Contracepting Religious Freedom

Thank God the bishops are using their clout against the attempt of the Obama administration to force Catholic institutions to pay for contraception. Although I do not agree with Paul Moses entirely, I believe he has a point in suggesting that the effort could backfire.  But that is a risk we have to take.

Unfortunately, politics today is largely part of our sound bite culture.  So many people are more interested in the outcome of the Twitter war than they are about having an in-depth and clear understanding of the problem at hand.  Political persuasion is to a great extent about perception. Winning a debate  seems more important than dealing with the fundamental issues. Clarifying first principles often clouds the particular agenda and appeals more to the intellect than it does to the emotions. Emotional arguments work better.

Partisanship is also an issue.  I am all for distinctions and hard ones when they reflect reality, but Republican vs. Democrat generally does not reflect the complex reality of peoples real interests and positions.  Certainly, neither political party represents the fundamental interests of the Catholic Church.

Yet the current problem does reflect a reality that could be conveyed easily on Twitter.  It is President Obama against the Church.  The interests of the bishops relative to this issue are not political.  They are not even confessional.  It is the age old problem of the Church maintaining its liberty from incursions into relgious matters by civil authorities.  And the issue even simpler than the current debate frames it.  The real question is not whether religious institutions should be exempted from paying for something considered immoral by their confession.  The real question is why anyone at all is being forced by the government to act contrary to fundamental religious convictions rooted in natural law and in legal history of our country.

During the last presidential campaign Doug Kmiec successfully convinced many Catholics that Barack Obama was the most pro-life candidate in the race.  Many of us were astounded.  Recently, Kmiec wrote to the president in respect to the present debacle.  He said:

In deciding against a reasonable accommodation of Catholic concerns in the implementation of the health care program, you lost sight of your own beliefs.  For this reason, your words this morning touched neither soul nor heart in the room. . . .

Today, Sir, I ask you no longer as an Ambassador, but simply as a friend, why put the cold calculus of politics above faith and freedom?  Please respond, for friendship will not permit me to disregard duty to faith and country.  The Barack Obama I knew would never have asked me to make that choice.

I still think Kmiec is very naive–at best.

Politicians, journalists, pundits and bloggers will now “soundbite” and “twitter” us with irrelevancies about women dying from a lack of birth control because Catholics don’t want to pay for it and about how the bishop’s are too conservative and partisan.  Unfortunately, many will buy it, which is very ironic, since the official voter’s guide of the USCCB is hardly a conservative or partisan representation.

Another irony is Paul Moses’ suggestion that the bishops employ the methods of Saul Alinsky.  This, he says, could build consensus.  Moses counsels the bishops to garner enthusiastic support by community organizing.  Grassroots support, of course, if helpful.  However, the quintessentially alinskian element here is the way in which grassroots support is generated by the ulterior motives of radicals in order to implement a preconceived and elitist agenda.  Moses rightly points out that Obama knows all about this.  But this is not the mission of the bishops. The Church is a voluntary society.  No one has to belong to it, but those who do have an inalienable right to follow its precepts without the interference of the state.   This is not about political maneuvering.  It is about keeping the claws of the government out of religious matters.

Politics is tricky.  We cannot do without consensus because politics is a matter of persuasion.  However, I can hardly think of a situation that is more simple than the present one.  The Church must not sacrifice her independence and the general principle of religious liberty for the sake of some vague measure of political coexistence and popular support. There is hardly any way to prevent those who support Obama’s agenda from casting the bishops’ position as a partisan one.  Caesar must not be conceded an inch of God’s territory even if there are political costs.

Obable

Father Ignatius brought to my attention a Catholic World Report editorial by Geore Neumayr in which he points out the danger into which the Catholic servants of Obama have placed the whole concept of the common good.  They poohpooh the relavance of abortion as a single issue that ought to determine the Catholic vote, saying that the common good demands that we subordinate single issues the larger interests of the Catholic Church. But as we know Doug Kmiec went so far as to claim that Obama (Mr. Planned Parenthood 2008) was the real pro-life candidate in the presidential election.

