Kmiec attacks ‘right wing’ Catholic bloggers

Get this… from CNA

My emphases and comments.

Prof. Kmiec accuses ‘right wing’ Catholic bloggers of character assassination
Blames them for potentially “poisoning” Vatican-Obama relationship

Washington DC, Jan 13, 2009 / 11:53 am (CNA).- In his first lengthy article explaining his position after the election of President Barack Obama, Professor Douglas Kmiec is accusing “right wing Catholic bloggers" of distorting his position, attacking him personally, and potentially poisoning the relationship between the Holy See and the future administration of President Barack Obama.

In the article entitled “A Tangled Web. The Election & the Blogosphere,” written for Commonweal magazine, Professor Kmiec explains that “as the author of a book whose title asked Can a Catholic Support Him? –and whose contents answered with an enthusiastic ‘Yes, we can!’- I have felt the animosity of those with an insatiable desire for political payback.” 

“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,” writes the law professor.

 “Further –he argues- 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.”

“My online tormentors,” Kmiec continues, “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.”

“This essay,” Professor Kmiec further explains, “is not about abortion, but at least this much must be said: blog lies to the contrary, there is no real legislative interest in FOCA. The attempt to use FOCA to drive a wedge between the church and the incoming administration is unjustified”. [Let me get this straight...  Catholic opposition to FOCA does not in truth spring from fear about the consequences of unrestricted abortion or the consequences of that will have for hospitals and various professionals.  It is really about trying to drive a wedge between an Obama administration and the Holy See.  Right.  Got it.]  He then warns the U.S. bishops: “the bishops, having stated clearly their opposition to FOCA-and rightly so-should not allow the right wing to obscure what Obama shares with the church: concern for the poor; support for the average family; a commitment to ending an unjust war; and respect for our environment.”  [committment to FOCA]

“Unless the sore losers of November 4 manage to poison the well, the Holy See and the Obama administration should be working more closely together in service to others than any administration in modern memory,” he opines.

Going back to his criticism of Catholic bloggers, Kmiec writes that “the scurrilous remarks of conservative bloggers missed the point, which was that I and millions of others who voted for Obama did so not despite our Catholic faith but because of it.”

A hate-filled blogosphere,” argues Kmiec, after defending the sincerity of Obama’s religious beliefs, “feeds a politics of odium, misleading people of faith and good will, diminishing and at times obliterating our ability to know one another.

“Sadly, neighbor-love is not what has overwhelmed my in-box since my Obama endorsement. Instead, right-wing blogs and their readers have launched missiles of hate, delivering ad hominem invective of an astonishing vehemence and crassness.”

Professor Kmiec later laments in his essay that “to be remade by a hateful blogosphere [I'm sensing a theme...] has its price, I’ve learned. I worry that such invitations to speak at Catholic colleges, and the fruitful exchanges these invitations make possible, will be fewer.”

“One member –he says- of the U.S. hierarchy whom I greatly admire has renounced our past association, writing, ‘We are not friends, professor,’ and answering my invocation of Christian brotherhood with a curt retort: ‘I do see you as a brother in Christ –a brother who is serving an evil end.’ The greatest personal price I have paid is the loss of old-and the preemption of new-friendships.”

Kmiec also confesses that when America Magazine’s blogger Michael Sean Winters speculated that the Obama administration might name him as ambassador to the Holy See, he was “flattered” and started seriously thinking about the possibility[hmmm.... so this essay is about.... what again...?]

But he claims that “neither God nor the president-elect had an opportunity to answer before the blogs were recycling their various calumnies, and adding now an anonymous voice allegedly saying ‘it would never happen.’”

Kmiec doesn’t reserve blame to “right wing” Catholic bloggers alone. In his essay, he says a role were played by “unfortunate remarks,” like the ones of Archbishop Raymond Burke calling the Democratic Party “the party of death,” and of Cardinal Francis Stafford at The Catholic University of America “describing some of the policies of the president-elect as ‘aggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic.’”

But he returns to his accusations against “right-wing Catholic bloggers,” saying they are “acting as a thinly disguised political front for the GOP" and "remain fixated on the goal of precipitating an unnecessary war between the Holy See and America’s next administration. It is dismaying to see a few American prelates and their ‘anonymous’ Vatican commentators acting as witting or unwitting coconspirators in this divisive action.”

Nevertheless, Professor Kmiec takes solace in the fact that “blogs have not closed the mind of the new president and, like Lincoln, he bears ‘malice toward none’ and manifests ‘charity for all’.”

“Even spinning a pervasive web of falsehood, the right-wing Catholic blogosphere is no match for the self-evident truth of that golden rule-nor would its bloggers want to be, were they to indulge a microsecond of charitable thought before hitting the send button,” he concludes.

 

Sound a little one-track to you?

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87 Responses to Kmiec attacks ‘right wing’ Catholic bloggers

  1. So a man who was fortunate enough to come to prominence under President Reagan now uses the pejorative term “right-wing” to describe conservatives?

    … written for Commonweal magazine …

    Nothing says, “Pour yourself a stiff drink first” like that line.

  2. BillyHW says:

    Doug Kmiec will have his Wales, and the Evil One will have his soul.

