“But… for Wales?”

This is fascinating.  NCFishwrap is urging support of one of their darlings, the Hon. Doug Kmiec, Attorney General for Wales…. er um… Ambassador to Malta.  You will remember that Amb. Kmiec argued that Catholics could vote for pro-abortion candidates.  Amb. Kmiec now receives his paycheck from Pres. Obama and Sec. Hillary Clinton.

Therefore the support from Fishwrap, which supports the merger of big government and big abortion.

Has Douglas Kmiec been muzzled?
by Joe Ferullo on Apr. 13, 2011

He was one of President Obama’s earliest supporters among the Catholic intellectual community [catholic] — but Douglas Kmiec now finds himself in a battle with Obama’s State Department. [awwww]

According to columnist Tim Rutten in The Los Angeles Times, Kmiec has been muzzled in his role as Ambassador to Malta. He’s done an impressive job by all accounts, [From all accounts?  Like this one?] strengthening ties with a strategically important and conservatively Cathoic [sic] country.

But the problem is, apparently, Kmiec’s faith — or at least his desire to “go public” about his faith.

Kmiec, a former dean of the Catholic University of America law school, argues that one key reason he was brought into the administration by Obama was so that he could continue his work promoting interfaith initiatives. But the diplomatic bureaucracy has its rules, yes it does — and has demanded Kmiec stop all “outside writings.”

According to Rutten, the State Department even heavily edited a memorial piece he wrote upon his father’s death for the Jesuit magazine America. [What a surprise!]

Obama worked long and hard during the 2008 campaign to show himself a friend of the faithful — and break the Democratic image of a party hostile to believers. [NB] Kmiec’s support was an important part of that push.

Obama now needs to step in, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and support the man who has supported them. And there is a larger question at play here, too: does becoming a diplomat mean turning in your rights to free speech and religion?

Qui cum canibus concumbit, surgit cum pulicibus.

It has the markings of a tragedy, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry, Amb. Kmiec.   This isn’t Spain, this is… the Obama Administration!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Emanations from Penumbras, Linking Back, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. maskaggs says:

    “Don’t worry, Amb. Kmiec. This isn’t Spain, this is… the Obama Administration!”

    I imagine a new Monty Python skit: “Noooooooooooooooo one expects the Obama Administration!”

  2. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    For those Latin-challenged: “Qui cum canibus concumbit, surgit cum pulicibus.” means “Those who sleep with dogs, get up with fleas.”
    Qui = whom, cum = with, canibus = dog (Canis), but I am unsure in my self-studies at this point what the case is.
    concumbit = likely lay down. Dormit means is sleeping/sleeps but from the word concubine, I was able to detect the meaning.
    surgit = gets up or wakes up. pulicibus = fleas (I had to look this one up).

    Not bad for someone working on Chapter 4 of book 1 of Cambridge Latin Course.

  3. MJ says:

    Loved the Man For All Seasons reference! :)

  4. Peggy R says:

    I suppose “Catholic” Fishwrap is defending Kmiec’s religious freedom since he espouses their brand of “Catholicism.”

    I think the “But…for Wales” file is getting full. Boehner should have made it hurt for Obama to get his PP funding, ie, agreed to $100B in cuts. If you’re going to use babies’ lives as a bargaining chip, make it worthwhile.

  5. De Tribulis says:

    @Young Canadian RC Male: Well done indeed! If I may…

    Literally it’s “he who lies down with…” (singular), not “those who…”, and canibus is ablative plural.

    This may be an appropriate point to post a link to the online version of the Latin dictionary Fr. Z. frequently extols in his posts: Lewis & Short. The entire thing is available in searchable form here:

  6. Clinton says:

    Surely the Hon. Mr. Kmiec is not surprised at his situation. There have been too many instances
    of the no-longer-useful being tossed under the bus by this administration already. Had one of
    his masters whispered in his ear that it would be different for him, that he was ‘special’?

  7. S. Murphy says:

    Why are people (eg. NCR) surpised that professions such as the military and the diplomatic corps involve restraints on what you can and can’t publish? The rules are there to discourage public statements that would distract from or undermine mission accomplishment. It’s that simple.