In his article Neumayr is commenting on  a headline in the Washington post “Catholics Go for Obama”, an article by Jesuit Father Thomas Reese:

Will the abortion debate rise up again in four years at the next presidential election? A lot depends on President Obama and the Democratic Congress. If they push through the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), then they will have betrayed their pro-life Catholic supporters. This will make it nearly impossible for these people to support them again. On the other hand, if they make a priority the enactment of an abortion reduction bill, then it will be more difficult for the bishops and the Republicans to portray the Democrats as the pro-abortion party.

If Obama pushes throught the Freedom of choice act?  Isn’t that what he promised to do as his first act as president?

Is it any surprise that Kmiec and his crowd are bracing for the inevitable?  They will feel betrayed.  Paleeese.

Archbishop Chaput on the Kmiec Crowd

An illustration of the way in which the Church has been emasculated over the last half century is the fact that there is still no resounding mandate from the leaders of the Church here in the United States to make sure that Catholics know their obligation in regard to the support of the culture of life.  We are a mealy-mouthed bunch of girly boys.

There was a time when the bishops even had the Hollywood hooligans quaking in their boots.  By wielding its “threat of condemnation” the American bishops’ Legion of Decency “effectively censored films.”  Film producers would send the reviewers of the Legion copies of films before release and then make adjustments afterward in order to avoid a bad rating.

Not only did Hollywood quake, but Catholics were eager to follow their shepherds.  Here is the Legion’s oath which many Catholics devotedly took:

I wish to join the Legion of Decency, which condemns vile and unwholesome moving pictures. I unite with all who protest against them as a grave menace to youth, to home life, to country and to religion. I condemn absolutely those salacious motion pictures which, with other degrading agencies, are corrupting public morals and promoting a sex mania in our land. … Considering these evils, I hereby promise to remain away from all motion pictures except those which do not offend decency and Christian morality.

Can you imagine?  Now what is the state of Hollywood?  Remember the Golden Compass and Catholic reviewers behaved as thought their faith really had nothing to do with their role as “Catholic” reviewers?

Anyway, Archbishop Chaput has taken Douglass Kmiec and the other devotees of the anti-Messiah to task for their delusional support of the Candidate of Abortion.  Think about it.  Once upon a time, bishops were not afraid of telling catholic they shouldn’t watch girly movies.  Now we tip-toe ever so softly when we suggest that Catholics should not support baby killing.

“To suggest—as some Catholics do—that Senator Obama is this year’s ‘real’ pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse,” Chaput said according to his prepared remarks, titled “Little Murders.”

The Obama campaign has been promoting an unusual-suspect sort of endorsement from Douglas Kmiec, a Catholic law professor and former legal counsel in the Reagan administration.

Kmiec wrote a book making a Catholic case for Obama. He argues the Obama campaign is premised on Catholic social teaching like care for working families and the poor and foreign policy premised on peace over war. Democratic efforts to tackle social and economic factors that contribute to abortion hold more promise, Kmiec said, than Republican efforts to criminalize it.

While applauding Kmiec’s past record, Chaput said: “I think his activism for Senator Barack Obama, and the work of Democratic-friendly groups like Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, have done a disservice to the church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.”

Pro-Obama Catholics “seek to contextualize, demote and then counterbalance the evil of abortion with other important but less foundational social issues,” said Chaput, who wrote a book this year, “Render Unto Caesar,” about Catholics and politics.

Why has it not been made more plain.  Voting for Obama is a mortal sin. Plain and simple.

The Archbishop Has Not Wasted Any Time

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the new prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and thereby the pope’s canon lawyer, has not wasted any time in authorizing any minister of communion to deny the Eucharist to phony Catholic politicians.  I should clarify that the good bishop has not done this in any official capacity but in the context of a interview with the Italian magazine, Radici Christiane.  In any case it is very significant that Archbishop Burke, in his new and very powerful capacity, has been willing to commit himself once again to this position in the public forum at all.  This clearly means that he is willing to back this up with his authority if necessary.

Woohoo!  Finally!

I wonder what Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and Doug Kmiec are thinking now.

