alleged abandonment of the prolife cause or willful misstatement of church teaching. Neither charge is true. I remain unabashedly prolife and I have never consciously misstated the doctrine of the church; indeed, I’ve publicly said that were the Holy Father to tell me I had contradicted the magisterium on any given page of my Obama book, I would tear out that page.

No, the real problem with the blogospheric reaction to Obama lay in the responses themselves, which all too often mixed the smallest dollop of substance into a big steaming stew of personal contempt. As the vilification of Catholic Obama supporters progressed over the months, it became something of a bloggers’ sport to conjure up ridiculous explanations for what was wrongly described as my “apostasy.” Bloggers asserted I was angling for a judicial spot (strange, when I had already declined appointment to the appellate bench twice); another imagined me distressed over some apparent snub by George W. Bush or John McCain (not true, unless it be distress that one governed badly and the other promised to “stay the course”). One online source even speculated that I had suffered a stroke.

Noting my continued good health, the editors of Commonweal invited this essay which I submit even as I acknowledge the wisdom of Sr. Pius’s eighth-grade counsel: “Douglas, just offer it up!”

[Read the whole thing]

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At 1/13/2009 9:49 AM, Anonymous crankycon said...

Doug, the reason Catholic bloggers continue to attack you is reflected in the very nature of what you have written. You either do not the ability or the desire to honestly discuss your opponent's actual arguments. Instead you employ straw men argumentation and shoddy logic. You're either obtuse or a liar, and it's sad that the former is the "charitable" option.

At 1/13/2009 11:20 AM, Blogger Graubo said...

My first encounter with Mr. Kmiec was in the newspaper for my diocese. They published an essay of his that was his defense for amnesty for illegal immigrants in the realm of Catholic social teaching. In that piece and this one, it is obvious that he has a problem denigrating talk- radio and its audiences. In the first piece I refer to, he mentioned talk-radio as a "vast wasteland". I listen to talk-radio and I am more informed than if I did not. Too bad I can't say the same about Mr. Kmiec. I do not really bother with what he thinks. I thank our servicemen and women that have fought for that freedom that I enjoy in listening to talk-radio. Does Mr. Kmiec want some cheese with his whine?

Peace, Graubo

At 1/13/2009 11:47 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

Cranky, I really don't believe that he's obtuse. There's simply no evidence for that conclusion.

I was long ago taught never to attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. But Kmiec's constant actions ever since I first heard of him last year cannot be adequately explained by stupidity. The man is lying when he claims to be "pro-life." He is a deserter from the culture wars, he has surrendered in the fight for a right to life to be recognized in law, he has made himself a negotiated peace on what the Holy Father has called a non-negotiable issue.

Is this a personal attack? If so, so be it.

At 1/13/2009 12:49 PM, Blogger LargeBill said...

The election is over and behind us. With that in mind I (or we) need to put the animus aside. In my mind I firmly believe Kmiec is wrong about Obama and the path on which he will lead our country. However, now that what's done is done, I have to hope and pray that Kmiec is right and I am wrong regarding Obama. My belief is our nation just elected (with the help of some erstwhile Catholics) the most ideologically left & pro-abortion president we have had and the least experienced individual to hold that office. Personally, If (as I expect) Obama retards the pro-life progress of the last couple decades, I wouldn't want to have to defend voting for him come our inevitable judgment day.


Don't worry some positions and actions need to be attacked for failure to attack them is tactic approval.

At 1/13/2009 1:01 PM, Blogger Jessie said...

Maybe I just don't understand the concept, but if you are "offering up" your suffering, can you still whine and complain and go on and on about how miserable you are and how awful it is? I mean, isn't the point to add your suffering to that of Jesus? That would seem to preclude whining and constantly bringing up past injustices in order to "suffer" them again. But then, I am new to the concept and don't really have a good working definition of what exactly "offering up" our suffering means from a theological stand point. I would appreciate it if anyone could give me a quick study on the issue.