  3. Mike Morrow says:

    Well, he talks a lot about *right-wing Catholic blogs* but I couldn’t really tell
    if he is for them or against them. :-)

  4. Son of Trypho says:

    Maybe he is preempting the fact that he wont be appointed as Ambassador for the very reason (probable rejection for his views/actions) and lashing out at those whom he considers responsible (i.e. right-wing Catholic blogs)?

  5. Cole M says:

    Even granting that some bloggers and commenters on the right have been uncharitable, a bitter, angry tirade like this does not seem to be the proper Christian response. Although I had thought Mr. Kmiec wasn’t going to be like this, more and more it seems he’s drunk the left-wing dissention and the Obama-as-messiah Kool-Aid straight up. I wonder if he is going to say anything to any of his new friends in the Obama Administration or to his Congressmen about opposing FOCA. I hope so, but I’m not optimistic.

  6. Daniel Latinus says:

    I remember when the idea of Kmiec as ambassador to the Holy See was first suggested in November, sources in the Vatican said there was no possibility, in part, because senior ecclesiastics like Cardinals Burke and Stafford had a low opinion of Kmiec.

    Another commentator, who claims to have been a friend of Kmiec’s, believes that his change of allegiance is the result of Kmiec’s being passed over for a Supreme Court appointment by the Bush Administration.

    And I seriously doubt Obama will appoint Kmiec to any significant judicial office, no matter how effectiveKmiec was in securing Obama’s election. (And I am sure the folks at Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW, etc., will see that any such appointment is smothered before it gets out of the oval office; the aborts may be evil, but are definitely not stupid.)

    Having said that, I seriously doubt the blogosphere is influencing Rome’s dealing with the White House. Obama’s stated positions will give the Roman authorities pause, and Rome will work happily with the Obama administration where it can. The only real loser here is Kmiec.

    One more thing: the personality cult that seems to have sprung up around Obama creeps me out.

  7. Maureen says:

    So did he really think pro-life Catholics would be happy about what he was saying? That they would agree with him and skip happily down the lane, arm in arm with pro-abortion people? And why on earth would he expect that people wouldn’t blog angrily about it?

    I guess we’re supposed to feel sorry for him, not for babies.

  8. Papabile says:

    I agree with Kmiec on one thing… FOCA will not move quickly. Maybe towards the end of this year, early next year. The outside abortion groups need time to raise money with it. There need to be hearings, and they need to make their base angry so that it lasts through the election in 2010.

    That email going around that it will happen on January 21/22 is laughable. Obama will content himself with Executive Orders to increase the number of abortions. Planned Parenthood and NARAL get that and are OK with it.

    Now with respect to Kmiec…. I remember when he used to review the amici briefs that came out of the Pro-Life Secretariat at the NCCB. He was “firmly” committed to a Constitutional Amendment at that time.
    What a weasel.

  9. David Andrew says:

    It’s been posited elsewhere that the re-instatement of the “Fairness Doctrine” may reach much farther in its reincarnation than when it was rightly rescinded by Ronald Reagan back in the ’80′s.

    It won’t stop at the demonization of conservative talk radio. The rhetoric will continue to ramp up until freedom of speech, even on the internet, will be a dim memory, as the blogosphere will be subject to Communist-style censorship.

    It’s been a “frog in the kettle” scenario for quite some time, and daily we watch our freedoms being whittled away in the name of “fairness”.

  10. Brian Day says:

    “right wing Catholic bloggers”
    Unless he names the bloggers, I outright dismiss the charges of distortion and personal attack as baseless.

    …potentially poisoning the relationship between the Holy See and the future administration of President Barack Obama.
    These bloggers have that much power? Wow, the “right wing Catholic” group is a lot bigger and more powerful than I ever imagined. Bwahahah!

  11. Aelric says:

    The old “I am opposed therefore I am right” play.

  12. to quote another “friend” of the USA, the stench of sulfur is in the air

  13. For a man who helped lead the drive to get the Catholic vote into the camp of the Most Merciful, Lord High Barack Obama, he seems a little angry. Maybe he realizes that he has been used and cast aside, since his services are no longer needed (sort of like Benedict Arnold) and needs to lash out at anyone he can for this.

    I am suprised he did not throw in the “a vast right wing conspiracy” phrase.

  14. Irenaeus says:

    Is he really, possibly so obtuse? And was Obama lying or pandering or such when he promised to sign FOCA? Isn’t using such pro-death legislation to advance his candidacy a little…creepy and cynical if he’s not serious about it? I hereby imprecate Kmiec, and I do hope I meet him at a conference sometime.

  15. Well I hope I did my part to “poison” the well.

    Though the thing about Kmiec is that it is always about him. I suspect what he is annoyed at is his chance for Vatican ambassador being poisoned. This is a guy that recently turned an article about Fr. Neuhaus into being all about Doug. http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/2009/01/prof-kmiec-eulogizes-fr-neuhaus-in.html

  16. magdalene says:

    ” not calculated to invite discussion.”

    Right, like you can dialogue with the devil.

    The many appointments of solid, and many proclaimed Catholic, pro-abortion people in high key positions is one thing that might muddy the waters of the ‘all-caring’ president elect. And there is Michael Shaivo’s lawyer in his new job so there is the euthanasia position more solidified there. Intrinsic evils are entrenching but this man whines to Commonweal and America and so on. I think BHO is brilliant to have dissenting Catholics around him–THAT is is meant to divide the Church in America.

