Monday, February 23, 2009

I am not like Puella Paschalis

My dissimilitude to that Northern Light of Blogging Europe is not the point, really.

The point is that I, unlike the PP, am not en route from a trip to Switzerland, and therefore have no excuse for the dearth of posts in the past 9 days (unless working 15 hour days including Saturday and Sunday can count as an excuse).

At some point soon, hopefully today, I will have something up by way of reply to Prof. Kmeic's latest.


Clayton said...

Kmiec is the new McBrien. I like the way Chaput unravels his position.

puellapaschalis said...

I'm flattered! I've never been called any kind of light before - you're too kind :)

However, as I'm back in the Netherlands now I now no longer have any excuse either - apart from the fact that Lent begins in too few days :)

Lazy Disciple said...

Clayton, I always enjoy Archbishop Chaput, though I am not sure he was unraveling Prof. Kmeic's position per se.

Prof. Kmeic seems to remain thoroughly anti-abortion. He says he voted Obama for President and now supports the Obama Administration DESPITE (read italics, not caps - I need to figure out how to add text effects to the com-box) the president's pro-abort agenda. He is interested in working with the administration where he can and working to limit the damage from within.

That, anyway, is how he sees himself, and the rationales he has given to justify his recent behavior are generally sound in theory, making the only proper avenue of criticism a posteriori and prudential.

That said, I think there is prudential argument that may be brought crushingly to bear on Prof. Kmeic, who, quite apart from any consideration of his intentions, has as a matter of fact gotten it badly wrong and done damage to souls.

Lazy Disciple said...

Puella, I call 'em like I see 'em (on the internet)!

Glad to hear you are safely back in the Netherlands, and looking forward to more of your brilliant posting.

Remember, You can do brilliant, you.


Clayton said...

You are, of course, right: Chaput is not responding to Kmiec's point in the TIME article. And I defer to you on the matters at stake in Kmiec's article.

Having heard Kmiec speak in person, at the LA seminary seven days after the election, I was unimpressed with his moral gymnastics. His defense for voting Obama that night was lengthy, laden with false alternatives (no mention, for instance, of the possibility of a third party or protest vote), and delivered with the missionary zeal of an apostle.

He spoke of Chaput as an advisor and friend, which I thought was a bit unjust, given Chaput's clarification on that score.

He talked about how he first met Barack, and how he had challenged him on several occasions about the life issues, but from there it devolved into a personal testimony about Barack's greatness. He had three stories, each of which I found not only unimpressive, but actually unsettling. One story had to do with Barack's response to some evangelical asking him if he thought Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life. Barack shook his head and said no. When asked for clarification, Barack said, "I would say that Jesus is MY way, but not THE way" and went on to say that he couldn't fathom that his mother, a virtuous non-believer, would not be going to heaven. Kmiec was quite taken by this response to the "fundamentalist."

Kmiec is, quite literally, an apostle for Barack. And he gave the impression that those who disagree with him just don't understand him, while Kmiec, as an eyewitness, can testify on his behalf.

The most unfortunate part of the evening was his conclusion -- he closed by talking about how sore he was about having been denied communion once, and this was weeks after an apology had been demanded of the priest in question by the Cardinal of Los Angeles. Kmiec described it as "the experience of being damned" and a humiliation that he "would never get over. I will always feel condemned for choosing a man who lives the Beatitudes." Then he closed with a quote from Tolstoy: "God knows the truth, but waits."

I think he's genuinely concerned about the choices women face, but the martyr complex is very unfortunate.

He did say that if Pope Benedict were to clarify his note about "proportionate reasons," and told him that he (Kmiec) had interpreted it wrongly, he would recant his position.

But is it really the responsibility of the See of Peter to micromanage the conscience of a lawyer in Malibu?

Lazy Disciple said...

"But is it really the responsibility of the See of Peter to micromanage the conscience of a lawyer in Malibu?"

Clayton, I want you to know I'll be using this - with proper attribution, of course - I wouldn't want to have to hire said Malibu lawyer to micromanage MY conscience.

Clayton said...


To be honest, the language about micromanaging was the work of Mark Shea back in November, with whom I corresponded re: Kmiec's presentation.

Lazy Disciple said...

Thanks for being honest, Clayton.