  8. Random Friar says:

    Ambassadors do surrender some of the Free Speech rights, as do many gov’t workers, because they are in a capacity that represents the gov’t of the United States. It is too easy to confuse personal/national interests.

    Ambassador Kmiec, has, by all accounts, been a lackluster diplomat, spending more time with his writings, esp. about faith, than with building up relationships with the people of Malta. That is why the administration is coming down on him. Any administration would likely do the same to any other diplomat. Ambassador Kmiec will be able to write all he wants, about whatever he wants, when he returns to life as a citizen Kmiec.

    Ambassadorship is not merely a political reward. It is a heavy responsibility. Give the President and the Secretary of State credit on this, NCR. You are advocating cronyism.

  9. Ed the Roman says:

    As Ambassador to Malta, he is considered to speak for the United States so thoroughly that when the Star Spangled Banner is played in Malta, he doesn’t stand up; it’s an honor rendered to the United States through his person.

    So he can very reasonably be expected to shut his mouth as direted.

  10. RichR says:

    For those who haven’t seen A Man For All Seasons (one of my personal fav’s), here is the referenced scene of St. Thomas More’s trial:


  11. Maltese says:

    Speaking of Monty Python skits, maybe Kmiec should have just “haggled” more for his America magazine article!


  12. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    De Tribulis: Thanks for the L&S dictionary link! Adding it to my favourites now! With a little more time at Cambridge and this link, perhaps I can start cracking these collects open!

  13. benedetta says:

    Has anyone heard whether the so-called Catholic and faith based outreach of the Democratic Party will be reopened for business in 2012? I had read that it was shuttered during this last cycle.

  14. ray from mn says:

    Malta was not much of a prize for having sold his soul. But one supposes that the pagans in the Foreign Service wouldn’t know that Malta is 98% Catholic with most of them attending Mass weekly.
    So it just might be an advantage for the U.S. to have an ambassador there who professes his faith now and then.

  15. Marc says:

    “He was one of President Obama’s earliest supporters among the Catholic intellectual community”… “intellectual?” Really?

  16. Kerry says:

    “Obama worked long and hard during the 2008 campaign…” I believe he has “I will not rest”-ed since then, either. Have the oceans begun to recede yet? Is the ‘O’, the ” canibus” or the “pulicibus”?

  17. Kerry says:

    Oh, does “Catholic intellectual” translate as “I don’t believe a word of it”?

  18. Titus says:

    Has anyone heard whether the so-called Catholic and faith based outreach of the Democratic Party will be reopened for business in 2012? I had read that it was shuttered during this last cycle.

    Well, at least one of Obama’s shills has moved up in the world since the last go round, so who knows who will have the time. But I doubt the Jesuits will keep a shorter tether than ND law did.

    Oh, does “Catholic intellectual” translate as “I don’t believe a word of it”?

    The whole affair with Kmiec has been so very strange: for so long he was a dependable voice for believing in it, and a respected voice in Catholic legal thought because of it. It’s really quite the tragedy the way he’s gone off the rails.

  19. TNCath says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “Qui cum canibus concumbit, surgit cum pulicibus.”

    Indeed! However, don’t be surprised if Ambassador Kmiec becomes a regular contributor to the National Catholic Reporter after President Obama is defeated for a second term. I also predict that will be about the time that John Allen takes a more lucrative (and respectable) position for another news agency.

  20. Maltese says:

    “Malta is 98% Catholic with most of them attending Mass weekly.”

    I know, and the last country (next to Ireland, but they easily abort in the U.K.) in the E.U. to outlaw abortion. I just find it very sad that there is not one, regular, Traditional Latin Mass on this Island where St. Paul was shipwrecked.

  21. “Amb. Kmiec now receives his paycheck from Pres. Obama and Sec. Hillary Clinton” Well, sort of…but so does every diplomat, and staff member of the State Department.

    He represents the United States of America, not just he Obama administration. I am not knocking the subtance of the rest of the article (although there might be a few quibbles), but do have a problem with that line.