    It will not take too long for some to have their eyes opened at just what we have done in voting in this administration. If you liked Clinton, you will love this agenda.

  17. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    It’s a good thing that President Bush did not appoint him to the Supreme Court; he does not appear to be a particularly coherent thinker. He claims that “conservative bloggers missed the point, which was that I and millions of others who voted for Obama did so not despite our Catholic faith but because of it”. Critics of Kmiec didn’t miss this point; they disagreed with it. They disagreed with the claim that Catholics who care about Church teaching on abortion can vote for Obama without permitting themselves a high level of cognitive dissonance.

  18. little gal says:

    “One member –he says- of the U.S. hierarchy whom I greatly admire has renounced our past association, writing, ‘We are not friends, professor,’ and answering my invocation of Christian brotherhood with a curt retort: ‘I do see you as a brother in Christ –a brother who is serving an evil end.’”

    This seems to me a very civil admonishment from one brother-in-Christ to the other.

  19. prof. basto says:

    So this man publicly criticises, not only bloggers, but also the Pope’s Major Penitentiary and Prefect of the Church’s highest court of law (the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura), also appointed by the Pope, and that’s how he intends to prove that he has the diplomatic skills needed to be Ambassador to the Vatican?

  20. Thomas says:

    I think he confuses hate with disgust. And orthodoxy with “right-wing”.

  21. David Kastel says:

    Whoever sees the Republican Party as a friend of Catholics or Catholicism is insane.

    Certainly the Democrats are just as bad, but what’s the difference if abortion on demand is legal the Republican way (via a Supreme Court decision) or the Democrat way (the FOCA)?

    We live in a latter-day Roman Empire (an evil world empire) regardless of which of the two “parties” is in power.

  22. Lepanto says:

    Does any one else find this line a little creepy:

    “Professor Kmiec takes solace in the fact that ‘blogs have not closed the mind of the new president and, like Lincoln, he bears ‘malice toward none’ and manifests ‘charity for all”.’ ”

    The “new president” is portrayed as an all-forgiving merciful lord, who exhibits his godlike, condescending patience and charity even in spite of the evil force of the [gasp] “right wing blogs.” Kmiec should sit down one day and really reflect over the kind of garbage he has been saying lately.

    As for the post of Vatican ambassador, some of you more-informed Vatican people might know better, but I’ve heard that the Holy See might actually prefer a non-Catholic as the American ambassador. They often feel like the American ambassadors have acted like Vaticans “to” the US rather than ambassadors “from” the US. The Holy See is made up of blunt diplomatic types who want to hear bluntly the truth about the administration’s position. Kmiec’s sugarcoating certainly wouldn’t help. If I were the Holy See, I would hope that Obama points an atheist or Protestant with no history with the Church, at least she would accurately state Obama’s position allowing for the possibility of some cooperation on a few issues.

  23. TJM says:

    David Kastel, there is a difference. Republican Presidents by Executive Order cut off federal funding for abortion. The ONE plans on revoking that order. I guess little Kmiecky (fake Catholic) has no problem with that. I wonder if he’s on some meds that have distorted his mental processes. I no longer pay any attention to what this guy has to say about anything. Tom

  24. Richard says:

    Prof. Kmiec is offbase: the likelihood of FOCA passing is a secondary concern. It is the monstrosity of the principle invoked which must be rejected.

    To put it another way: David Duke had virtually no chance of imposing any of his racialist agenda, but that would not have moved me an inch toward voting for him, even if other policy stances of his had been laudable.

  25. Tom Seaver says:

    Two points. First, Kmiec will next come out with a statement that abortion does not harm anyone because Obama told him so. Second, David Kastel is free to move to whichever country is not an evil world empire. It amazes me when people like Mr. Kastel make comments lacking any substantial depth of thought. Try living in Iran or Rwanda and criticizing the government.

  26. Clinton says:

    Does Mr. Kmiec suggest that we shouldn’t be concerned about Mr. Obama’s vow to sign FOCA because – he never really meant it?
    Was he then merely playing NARAL for fools when he promised to sign it into law at the first opportunity? Mr. Obama is a Manchurian
    candidate from the pro-life camp, in Mr. Kmiec’s apologia? Please.

    Mr. Kmiec is concerned that the wrong people have the ear of the Vatican and could be poisoning the future relations between
    the Holy See and the new administration. The Holy See has two thousand years of experience in dealing with the hostile, the
    mendacious, and the manipulative. They can deal with an Obama, thank you.

    Perhaps what is giving Mr. Kmiec such a case of the vapors is seeing a possible ambassadorship slip away. My own guess is that the
    Obama camp was never serious about following through with what would be a controversial appointment. Now when Mr. Kmiec
    goes away empty-handed his overlords can point to Catholic bloggers and prelates with vertebrae and say “we tried… blame them!”.
    I have the feeling Mr. Kmiec is outliving his usefulness to the new administration — a few more outbursts like the story above and
    his masters will toss him aside like a used kleenex.

    The saddest part of the entire story is Mr. Kmiec’s description of the letter he received from a prelate, renouncing his friendship with
    Mr. Kmiec and pointing out that he was a brother serving an evil end. Unfortunately, those sad but loving words have yet to penetrate
    Mr. Kmiec’s heart. I pray that someday soon he will wake up and smell the sulphur.

  27. Thom says:

    Actually, the man’s right.

