Douglas Kmiec is a 51 year-old legal scholar who has taught at Pepperdine University Law School, Notre Dame, and The Catholic University of America where he was law dean. He is a Catholic firmly opposed to abortion, personally and in public policy.
Kmiec cut his political teeth on Bobby Kennedy’s run for the White House then became a Reagan Republican and social conservative. Now he makes news as an “Obamacon.” While he supports Barack Obama despite—not because of—his position on abortion, Kmiec continues to oppose Roe v Wade.
When Kmiec recently expressed publicly his support for Barack Obama he was refused communion by a local priest, though the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ actual rule on support of pro-choice candidates by Catholics states:
“A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position.”
But Kmiec opposes Obama’s pro-choice stand, and publicly advocates for a consistent “pro-life” position beyond abortion to include opposition to war, for example.
In 1985 after my publicly declared excommunication from the Catholic Church because of my work at Planned Parenthood and its abortion service, the diocese of Providence also attempted to withhold confirmation from my then 14-year-old daughter. Her “offense” was being my child. Pro- and anti-choicers alike expressed public horror, the church backed down, and an innocent child was confirmed after years of preparation.
In the 1980’s, former Sisters of Mercy Arlene Violet and Liz Morancy were forced by the bishop of Providence to choose between their vocations and their elected offices-- RI Attorney General and state legislator respectively. Both chose to continue to serve people through their government work. Both were also pro-choice, upholding the constitution as they had sworn to do in their oaths of office.
Kmiec took no such oath as a professor and he has consistently opposed abortion. The punitive action of one misguided priest, therefore—as well as the arrogance of clergy pretending to know who is worthy or unworthy to receive the sacraments—only resurrects the pelvic fixation of a hypocritical Catholic code.
There is no similar prohibition on communion to others who may kneel at the rail guilty of stealing or “covetting a neighbor’s spouse” for example. A priest on the altar cannot know who is or who is not “pro-choice.” Finally, the recent pedophilia pandemic in the church raises again the question I asked of my pastor in 1985:
“Father, let me get this straight. Because of my work at Planned Parenthood, you don’t want me to take communion from the hands of a man who may sexually abuse children. Is that right?”
Catholic Sen. Ted Kennedy has always been a leading proponent of reproductive rights. He is also battling brain cancer. Does anyone really believe he is going to be (or should be) denied sacramental comfort?
Catholic priests call themselves “vicars of Christ” so those giving communion need only recall Christ’s fogiveness of a thief on an adjacent Calvary cross, and ask, “What would Jesus do?”
- ▼ 2008 (17)