Might I not suggest a special ceremony to celebrate.  Something like the following:

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Courious Kmiec

Here is very interesting article on Doug Kmiec of flip-flop from Romney to Obama fame.  Kmiec, a “pro-life” professor of constitutional law and long time Republican, has endorsed Obama because the Democratic senator has promised to reduce the number of abortions.  The article points out that Obama has inconsistently (surprise) promised to repeal the Hyde Amendment which prohibits governmental funding of abortion.

I asked Kmiec, in light of Obama’s commitment to taxpayer funding of abortion, if he would consider renouncing his endorsement if the senator didn’t change his position. “I haven’t seen the social science literature that you’re obviously much more privy to and obviously sending me,” he said. But assuming that public funding would significantly increase the abortion rate, Kmiec added, “I would be at a loss to say anything other than I can’t support the senator at that point.”

Kmiec pointed to a piece he had written for Slate, in which he declared his endorsement of Obama “will be renounced more loudly than it was given,” if Obama failed to “work to reduce the incidence of the practice [of abortion]“.

I emailed Kmiec reports on a number of studies showing that Medicaid funding of abortion causes a higher abortion rate. But when he got back to me in mid-June, he said Obama’s position on abortion funding was not a dealbreaker. Kmiec explained that one “must take full account of the church’s social teaching” on other issues like poverty, war, and the environment. When I asked him about his statement that he would likely renounce his endorsement if Obama didn’t reconsider abortion funding, he replied: “If I said it quite that categorically, that’s not quite where I’m at.”

Well, well.  No surprise really.  More of the same.  More mealy mouthed Catholicism.  We need leaders, knights, crusaders martyrs, not politicians and lawyers.  I understand political expediency, but this is beyond the pale.  Pray for saints and martyrs among our leaders and pastors.  Pray, pray, pray.

The courious thing is how someone like Kmiec got to the point of selling the farm.

Clear Hot Air on Catholics and Abortion

Some clear thinking from Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.

I am following up on earlier posts.

Many Catholics maneuver around this by simply ignoring it, and they’re free to do so.  Membership in the Church is voluntary, after all, and people can leave the Catholic Church if they disagree with its catechism (and strictly speaking, they should do so under those circumstances).   However, it’s either a gross misrepresentation or self-delusion to argue that abortion is simply one issue among many for observant Catholics and that economic policy or foreign affairs can outweigh it.

His earlier post is on the mark as well.

It remains to be seen how far Catholics like Doug Kmiec will push the envelope, and how long it will be before canon 915 is actually enforced.

From mealy-mouthed “Catholic” politicians and political advisors, deliver us, O Lord.

More Pushing

Yes, more pushing the envelope.

Obama is taking his general campaign to the “least likely’s,” Evangelicals and Catholics. Of course, the Messiah can do anything, no matter how preposterous, and get away with.

Doug Kmiec is not just an Obama supporter, he is now an adviser. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Kmiec disengenuously quoted Deacon Keith Fournier’s Catholics, Voting and the Common Good. While the deacon still wants to defend Kmiec as a good Catholic, he does strongly disagree with him:

While I agree that the civil discourse should be elevated, executing the canons on withholding communion is not vicious and uncharitable. Quiet the contrary. Kmiec is not a merely a defender of the right to vote one’s conscience. He is a flagrant campaigner for Mr. Planned Parenthood himself.

Pushing the Envelope of Dissent

Now that the general election season is underway, the purveyors of ethical compromise are already hard at work. Doug Kmiec Professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University has begun a major offensive to malform the consciences of Catholics in America into thinking that it is morally acceptable to vote for Barack Obama. What is more disconcerting is that Catholic Online is giving him free reign to do so.

Mr. Kmiec was recently denied communion for his roof-top endorsement of Obama. Unfortunatley, it seems that the priest who did so may not have followed canonical procedure. Follow the comments from the last link for an interesting discussion on whether the likes of Kmiec should be denied. Archbishop Burke’s paper is the must-read on this matter.

Aside from Kmiec’s intellectual rationalization by which he convinces himself that the man with the worst pro-life record imaginable is the best pro-life candidate, the typical gooey, leg-thrilling and nauseating enthusiasm for Obama just makes this latest puree of secularist pablum in Catholic sauce too much for my taste buds–and my stomach. Continue reading