  28. Subvet says:

    Wonder if there was any cheese to go with all that whine?

  29. r7blue1pink says:

    I just wonder if he has ever made a trip to Medjugorie?

    Seems those who have; the ones that were considered in the so called “Right-wing” sphere (as Kmiec calls it) have suddenly shifted Way to the other end…

    Makes ya think…

  30. Giovanni says:

    Prof. Kmiec = Saruman

  31. RC says:

    Thanks for the observation about candid diplomacy, Lepanto. So who should get the job: Madeleine Albright?

    I wonder whose idea it was to write this essay: Commonweal’s or Kmiec’s. I can understand Kmiec wanting to publish a defense at some point, but he would have done better to wait a while until he could point to some Obama achievement. As it stands, he just seems to be burning his bridges instead of displaying charity-towards-all.

  32. Kazimer says:

    Pardon me while I get a tissue to give to Kmiec so he can dry his crocodile tears.

    He is slick with an attempt to slant the righteous truth against his actions into a hate-filled tactic toward him.

    Nice try Kmiec. However, your seditious words are trasparent.

  33. ioannes says:

    It seems that Mr. Kmiec misses the attention he received from the right-wing blogosphere since the election and now writes this article to get himself back in the public spotlight. Mr. Kmiec says that Obama and the Democrats will do more for the poor than the evil Republicans. Yet is there one article ever written by Mr. Kmiec urging the Republicans do anything to help the “poor?” Any record anywhere of him challenging the Republicans on their positions? Any defense of John McCain’s immigration policy proposal that was endorsed by the USCCB? Anything at all that he said or did that suggests he personally did anything “for the poor” while he was a Republican.

  34. WOW. This blogging stuff really works! :-)

  35. Son of Trypho says:

    @Thom

    How so? Please elaborate.

  36. Steve K. says:

    Giovanni, that’s an apt comparison. I read recently where he had co-filed an amicus brief supporting the repeal of the DC gun ban as unconstitutional, and within months denounced his forum stance and compatriots and came out for the ban. All in line with his change in politics, I suppose. He seems to have experienced a total conversion, sadly in the wrong direction. Pray for him.

  37. Plumb Bob says:

    I read one of those “right wing Catholic blogs” regularly. I’ve never seen anything there that was nearly so vitriolic or uncivil as Dr. Kmiec’s rant against them. As is invariably true of liberals, whether religious or political, they seem completely incapable of seeing themselves as others see them.

  38. Jeff M says:

    A simple Google search reveals that the conservative columnist who allegedly called Obama supporters “‘decadent,’ ‘tribal,’ ‘immoral,’ ‘certainly stupid,’ ‘mindless,’ and in need of basic ‘adult education,” was in fact George Weigel. He was referring not to Obama supporters in general, but to people who vote for a particular party simply because “that’s what their grandparents did.” I agree with Kmiec’s call for civility, and a good place to start would be for him to stop misrepresenting what other Catholics are saying.

  39. RBrown says:

    I read his endorsement of Obama, his obit on Fr Neuhaus, and now this, which smacks of Hillary Clinton’s rant about a Right Wing Conspiracy.

    Anyway, a few reflections.

    1. Mr Kmiec does not understand the moral distinction between casting a secret ballot for a candidate and publicly endorsing one.

    2. In the article endorsing Obama, he accuses McCain of never having supported a Human Life Amendment. Such a argument is disingenuous. It is highly unlikely that anything concrete will happen with a HLA. It wouldn’t get the 2/3 vote necessary in both Chambers of Congress. And if it did, there is no way that 3/4 of the States would approve it.

    3. Kmiec also minimizes the importance of overturning Roe. Although overturning it certainly would not prevent abortion in most States, nevertheless, until it happens no US citizen has the right to live in a community in which abortion is banned.

    4. I have had the pleasure to teach theology (or explain certain theological points) to lawyers and engineers. I came away with two distinct impressions: A) Lawyers and Engineers are often very bright people; and B) Their intellectual habits are not only of little use in understanding theology, they also often militating against it.

    In fact, Kmiec seems to have approached the problem of endorsing Obama by a very lawyerly technique. First, he finds a principle which he thinks applies (not necessarily essentially–accidentally seems good enough to him), then he fortifies it with disingenuous evidence, producing a rhetorical argument that would probably get a A in Law School or a Political Science course. On the other hand, it would get a D- in any decent moral theology class because it lacks coherence.

    5. Socrates was thought to be the wisest man in Greece. If that is indeed true, he thought, it is because he was someone who knew that he didn’t know.

    Unfortunately, Prof Kmiec does not know that he does not know.

  40. Rancher says:

    I think most of us who post here regularly qualify as those whom he criticizes. I, for one, will accept his compliment.

  41. JohnE says:

    I believe the hierarchy Kmiec is referring to is Archbishop Chaput: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/viewarticle.php?selectedarticle=2008.11.05.001.pdart

    “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14

  42. Tyler says:

    summary of the article:
    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

    oh no, some people don’t like you, grow up and move on

    I did manage to catch how he says since there is no interest in passing FOCA that it is okay to support Obama, as if the fact that the legislature(which by the way, is not Obama) doesn’t like FOCA, makes it okay to support Obama, who does support FOCA, since it won’t pass.

