Doug Kmiec: “The better question is how could a Catholic not support Barack Obama?”

Doug Kmiec, the former Reagan/Bush official and abortion-opposing Catholic who is supporting Barack Obama, has been the topic of much discussion, here at Pontifications and elsewhere.
In today’s NYTimes, columnist Peter Steinfels interviews Kmiec. Here’s one of many fascinating–and likely controversial–exchanges:

Q. You have been fiercely attacked by some Catholic abortion opponents and in one instance barred from receiving communion. How do you feel about that?
A. To be the subject of an angry homily at Mass last April 18 and excoriated as giving scandal for endorsing Senator Obama and then to be denied communion for that “offense” was the most humiliating experience in my faith life.
To be separated in that public manner from the receipt of the eucharist, and to be effectively shunned or separated from the body of Christ in the sense of that particular congregation, has left, I very much regret to say, a permanent spiritual scar. Thankfully, it has also given me a new appreciation for the significance of the sacrament in my daily worship. And the priest, having been called to order by Cardinal Roger Mahony, sent me an apology, which of course I have accepted.

Read more here.

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posted August 31, 2008 at 1:06 am

Can someone in the Catholic media please identify the name and mailing address of this brave and simple priest who denied the powerful and well-connected Professor Kmiec Holy Communion? I would like to write the priest to thank him for what he did on April 18.
Thumbs down to Mahony (what else would we expect from him? B16 should replace Mahony as soon as he hits the mandatory age for ordinaries).
Thumbs up to the priest!!
As for Professor Kmiec, pray for him … because God will get the last word on this ambitious phony :-)

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Meredith Gould

posted August 31, 2008 at 8:26 am

My usual comment re: Cardinal Mahony: Christian love abiding? Jesus weeps.

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posted August 31, 2008 at 8:59 am

“Christian love abiding? Jesus weeps.”
He’s probably already weeping over Obama’s stance on killing babies and the confused Catholics who support him.
Good for the priest who denied Doug Holy Communion. Receiving it under such circumstances is a grave sin. That priest was looking out for Doug’s best interest.

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posted August 31, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Kmiec: Applying this to the issue of abortion, the senator [Obama} has repeatedly indicated that he is not pro-abortion, that he understands the serious moral question it presents, and, most significantly, that he wants to move us beyond the 35 years of acrimony that have done next to nothing to reduce the unwanted pregnancies that give rise to abortions.
However, Obama’s entire history of voting belies this.
There are other churches that do not hold that abortion is profoundly immoral. Kmiec is free to join one of them.

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posted August 31, 2008 at 4:13 pm

An excellent “interview” by Mr. Kmiec. He has shown real courage in taking this obviously unpopular political stance. And thank heaven for courageous church leaders like Cardinal Mahoney for showing true Christian love.
Mr. Kmiec points about Roe are well taken. Roe is not going to be overturned. How many election cycles will it take before that is realized? A life-long Republican Supreme Court justice, appointed by Republican President Nixon, wrote the majority opinion in Roe. What have the Republicans really done to eliminate abortion? At least Obama’s approach has a chance of lessening the number of them. McCain certainly won’t do that for all the empty talk.

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Reaganite in NYC

posted August 31, 2008 at 6:27 pm

gmo2: “[Kmiec] has shown real courage in taking this obviously unpopular political stance. And thank heaven for courageous church leaders like Cardinal Mahoney …”
Sheer poppycock!! Kmiec is showing nothing but craven opportunism. The man never managed to get a Federal judicial appointment under the GOP and hopes that positioning himself as the “token Reaganite pro-lifer” in the Obama camp will boost his future prospects as the country appears to be listing to the left. He is to the Obamanians what David Gergen was to the Clintonistas: a hopeless careerist and trophy GOP cross-over.
As for Mahony, let’s not get started on him ….

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posted August 31, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Kmiec holds no elective or appointed office yet these posts call him craven . Five Catholic Republican appointed Supreme Court Justices will not even calander on the docket a discussion of Roe VS. Wade. Yet they get communion and no bad mouthing from the hierarchy.What partisan spin!
enough already!

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posted August 31, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Ed, do you believe the Catholic hierarchy is schilling out partisan spin and that they are staunch Republicans? Please correct me if I’ve misunderstood.

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posted September 1, 2008 at 1:21 am

Tom you heard me correctly…; Of course they shill , especially those bishops who make headlines condemning Dems only. They are staunch shilling Repubs; they only condemn pro choice Catholic Dems like Pelosi, Kerry, Biden, Missouri Gov whose name escapes me but never Pro-Choice Catholic Repubs like Schwazenegger, Guiliani, exPa governor Ridge etc.They have given the 5 Repub Catholic Supreme Ct. Justices a free pass for refusing to even discuss laws that challange Roe. Can you name a bishop who has condemned one of the Republican pro choice govs or Justices? Political voting registration is public knowledge .. I would guess bishops all are decline-to-state.. but a good research job for a grad student..
And I ask why only 2 of the 277 bishops condemned the Iraq war, refusing to back up the Vatican’s condemning of the war. Shill is too mild a word for their actions.

