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Sunday, February 22, 2009



I certainly agree with your judgment on this matter as things stand now, but there are surely legitimate concerns for a federal judge who happens to be a faithful Catholic. Suppose, contrary to fact, that Roe v. Wade was in fact a reasonable reading of the Constitution, or even the only reasonable reading of the Constitution. A Catholic judge would then have two choices: to make a ruling that has results he finds morally abhorrent, or to leave the judiciary. Again, this choice does not present itself as things stand, but we can imagine it happening in this case, and perhaps it happens in some actual cases. So I suspect there is a real issue here, even if Mr. Kmiec has not correctly identified it.

T. Shaw

So-called Catholic intellectual provides cover for abortion and socialist demagogues.

"If you don't read the papers you are uninformed. If you read the papers you are misinformed." Twain.

Truth: I've been in banking/financial analysis for 32 years. Everything you read or hear from the MSM re: foreclosures, recession, etc. is so far wrong it lacks link to truth that is found in the common lie. Rick Santelli is the only talking head that has said anything near helpful.

This from a self-satisfied non-intellectual: Kmiec (good-for-nothing intellectual flotsam with tenure) believes stuff (apologies to Orwell) that is so stupid that only an intellectual could believe.

He seems to believe that we will be judged on our tacit support of mass, societal evil if, and only if, we are not "covered" by a dishonest, mass murder court ruling. I bet he also believes SS concentration camp guards "I was following orders" are in heaven, too.

A potential "issue" with Pope Pius XII would be whether he did not "radically intrude in the political processes" of several Catholic countries in the 1930's and 1940's. And, alot of US bishops . . .

Kmiec proves himself almost as morally bankrupt as is Pelosi and the rest of the idiots in congress. But (sputter), but (sputter) . . . our inexperienced, socialist racial agitator said he was anti-death penalty, against war, opposed torture and would steal from the rich to give free health, free lunch to the poor. And, (they beleive) he would destroy the unjust private sector economy and end racism. And, and that trumped the murders of 45,000,000 unborn . . .

And, Time pays Kmiec to write 1,000 words to try to "square" abortion and concomitantly all socialist/humanist/progressive/socialist mass brigandage with the Gospels and the Ten Commandments.

Dan Deeny

Carl, Thank you for this detailed analysis of Prof. Kmiec's problems. I guess Roger Taney had problems also. So did Franz von Papen. But Prof. Kmiec, savant et obligeant, marches on.


If it did come to a point where Scalia and other Catholics were morally forced to resign the bench, as Kmiec is suggesting, how is that unlike other times in history when in conscience Christians have been forced to disengage from unjust government?

There is a cost, occasionally, for being a Christian, and a cursory knowledge of history surely should make us all aware that it can happen anywhere. The hardest part I think, is being able to recognize that world as it develops around us, and knowing when and where to draw the line, even if it means giving up hope to press our cause in the immediate term because of the compromise we must make to do so.

If we find ourselves in the Titanic with only a tin can, how long to we keep on bailing out the water before we grab for something that floats? Or, to use another analogy is there such a thing as Christian political and social Tai Che, wherein we sidestep to avoid being flattened by the momentum of evil?
Just asking.


I think Kmiec has a point - about Scalia. How does Scalia turn himself into a pretzel and hide behind American jurisprudence, when, as a Catholic, he knows what the deal is.

This is the fruits of the "legitimate autonomy of the secular" that Catholics, you included Carl, are so fond of repeating. And now that it's been in practice for a few decades, it's showing its true colors. They don't look so good, do they?

Carl E. Olson

Ben: Perhaps someone with more knowledge of Scalia's comments and positions can shed some light on that aspect of Kmiec's column. As for your comment about "legitimate autonomy," it misrepresents what the Church actually teaches about the issue. For example:

571. The political commitment of Catholics is often placed in the context of the “autonomy” of the State, that is, the distinction between the political and religious spheres[1194]. This distinction “is a value that has been attained and recognized by the Catholic Church and belongs to the inheritance of contemporary civilization”[1195]. Catholic moral doctrine, however, clearly rejects the prospects of an autonomy that is understood as independence from the moral law: “Such ‘autonomy' refers first of all to the attitude of the person who respects the truths that derive from natural knowledge regarding man's life in society, even if such truths may also be taught by a specific religion, because truth is one”[1196]. A sincere quest for the truth, using legitimate means to promote and defend the moral truths concerning social life — justice, freedom, respect for life and for other human rights — is a right and duty of all members of a social and political community.

When the Church's Magisterium intervenes in issues concerning social and political life, it does not fail to observe the requirements of a correctly understood autonomy, for “the Church's Magisterium does not wish to exercise political power or eliminate the freedom of opinion of Catholics regarding contingent questions. Instead, it intends — as is its proper function — to instruct and illuminate the consciences of the faithful, particularly those involved in political life, so that their actions may always serve the integral promotion of the human person and the common good. The social doctrine of the Church is not an intrusion into the government of individual countries. It is a question of the lay Catholic's duty to be morally coherent, found within one's conscience, which is one and indivisible”[1197]. (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, par 571; also see pars 45-46)

The various social and political ills of the past 40-50 years are not due to a recognition of this legitimate autonomy, but rather the rejection (on the part of both many non-Catholics and many Catholics) of the legitimate place of the natural and moral laws.


It is interesting that Professor Kmiec not only adopts as an intellectual matter the Mario Cuomo understanding of what it means to be pro-life, but also seems interested in undermining the Pope at every opportunity when the issue is abortion.

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