    He seems to think that beliefs don’t matter, only actions. In his eyes, its fine that Obama supports FOCA, as long as it doesn’t pass. That is a dangerous line to walk

  43. Mike Morrow says:

    RBrown wrote: “I have had the pleasure to teach theology (or explain certain theological points) to lawyers and engineers. I came away with two distinct impressions: A) Lawyers and Engineers are often very bright people; and B) Their intellectual habits are not only of little use in understanding theology, they also often militating against it.”

    I’ve had the pleasure of being an engineer for 35 years.
    A) I have found no correlation of religious fervor, or lack thereof, to a person’s status as an engineer.
    B) I know few engineers who would *not* be insulted by being categorized in a group with lawyers, who are generally considered to represent the lowest form of quasi-human intellect and the highest degree of unjustified arrogance.

    To return to the topic of Mr. Kmiec, I suspect that, just like that pathetic propagandist Chris Mathews, he gets that special “tingle down his leg” every time the Lamb of Obama speaks. Disgusting.

  44. Mark says:

    It’s amazing that Kmiec doesn’t refer to Archbishops Chaput or Burke by name. I find that very odd.

    I think he’s a coward.

    Commonweal often entertains the most cutting and dismissive blog posts and comments about members of the hierarchy, as well as Pope Benedict. I now see it fine to criticize anyone except Doug Kmiec. Oh, and we can assume Barack Obama as well.

  45. Sieber says:

    At Professor Kmiec’s now notorious lecture at St. John’s Seminary, he expressed his concern for right wing talk radio rabble and his distaste for the comments of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, by name, further commenting..”We don’t need that.”

    He also said that if the pope told him he was wrong he would, “tear out the first 174 pages of my book.” I see he has reduced that offer to the specific page or pages that the Pope personally tells him contain theological errors.

    After his lecture, on the way to the refectory, our small group approached Prof. Kmiec who was speaking to two men, one of whom was a reporter. A women came forward and introduced herself saying she was from Denver and wanted to inform Prof. Kmiec that Archbishop Chaput would no longer respond to him in public. He said that he understood and would, in the future communicate in private.

  46. ckdexterhaven says:

    Kmiec needs to prayerfully consider the letter that the prelate(s) sent to him. A bishop is a successor to THE apostles, and probably had something wise to say to Kmiec.

    I STILL have not gotten over the fact that so many of my fellow Catholics put Obama in office. Millions of unborn babies’ lives are at stake. I take this very seriously. Instead of feeling sorry for babies ripped out of their mothers wombs, Kmiec feels sorry for himself.

  47. taad says:

    He states that the right wing bloggers are supporters of the GOP. I think
    he should ask the former mayor of New York who tried to be president. The
    conservatives would have nothing to do with him and his pro-abortion stand.

  48. Well he definitely just shot himself from ever getting to be the ambassador to the Holy See.

    I suppose that will be our fault too.

    “Our” because I, too, am a Catholic blogger and have posts about Obama and his apparent heretical religious beliefs.

    I’m sorry but I think this Kmiec guy is a clown. Let’s just laugh him off the stage and be done with it. The man committed grave scandal (as far as I’m concerned) if he is a Catholic and publicly supported Barack Obama.

  49. little gal says:

    “RBrown wrote: “I have had the pleasure to teach theology (or explain certain theological points) to lawyers and engineers. I came away with two distinct impressions: A) Lawyers and Engineers are often very bright people; and B) Their intellectual habits are not only of little use in understanding theology, they also often militating against it.”

    ‘I’ve had the pleasure of being an engineer for 35 years.
    A) I have found no correlation of religious fervor, or lack thereof, to a person’s status as an engineer.
    B) I know few engineers who would not be insulted by being categorized in a group with lawyers, who are generally considered to represent the lowest form of quasi-human intellect and the highest degree of unjustified arrogance.’

    I read a survey done re: religious belief and academic discipline( within higher education faculties) and the soft sciences (political science, sociology and psychology)appeared to have fewest believers/persons who actively practiced a religious faith. My guess is that something else is contributing to obstacles in understanding theology & other religious concepts…

  50. TomG says:

    I agree with Mr. Morrow. During the time of my association with Opus Dei, I became acquainted with a number of engineers (EEs, MEs, etc.) and found them to be serious and pious men, and very teachable.

    I suspect, though, that little gal’s “guess” is pretty much on target.

  51. opey124 says:

    Professor Kmiec had a short exchange of letters on the Public Discourse sight with ArchBishop Chaput. This is how his excellency ended his letter:
    “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. (especially FOCA)”

    OK, Mr. Kmiec, prove the ArchBishop’s summation of what he sees as wrong and DO SOMETHING TO GET RID OF FOCA. Until I see that, you, in my opinion, are whinning.

  52. Ohio Annie says:

    Even if FOCA didn’t exist, the “punished with a baby” remark would be enough to give one pause.

  53. Patrick Thompson says:

    Having read the statement indicating that Republicans wish to keep abortion legal via a Supreme Court decision I feel the need to respond. Since Reagan Republicans have opposed Roe v. Wade, have called for a Constitutional Amendment to outlaw abortion in every national platform, have nominated only (at least technically) pro-life candidates, have supported the Mexico City policy, and have placed four votes that are likely anti-Roe on the Supreme Court as indicated by the partial birth abortion decision: Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia. Consequently, in my opinion, the difference between the Republicans and Democrats is enormous on the abortion issue. As far as Kmiec goes, its probably fair to say he considers abortion a distraction that’s preventing wholehearted Catholic support of the new administration. Kmiec’s solution is therefore the time honored one of attempting to shame the opposition into silence. Cowardly.