At 1/13/2009 1:04 PM, Anonymous meg said...

I have no words. However, I daresay Sr. Pius would, and they wouldn't be "Douglas, just offer it up!".

At 1/13/2009 1:09 PM, Anonymous meg said...

Jessie - we cross posted. Great point, he is certainly not bearing his "sufferings" well.

Kmiec was seduced by Obamamania and is blind to that fact. I wonder if he has/had any misgivings about the whole thing deep inside.

At 1/13/2009 1:57 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...


Did Douggie get an owie on the playground?

At 1/13/2009 2:43 PM, Blogger Darwin said...

In addition to all the things I think he's wrong on, I don't get the whining tone. If you make a political move that is likely to offend many people (such as from Reaganite to Obamaton) it's not surprising that many people will express displeasure. One doesn't see pleeding little notes from Karl Rove saying, "I don't understand why everyone is demonizing me!"

Kmiec is a comparatively small actor (and to be honest, I doubt he's achieved much for Obama as I don't think many Catholics decided based on his advocacy) but the same principle applies. If you declare war, don't be surprised if you have enemies.

At 1/13/2009 5:58 PM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

Kmiec is reaping the usual reward of turncoats: scorn. What he probably doesn't realize yet is that his new found friends on the pro-abort side also scorn him. They simply don't do it to his face.

At 1/14/2009 3:28 AM, Blogger James H said...

"Kmiec is reaping the usual reward of turncoats: scorn. What he probably doesn't realize yet is that his new found friends on the pro-abort side also scorn him. They simply don't do it to his face"

DOuglas while they might not do it to his face I think the scorn has been evident when we saw the horrible head of Catholics For Free Choice saying Kmiec was nuts that he thought the new abortion plank in the Dem party was more pro-life

At 1/14/2009 11:00 AM, Blogger paladin said...

Donald wrote:

Kmiec is reaping the usual reward of turncoats: scorn.

Very true; C.S. Lewis touched on the same theme:

In war, each side may find a traitor on the other side very useful. But though they use him and pay him they regard him as human vermin. (from "Mere Christianity")

One who tries, like Mr. Kmiec, to appease the culture of death is like the one who throw his compatriots to the alligator, hoping it'll eat him last. It just shows how immorality and illogic go hand-in-hand...


"Offering it up" is a corollary to our belief in the Communion of Saints (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:26, etc.), but especially of the idea contained in Colossians 1:24:

"I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and in my flesh I fill up those things that are lacking in the sufferings of Christ, for the sake of His body, Who is the Church."

Fr. Samuel Tiesi, author of the book "Redemptive Suffering", wrote, when commenting on Col 1:24: [I'm paraphrasing from memory] "What can be lacking in the all-perfect sufferings of Christ? Only our participation in it. If the Head suffers, will not His body suffer, as well?"

If you like, suffering--when consciously united (i.e. "offered up") to the sufferings of Our Blessed Lord on the cross (the only sacrifice with any true meaning)--becomes enriched with merit and purpose, and becomes "spiritual coinage" which we can spend in the order of grace... for the sake of our purification, or especially for the sake of others (whether living or deceased).

Jeff Cavins once told the story of a night where, due to an ailment, the pain in his arm was so agonizing that he couldn't sleep at all; he went into the bedroom of his (then) young daughter as she slept, he knelt down by her bedside, held his suffering arm up to God, and managed to force out the words: "God... for her! For her!" That's a man who understands redemptive suffering ("offered up" in union with Christ's passion), very well, indeed!

At 1/14/2009 7:05 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

One doesn't see pleeding little notes from Karl Rove saying, "I don't understand why everyone is demonizing me!"

Can you imagine the ridicule that would ensue if George Bush or Karl Rove undertook an itemized list of everything they considered mean or nasty that 'left wing blogs' said about them?

Toughen up.


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