Prof. Kmiec Eulogizes Fr. Neuhaus in a Manner That is All About Prof. Kmiec and Justifying his Obama Vote [UPDATED]
Our old friend Prof. Kmiec "eulogizes" Fr. Neuhaus over at Catholic Online:
... In the last half year or so, Father Neuhaus and I had a public colloquy – disagreement really -- over the issue of how best to lessen the scourge of abortion. While there were times when I thought his words took on an unfortunate edge of political discourse, [ED.: Imagine that. Political disagreements taking on the "edge of political discourse". Poor Dougie, ever the martyr. And it's not like Kmiec's discourse ever took on an "unfortunate edge", right?] I shall forever remember this priest as a friend. A convert to the Catholic faith, Father Neuhaus was also responsible for a very successful effort, on the conservative side of the ledger, to build a bridge of respect between the Catholic and evangelical traditions. That alliance in itself is an invaluable legacy.(emphasis added)
Recently, of course, millions have expressed their hope for change of historic proportion in electing Barack Obama. Father Neuhaus was not in Obama’s column during the campaign, but I am confident he would have sought out opportunities to support the new President’s efforts to establish economic justice and to advance the cause of peace. But Father John would have remained steadfast in his call to America to “change” and give full support to human life.
Roe is mistaken constitutional law, because it's not based on the Constitution or any tradition or custom implicit within its terms, and on this, Father Neuhaus and I agreed. We differed over the likelihood and the impact of Roe’s reversal. Being in the presence of God, as I am confident Richard John Neuhaus surely is, the good father now knows which of us was right. I pray he was if Roe is overturned not with the kind of false judicial restraint that then leaves the states free to do whatever they want, but with a judicial fidelity to and reaffirmation of the “unalienable right to life” in the Declaration of Independence.
Even with Father Neuhaus now dispatching his essays from a heavenly editorial perch, the Declaration’s more fulsome affirmation of life seems unlikely. For that reason, as I see it, we have no alternative but to be about the business of helping one woman at a time make a choice in favor of life. Many will recognize this as the Obama approach, but what may be overlooked (but should not be), is that it was also that of Father John. Father Neuhaus wrote that we must “take seriously the needs of women whose social or economic circumstances might tempt them to seek the abortion ‘solution.’”
[More, if your stomach can tolerate it]
Tasteless. Unbecoming. Insensitive. Not to mention utterly false and nonsensical.
As I said in the comments over at Catholic Online:
Leave it to Prof. Kmiec to eulogize Fr. Neuhaus in a way that is really all about Prof. Kmiec and just another lame defense of his decision to vote for Obama. Fr. Neuhaus, may he rest in peace, deserves better.The second comment I left, not surprisingly, didn't make it past the editor [UPDATE: My second comment apparently did make it past the editor]:
In fact, the most impressive thing about Prof. Kmiec's "eulogy" of Fr. Neuhaus is that he didn't use it as yet another opportunity to share with us about how he was denied Communion.The rest of the comments at Catholic Online are similarly unimpressed by Prof. Kmiec's offering. Do read them. Former Kmiec student Gunnar Gundersen's response hits the nail on the head as to the impropriety of Kmiec's "tribute":
Does it really honor Fr. Neuhaus to equate his approach to abortion with Obama's FOCA approach? Was it really non-partisan to allow Professor Kmiec to mislead the readers of www.catholic.org that Obama wants to help women not choose abortion when his minions are preparing to use federal dollars to fund them? Did it really help in understanding Fr. Neuhaus's legacy by describing his contributions to Catholic theology and moral thought in this country to "political discourse" and benefiting only the "conservative side of the ledger?"I'm a big fan of Deacon Fournier, but I am disappointed that he has chosen at this time to give a forum to this dreadful "eulogy" of such a great man as Fr. Neuhaus. It is past the time that respectable orthodox Catholic publications and organizations should be giving a platform for Prof. Kmiec to spew his dissenting nonsense.
Moreover, the article was an invitation to despair that we will never overturn the unjust laws against abortion! Despair is from the Devil. If Professor Kmiec really believes that Fr. Neuhaus is in heaven with God then he should know that it is more likely than ever that a pro-life victory is at hand for now we have more help from the Church Triumphant in Fr. Neuhaus's prayers in heaven.
But to allow it under the guise of eulogizing Fr. Neuhaus is beyond the pale.
UPDATE (12 January)
Joseph Bottum posts his response to Kmiec at First Things:
... Finally, there is Douglas Kmiec’s odd obituary. I’m tempted to say a reasonable response can be found here, but some readers may not appreciate the profanity. Anyway, Kmiec’s attempt to pose himself as a friend and dialogue partner of Fr. Neuhaus may be the saddest and most pathetic of all the responses to this recent death. “It absolutely delighted Father John that the Holy Father gave American Catholics credit for resisting the secular trends of Western Europe,” Kmiec writes—to which the only response is: Who the hell ever called Richard by the name “Father John”? Only people who didn’t actually know him and want, after his death, to pretend that they did...Oh my. The post to which Bottum links is a bit jarring, especially juxtaposed below a photo of the Blessed Sacrament; but I'd be lying if I said the same thought hadn't crossed my mind once or twice over the past year.