  54. Maureen says:

    Br. Consolmagno wrote a book about religion/non-religion among techies. Lazy me, I still haven’t bought it, so I can’t tell you what it says. (However, I strongly suspect that a bunch of the old Chicago fans are in it, and I’m acquainted with a lot of them….)

  55. jarhead462 says:

    I like how this guy talks about the large amount of nasty comments launched in his direction from all these “right-wingers”, and then only quotes comments from one person.

    Semper Fi!

  56. Allena says:

    Does anyone else see a real parallel between the “Catholic” politicians stance and the money changers in the temple?

    I mean aren’t they doing the same thing? Trying to manipulate Church law to use for their own nefarious gains?

    I suppose Jesus lacked Christian charity too? I guess he should have just opened a friendly and watered down dialog instead of throwing them out and trashing their tables?

    I was one of those “right wing propagandists” on my blog. I ripped Obama up one side and down the other as well. I love him as a soul/brother, I despise him as a person. I hate his stances on almost everything. We NEED to pray for his conversion!

    Do we not have an obligation to be angry at injustice? Do we not have the right to rant like others? Or is that sort of thing only ok for the gays in CA who assault people, send out white powders and vandalize church buildings?

    You can read my hateful tirades here if you like, and they are full of hate for the abortion industry and legislation such as that put forth by Sen Obama- Not for them personally, but for the injury and damage these politicians DO!

    http://thethreeringranch.com/allena/?p=376
    http://thethreeringranch.com/allena/?p=377
    http://thethreeringranch.com/allena/?p=378
    http://thethreeringranch.com/allena/?p=379

    We HAVE to talk about it, rant about it and be blunt about it. Father Z is one of those bloggers, and I applaud you and all those who spoke up! If EVERYONE did, well he might not have won. AND, we can’t stop now, keep blogging my brothers and sisters, and never stop. St Paul, pray for us to have the strength to suffer like you did in the name of the Lord…and his laws.

  57. Andy F. says:

    This seems to me like a kid whining about nothing. I have been pondering an open letter to Kmiec that will ask him the honest questions like: Why is it that President-Elect Obama has appointed nothing but pro-abortion politicians to his administration? I have no interest in debating FOCA because I am against it and Kmiec elected a man that will pass it as law. But the question in regard to making the “true” Catholic choice is the ground I would like to discuss.

  58. Maynardus says:

    Gee, Doug-the-wannabe sets up quite a choice:

    Commonweal/Kmiec/Obama versus Right-wing-Catholic-bloggers/Abps. Burke+Chaput/NObama

    Tough choice for a Catholic. Can I think about it for a while?

  59. tertullian says:

    I never realized Mr Kmiec enjoyed papal infallibility.

  60. Michael says:

    I got the impression from reading Kmiec’s long whine that he believes that peoples’ religious beliefs are formed by their political allegiances. For him, they apparently are but he goes further and imputes such base motives to others. My impression is that his conscience cannot accept that criticism of his positions and actions might be valid so he is attempting to invalidate the criticism by casting it as an insincere and due only to political agenda.

    As an engineer, I simply cannot believe and am deeply offended that someone above put engineers and lawyers in the same intellectual category. One deals with reality, the other with rhetoric.

  61. ssoldie says:

    ABORTION IS ‘MURDER’ THE MURDER OF THE MOST ‘INNOCENT’ OF HUMAN PERSONS. “thou shall not murder” no talk, no comprimise, no dialouge, no social justice spin crap. What are the ways of being an accomplce to MORTAL sin, Mr Kmiec, you are there.

  62. ckdexterhaven says:

    And another thing. While Mr. Kmiec opines loftily from his perch high above us all, we are out here in the trenches. I have stood up for life, and now so called Catholics don’t speak to me in my parish. My own priest told me he avoided speaking about the election because it would “tear this parish in two” (I suspect he’s a social justice type). My sister is angry at me because I think it’s cruel to kill a baby in the womb. So spare me the self indulgent whining, Mr. Kmiec. When we say we stand for life, we mean it.

  63. btb says:

    Hmmm, “‘malice toward none’ and … ‘charity for all’”; it seems to me as if the clause “who happen to be born, not considering suicide or being considered for euthanasia” is missing. At least Obama continues to be clear about his wallowing in evil having just appointed Thomas Perrelli, who won an award for representing Terri Schiavo’s former husband Michael, as the third highest attorney in the Justice Department; “Et tu, Brute” Kmiec, on the other hand, is a deceiver. I wonder where Dante would place him? In any case, methinks Kmiec shouldn’t protest too much for the right-wing blogosphere is clearly offering more prayers for his soul than any other group.

  64. peregrinator says:

    I did not think it was possible for my opinion of Prof. Kmiec to sink any further after the presidential campaign. Clearly, I was mistaken.

    How on earth does one respond to someone who does something awful, but wants to be treated as though he weren’t doing it because he says he is against awfulness in principle?

    At the risk of adding to the “hate” and “venom” in the blogosphere(seriously, which blogs was he reading?? I only saw his morally reprehensible and completely untenable position attacked) I have to say I now think of Prof. Kmiec in connection with a saying of a friend’s college philosophy professor.