  22. Denis says:

    The Obama regime aren’t very subtle, are they? They’re basically laughing at all the Catholic useful idiots who campaigned and voted for him. But useful idiots are called that for a reason. As we speak, Notre Dame is, no doubt, preparing an even bigger, shinier honorary degree for the abortionist-in-chief. Maybe next time, they’ll offer him a PhD in astrophysics, because he’s as shiny, bright, and awesome as the stars. This time they’ll arrest all the pro-lifers on campus before the ceremonies begin, just to be on the safe side.

  23. BLB Oregon says:

    Is there anyone born in our country who understands that some positions require one to keep a lid on personal opinions?

    American ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States. They are the voices of the President, and their accomplishments are the President’s accomplishments. In public, they may only advance the initiatives, interfaith or not, of the President. The job of the Ambassador of Malta is not to communicate his private thoughts to the Catholics of Malta, or the world, but to communicate the position of the President to other foreign governments.

    My understanding, however, is that diplomats still make their personal views known to each other the old-fashioned way: by veiled comments made in a low voices to select persons, at very private dinner parties and receptions. In public, the Ambassador has to be the President’s man. In private, he can let it be known what sort of matters have his private support, what sorts of matters he will put heroic effort into, even if the efforts must be behind the scenes, and what sorts of matters that might languish in the “in” box, absent pressure from Washington to move.

    Mr. Kmiec is a very smart man. Provided it does not involve speaking out of both sides of his mouth concerning promises he has made to the President himself, he could do that. If the President’s demands are such that he can’t do his job without violating the trust of the President or the demands of ethics, though, he needs to leave the position. Then he can talk all he likes.

  24. BLB Oregon says:

    Random Friar, I’d quibble with your assessment. Cronyism refers to promoting friends to jobs for which they aren’t qualified. It does not mean that one cannot ethically appoint people to jobs that the appointees might have a personal interest in holding, provided one is not selling the country down the river in the process.

    Still, the Ambassador (and NCR) may need to realize where he may exercise personal discretion within the boundaries of the position and where he may not. The game has its rules, and it is fair for the President to expect his ambassadors to stick to them.

  25. Denis says:

    BLB Oregon,

    They didn’t seem to mind when Kmiec prattled on about his faith during the campaign. Nor did they object when Pelosi said she had a duty to pursue policies in keeping with her Catholic faith and “the values of Jesus, The Word Made Flesh,” as she put it. Nor do they think it a problem for Obama to campaign in Christian places of worship and talk about his faith. No, this is about putting the Catholic useful idiots in their place. Even some of them have started to grumble about just how fanatical Obama is about abortion–he was willing to cause a government shutdown in order to continue funding PP, for Pete’s sake–and the abortionist-in-chief is now cracking the whip. “Want to keep your 30 pieces of sliver? Then shut up and mind your business!”

  26. BLB Oregon says:

    –They didn’t seem to mind when Kmiec prattled on about his faith during the campaign.–

    What is done during an election and what is done by elected officials are slightly different fish than what Presidents allow sitting ambassadors to do. In the world of diplomancy, it does not reflect well on a world leader of any political stripe when his diplomatic corps are running around like loose cannons or making themselves out to be of a different denomination than the Church of the President is Wise, Correct and Praiseworthy Among Humankind of Power. In public, an ambassador has to feign total agreement with his government. Even damning by faint praise does not go unnoticed in those circles.

    Is it possible that many Christians who differ in important ways with the President might be granted positions of honor that will put a gag on them? It would be rash judgement to give that an unequivocal “yes”, but it is certainly possible. My understanding is that making someone to an ambassador in order to take him out of the political arena by chaining him up with protocol is an old page out of the political playbook. Sometimes, the people take this on with knowledge that they’re their trading immediate voice for a few years of honorable resume without too much of a record to assail.

    The thing is, though, there is one way in which an ambassador can make a very strong political statement. When his government insists that he do something contrary to his beliefs, including given even tacit approval to bad or immoral policies, he can resign. That is a loud statement, indeed. That is about all he has, though.

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