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Iris Alantiel

posted September 3, 2008 at 8:48 am

I seem to recall reading about how, not so long ago, the American public was afraid to elect a Catholic to office because they feared total control from the Vatican.
Seems like that’s what the Vatican is trying to implement here, and kudos to Kmiec for refusing to fold under pressure.
I think it’s horrible that the Church – my Church! – is so ready to condemn people for their political opinions. No one should be publicly shamed and denied the sacraments for supporting or endorsing a candidate, and it really makes a lie of the hierarchy’s insistence that they’re not telling us who to vote for. Kmiec just said publicly what many Catholics no doubt feel, and that’s no sin. And yes, I’ve heard all the arguments: blah blah blah mortal sin blah blah pro-choice blah blah blah. A consistent pro-life ethic could make a decent argument for Obama based on a wide range of arguments – prudent hesitancy over war, improving would-be abortive mothers’ circumstances so choosing life becomes a realistic option, or the simple fact that most of the Republicans’ promises to eliminate the scourge of abortion tend to dry up by the time the president takes office.

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posted September 6, 2008 at 2:19 pm

There was Gov. Sebelius of Kansas and AB Nauman. That controversy is still raging. She vetoed some of the most horrifically written legislation I have seen in decades, and because it had the title “abortion” Nauman wants to excommunicate her for vetoing it. Interesingly enough, Nauman is totally silent on the male politicians who supported her and voted against the legislation.
Catholic male democrats are targets. Catholic female politicans from both parties are targets. Male republicans get a free ride.
When you look at the legislation that the politicians are being persecuted for vetoing, they all have one thing in common … they say abortion and they are some of the most horrific pieces of legislation (not necessarily the original draft, but the final draft will all of the add-ons, disclaimer, trailers, etc) ever written.
Why is the bishopric focusing on one word and ignoring the entire context? Simple. The Vatican is trying to gain control of our country by getting puppet catholics or catholic puppets elected into key government positions. Failing that, they resort to eucharistic blackmail or threats of excommunication. Fact is, if they were ordinary citizens instead of clergy, they would all be serving prison sentences now for their actions.

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John Sloan

posted September 6, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Funny how time has changed the definition of “Catholic”—Believe me Mr. Kmiec you turned in your Catholic badge of honor when you decided to disobey not the church—but your God. We had one high toned, mesmerizing President in John Kennedy. Most Irish Catholics, (and I’m one) could pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. Ask the Cubans about the Bay of Pigs. John Kennedy like Obama was a good orator but that does not make them presidential material.Talk is cheap. Ask Helen Keller.

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posted September 7, 2008 at 11:13 am

Time hasnt changed the definition John, the Holy Spirit is changing the church for the betterment of everyone.
Here’s a novel thought: God has room for all of us in HIS church, not just those who prefer legalistic orthodox fundamentalism

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Jimmy Mac

posted September 8, 2008 at 6:55 pm

When the Catholic Church cannot persuade its members, or others, to do, i.e., not have abortions, it now is trying to steamroll anyone who does not toe the RC line. Bear this in mind: “Vigorous minds will not suffer compulsion. To exercise compulsion is typical of tyrants; to suffer it, typical of asses.” Erasmus
The problem is clericalism and authoritarianism. Russell Shaw put it best in a 1993 book of his: “By clericalism I mean an elitist mindset, together with structures and patterns of behavior corresponding to it, which takes it for granted that clerics—in the Catholic context, mainly bishops and priests, are intrinsically superior to the other members of the Church and deserve automatic deference. Passivity and dependence are the laity’s lot. By no means is clericalism confined to clerics themselves. The clericalist mindset is widely shared by Catholic lay people.”
Russell Shaw, “To Hunt, to Shoot, to Entertain: Clericalism and the Catholic Laity” (1993)

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posted September 15, 2008 at 10:29 am

I envy those on both sides of this abortion issue who are so adament in their pronouncements and sure of the correctness of their positions that they feel very comfortable attacking anyone who doesn’t agree with them totally. I am very conflicted with this issue because I have always been a devoted Catholic/American/Democrat. I have lived for 74 years with no concern that I would have to explain how I could live with my firm beliefs in all of these areas and indeed be criticised and even vilified for trying to do so. As a Catholic, I consider abortion to be a personal mortal sin. As an American, I believe in the Constitutional rights of every person to live her/his life according to one’s own religious beliefs and not have them dictated to by any other faith or governmental interference. As a Democrat, I see this mindset incouraged and always with a reaching out to those who are poor helpless and in great need as Jesus modeled for us. In my church we have groups of people who pray constantly for the victims of war,abortion and those who have their lives taken by the death penalty. These are all “Life Issues”and to choose one as a rallying cry for a political party or any particular religious faith to try to guilt or bully fellow Americans into forgetting all other important issues that face our country today is dispicable at best and anti-american in everyway. They are throwing up this one issue as a smoke screen to win an election once again. Will it work again – we don’t have long to wait and see. Molly

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posted October 6, 2008 at 1:24 am

If Molly is torn between being a Catholic and an American, she should realize that being an american is only for this life/world. She will have her Catholic seal of Baptism for eternity whether in heaven or hell. the Church is and has been crystal clear for 2000 years that to cooperate in abortion is a MORTAL SIN.

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