    The friend’s professor’s comment was that only thing to do with people who accept the principle of non-contradiction (which Prof. Kmiec manifestly does not) was to take them out and beat them with a stick, while asking if they felt any pain…

  65. Veritas says:

    Michael writes:

    “As an engineer, I simply cannot believe and am deeply offended that someone above put engineers and lawyers in the same intellectual category. One deals with reality, the other with rhetoric.”

    As a lawyer, I implore you to exercise your superior intellect and validate this factual assertion.

    No deep offense taken.

  66. Michael says:

    Veritas,
    No offense intended and no claim of superior intellect made. Sorry. Are you one of the good lawyers? I have known two, maybe three, personally in my life.

  67. little gal says:

    “I read a survey done re: religious belief and academic discipline( within higher education faculties) and the soft sciences (political science, sociology and psychology)appeared to have fewest believers/persons who actively practiced a religious faith. My guess is that something else is contributing to obstacles in understanding theology & other religious concepts.”

    To continue with my comment, I don’t doubt that Mr. Brown is noticing patterns in his teaching, but I suspect issues with learning particular subjects can be influenced by things like neural pathways. I am not going down a rabbit hole here, but I have read that for example those of us who spend much time stu

  68. little gal says:

    Oophs…I hit the post button before I was done…to continue:

    I am not going down a rabbit hole here, but I have read that for example those of us who spend much time learning an instrument as a child, such as myself, develop a neural pathway. And since the brain will take the route most easily accessible in processing information, other material will also be processed along this same pathway as well. I am no neurologist, but perhaps there is a correlation with those who enter certain professions with neural pathways and this influences-positively or negatively- how they process information at a later stage of life.

  69. Veritas says:

    Michael:

    Thanks. To answer your question: I try. Hard. Every day.

    To make a substantive comment on this post:

    It remains to be seen what \’reward\’ Kmiec will receive for his support of Obama. He is not a fool. Nor do I think Obama played him for one. The understanding was explicit well ahead of any public declaration on the part of Professor Kmiec. I suspect a judicial appointment. We shall see.

  70. Melody says:

    little gal- Maybe the common thread across all of the disciplines
    that is providing an obstacle in understanding theology & other religious
    concepts is pride, or at least a certain lack of humility.

  71. Joe says:

    To my reading the only substantive thing he said was “there is no real legislative interest in FOCA.” Well, we’ll see.
    If the concept “useful idiot” implies that the “idiot” in question doesn’t realize he’s being used, then Dr Kmiec is probably not one. It seems he knew exactly what he was doing, namely distorting Catholic teaching on voting for feticidiphiles, and he certainly returns to it. Proverbs 26:11 comes to mind.

  72. Johnny Domer says:

    OK, Professor Kmiec: Which right-wing Catholic bloggers are you talking about who are being so utterly savage? I don’t think I recall the single most popular Catholic blogger, Fr. Z (whom Kmiec would definitely characterize as a right-winger) ever “torturing” you. I don’t know that Amy Welborn ever did. I doubt Jimmy Akin ever did. I bet the Curt Jester made fun of you (And good grief, if you can’t stand people poking fun at you, then don’t get involved in public policy.), but I doubt he was “slandering” you. I don’t recall the American Papist ever being uncharitable to anybody. Mark Shea wasn’t slandering you (heck, he didn’t even vote for McCain, so I don’t think he can be called a GOP frontman). Rorate Caeli never mentioned you, I don’t think. Fr. Finnigan probably said something about how you’re wrong, but are you going to call him a slanderer? Who ARE these mysterious right-wing Catholic bloggers just dying to rip you a new one?

    Let’s draw a line between bloggers and blog commenters. Mr. Kmiec: if what you are actually complaining about is the sort of people who have been commenting about you on blogs, then you seriously need to get a grip. Commenters on blogs are going to say mean, nasty things. It’s a form of communication where the person commenting doesn’t need a well-thought-out thesis, doesn’t need to spend a lot of time on what he says, and is accountable to nobody due to his anonymity. Obviously people are going to spout off, go off the handle, and say really mean stuff. I’m not saying it’s good or that they’re justified to do such things, but that’s the way it works. Liberal blog commenters have probably ripped Joe Lieberman in utterly merciless ways after this past election cycle, but you don’t hear us getting upset over it. If blog COMMENTERS are what you’re mad about, well…get over it! Don’t expect too much rational, enlightened, polite discourse about politics and religion from blog comments!

  73. Johnny Domer says:

    Oh, and by the way, you REALLY think that Catholic colleges and universities aren’t going to invite you to speak? Really? First of all, assuming it were true, go cry me a river. So you don’t get to have fancy dinner parties and get wined and dined anymore on the bill of Catholic schools, and then get to speak and be praised by everyone for what a smart fellow you are? I don’t feel all that terribly sorry for you.

    Secondly, are you mental? You’ve now made the A-list of speakers for every phony Catholic school in the country. Except for possibly CUA and definitely Ave Maria, Christendom, TAC, etc., your schedule’s gonna be booked, pal! Don’t you realize that every Jesuit school in the country would now love to have you speak? I won’t be surprised if sometime this semester I’m walking to a class here at Notre Dame and I read on some flier “Professor Douglas Kmiec will be speaking on the impact of Catholic voters on the 2008 elections.” If anything, you’ve significantly increased your chances of getting invited.

