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Douglas Kmiec’s Contribution to the Insanity of the Fashionable

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 31, 2012

Do you see an internal contradiction between the following two paragraphs, both drawn from the Catholic ex-Ambassador Douglas Kmiec’s explanation of why he will definitely vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming American presidential election?

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Paragraph 1:

...when you see someone who's devoted completely to people who have less than himself, who worries about our tax system and society and economic opportunities, how can you not be for those ideas and the person standing behind those ideas? So it's a no-brainer for me …

Paragraph 2:

There is a tradition we trace back to Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, of the seamless garment — all life issues are interrelated: abortion, capital punishment, war, a family wage, the environment. You can't take these things apart. More and more Catholics understand that, but some very important Catholics are resistant.

The internal contradiction is this. Kmiec means to imply that pro-life Catholics are the ones who are “resistant” to the inseparability of the questions he enumerates. But in fact, it is Barack Obama himself who, more than any other significant politician in American history, has refused to recognize the inseparability of the life, marriage and family issues from the overall well-being of society, including economic well-being.

That Kmiec could put these two paragraphs side by side without being aware of the contradiction shows how difficult it is for those governed by fashionable ideas to see reality whole. Thus Kmiec can say that “Obama promotes social justice as if he were a Catholic”—which is even more evidence that the fashionable spend much of their time making self-contradictory statements without reference to reality at all.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: WNS3234 - Jul. 28, 2018 11:33 AM ET USA

    The deposition of bishops has taken place in past ages, and for similar reasons. After having thrown many priests (and some deacons) to the wolves, and declaring their general exemption from The Dallas Charter via Universal Code of Canon Law, the baptized faithful should be furious. M. Luther's revolution was composed of different material; its effect remains evident. The casual "Who me/us?" pose of bishops needs to be denounced, the vigorous pressure maintained, and a Papal inquest begun - now.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Jul. 28, 2018 8:30 AM ET USA

    I suggest that all future seminarians be required to pass a basic course in data analysis. Such analysis was fundamental to the courses I used to teach in earth and atmospheric science. Anyone who conscientiously assessed the data presented in the John Jay report would be forced to conclude that the majority of abusive acts by clergy have been homosexual in nature and thereby not only criminal but psychologically disordered. To direct attention away from this result is irresponsible.

  • Posted by: Howser - Jul. 28, 2018 6:18 AM ET USA

    Mr. Lawler. You addressed two unresolved issues in your book, the Faithful Departed, that came out of the Boston sex abuse crisis. One the American bishops gave themselves a pass and the homosexual problem in the Church remains unresolved. Maybe now the faithful will start holding their bishops responsible for the corruption in the hierarchy. The time has come for active homosexuality within the Church and those prelates who permit it to be purged. It must be done and responsibly. Thank you

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jul. 28, 2018 1:13 AM ET USA

    It's a watershed moment. Good man can not do nothing. Coordinated and persistent work is needed. All in prayerful service to the Lord and charity for neighbor.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jul. 27, 2018 10:08 PM ET USA

    I fear that as many as half of our bishops need to be removed and sent to monasteries for a long period of penance and prayer. The very unrigorous seminary admissions guidelines in place during the 1970s and maybe later have given us a general population of mediocre clerics--and worse.

  • Posted by: feedback - Jul. 27, 2018 7:05 PM ET USA

    The widespread corruption among the clergy cannot become a "new normal" or a "paradigm shift." It has to be resolved, and soon. And the clean up has to start from the top where the filth does the most damage to the entire Church: with mass resignations of all bishops and cardinals involved in any promoting, covering up, or abuse of homosexual nature. A parallel step needs to be the removal of all homosexual seminarians from Catholic seminaries worldwide. Nothing will change until that happens.

  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Jul. 27, 2018 6:21 PM ET USA

    How prophetic it seems when St. Athanasius declared, “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops." But without inspired leadership there may be many lay people sweeping that road instead of treading the narrow path to Glory. Pray fervently for holy leaders of the Church.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Jul. 27, 2018 6:18 PM ET USA

    I sent something to O'Malley a few years ago and got an almost huffy letter rom a staffer saying (this is a paraphrase) "why send us this? This is not pertinent to the Archdiocese of Boston." I concluded the staffer was also unsympathetic to what I sent, which MIGHT imply that he was a liberal. A liberal would also be more likely to consider sexual activities between unmarried adults to be un-noteworthy. It is O'Malley's fault if he used used overly progressive staffers to filter things for him.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 02, 2012 8:41 AM ET USA

    If only Social Justice types had such unswerving faith in the salvific mission of the Body of Christ as they have in centralized govt to solve problems from the top, down! Sixty years of stats provide irrefutable evidence that interventionist govt destroys institutions like the family, church, neighborhood, village, county, state, etc. Result: centralized govt grows, dependency grows, and technocrat elite (R&D) designs an "efficient" society. "Progress" = destroyed families, churches, etc.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 02, 2012 8:19 AM ET USA

    Agree with jackist7902, but candidates are less important than authentically Catholic institutions which offer a legitimate alternative to govt or commercial ones. Resist Obamacare, of course, but where's the Catholic alternative? Where are the Catholic (non-govt) mutual aid societies, insurance and investment companies, homeless shelters and food kitchens? Let's offer an alternative!

  • Posted by: jackist7902 - Oct. 31, 2012 2:23 PM ET USA

    Both major-party tickets are so terrible that attempts to justify voting for either Romney or Obama are riddled with contradictions. When are we as Catholics going to seriously challenge the status quo and advance good candidates rather than attempting to prop up the lesser of two evils?