Dueling letters in Public Discourse
My dear Archbishop Charles,
I want to thank you publicly for your thoughtful inquiry into how best to build a culture of life in the United States in the coming years. Seeing a small snippet of a YouTube discussion of yours brought back happy memories of sharing a table with you during my deanship at CUA. You are as well spoken a defender of the faith as I remember. That said, you and I do differ on the intent of Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction of ”proportionate reasons” and as related concepts receive elaboration in Faithful Citizenship. I am fearful that your interpretation will lead many in parishes around the country to neglect what they can do to build up the culture of life through the promotion of the social gospel in its fullest sense. You, I know, are apprehensive about emphasis upon the social gospel that neglects taking steps to align the law with the protection of life. In my judgment, there is no reason these two are in opposition even as the candidates have made them so each in their own way. This requires careful evaluation in the Conference of Bishops.
I’m grateful to Prof. Doug Kmiec as well for his letter. While we do not share a friendship and have had little contact in the past, Prof. Kmiec is right about the need for civility in public debate. Since I belong to a growing number of bishops excoriated by blogs on the cultural left–including blogs tied to otherwise respected Catholic publications and to scholars that, in the words of Prof. Kmiec, ”should know better”–I understand his discomfort with the tone of this election.
Nonetheless, good manners do not trump facts, and as an attorney himself, Prof. Kmiec surely knows the importance of candor. ..
Sen. Barack Obama has promised to sign a sweepingly abortion-friendly ”Freedom of Choice” Act; authorize human cloning to produce embryos for stem cell research in which they are killed; cut off funding for prolife pregnancy clinics; and nominate only ”pro-choice” judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Maybe all of these commitments are an elegant charade. Maybe I’ve missed a ”prolife” theme in here somewhere. But no matter. Along with many, many other Catholics and prolife citizens, I look forward eagerly to Prof. Kmiec’s vocal advocacy against these profoundly unjust policies.