  74. jarhead462 says:

    little gal:
    Interesting theory, but let me remind you of another one which I happen to believe:
    Liberalism is a mental disorder ;)

    Semper Fi!

  75. peregrinator says:

    I am a lousy proofreader. Just can’t let the error in my previous comment stand. The last sentence should read:

    The friend’s professor’s comment was that only thing to do with people who *don’t* accept the principle of non-contradiction (which Prof. Kmiec manifestly does not) was to take them out and beat them with a stick, while asking if they felt any pain…

  76. Tom says:

    “Today I endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States. I believe him to be a person of integrity, intelligence, and genuine good will. I take him at his word that he wants to move the nation beyond its religious and racial divides and that he wants to return the United States to that company of nations committed to human rights.” – Douglas Kmiec, March 23, 2008

    (CNSNews.com, January 13, 2009) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Monday over its partnership with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to fight human trafficking–a modern-day form of slavery–because the bishops’ conference does not use the money to provide emergency contraception and abortion.

    “Fascinating.” – Mr. Spock 1967

  77. BobP says:

    >Republican Presidents by Executive Order cut off federal funding for abortion.<

    Really? Guess which party brought us unoverturnable Roe vs Wade.

    Hint: it wasn’t JFK’s party.

  78. Joseph says:

    What Kmiec describes emanating from these blog authors seems very similar to his own words.

  79. pjthom says:

    Well for an “unoverturnable” decision it seems to be hanging by a thread. 4 votes for, 4 against, one in the middle. Given this state of affairs I’m sure we can all agree that the time has come to take our place in the public square and encourage the party of JFK to get rid of this thing since its the votes in favor of Roe that are likely to retire. Our success, or lack thereof when the next appointment comes should be clarifying.

  80. RBrown says:

    Re Engineers, Lawyers, and Theology:

    That someone tends juxtaposes theological skill with religious fervor merely proves my point. There have been poor theologians with religious fervor and good theologians without it.

    It is doubtful that there was any theologian in the past 60 years with more fervor than Karl Rahner.

    Does anyone think that Paul VI wasn’t full of religious fervor? Did he leave a mess, or what?

    Although I grouped them together, my experience has been that Lawyers and Engineers have different tendencies: The former are not systematic enough, and the latter too reliant on system.

    I have high respect for competence in both. The fact that some consider lawyers to be snakes manifests, I think, a lack of appreciation of the nature of legal work.

    Generally, lawyers do two things: They determine 1) in what way a law is binding and 2) whether that law applies to a particular situation (which includes all evidentiary matters). Very often the foundation for both is reference to previous case law, which is an argument from authority. Very often, legal arguments are often constructed using Rhetoric, which consists of (acc to, I think, John of St Thomas) one premise and the conclusion. Because it is not a complete syllogism the relationship of the premise to the conclusion is usually accidental rather than substantial.

    This is the approach taken by Kmiec. It was interesting in his endorsement that he mentions Bush43, as if he were running for re-election. Later, he uses a proportionalist argument, which is fine rhetoric but poor theology.

    Engineers have in common with lawyers the use of the argument from authority. Unlike lawyers (especially defense lawyers), engineers almost always grant the veracity of the authority. Also unlike lawyers their approach is almost always systematic.

    BTW, I spent seven years in computers as a software engineer, ending as a consultant for what was then one of the three major software consulting companies in the world. And unlike the other two, we produced our own software.

  81. RBrown says:

    should be “that someone would juxtapose”

  82. RBrown says:

    Really? Guess which party brought us unoverturnable Roe vs Wade.
    Hint: it wasn’t JFK’s party.
    Comment by BobP

    No Justice of the SCOTUS appointed by a Dem President since Roe v Wads has voted to overturn it.

    BTW, what is it with the Dems and the Kennedys?

  83. PG says:

    Cut is the branch that might have grown full straight,
    And burned is Apollo’s laurel bough,
    That sometime grew within this learned man

  84. Brian Kopp says:

    Related story:
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=14782

    Democratic Catholic leader arrested on prostitution-related charges

    …McFadden who has been a supporter of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama described his Catholic outreach in 2007 on the Buckeye State Blog as giving “a voice to Catholics so they can stand up and say, ‘I am a Catholic Democrat, and I’m proud and these are the principles that I believe in.’”

    …In 2008 McFadden also conducted an interview with Pepperdine University professor Doug Kmiec regarding his support for the pro-choice president-elect Barack Obama.

  85. little gal says:

    “BTW, I spent seven years in computers as a software engineer, ending as a consultant for what was then one of the three major software consulting companies in the world.”

    And what can be said about software engineers (and their ability to do theology)?

    “the best software engineers are:

    Pessimistic – asking What could possibly go wrong?
    Angered by sloppy code
    Long term life planners – Retirement savings, own a home etc
    Attention to detail

    http://www.softwarebyrob.com/2006/08/20/personality-traits-of-the-best-software-developers/

  86. Mike says:

    Kmiec clearly seems to be a legend in his own lunchtime. He needs prayer, though having said that, comments that some people write on the web can be very nasty and uncharitable – not a great example of Christian charity, and using words they would never say to the person’s face. You cane be rude in making a point, or you can make good, rational arguments instead. It’s much easier to be rude.