Monday, August 31, 2009

Kmiec Speaks On Role of Church in America

Doug Kmiec is at it again. The debate on conscience protection is from April 2009 but has some interesting insights into the new thinking of Doug Kmiec.

Much of what he offers borders on a mistake in thinking that he pointed out in his Constitutional Law book. In the book Kmiec asks "Democracy, means or an end" (not exact quote but close enough). He used to answer the question "means" but now he has done a complete 180 and finds that democracy is actually the end. Amazingly, he states that democracy is no longer the favored means of achieving the good, it is the preferred method for determining the good:

"Unfortunately, in this temporal exile of ours, the fourth proposition is also true: the good is always disputed, and some mechanism in a pluralistic society is needed to resolve the differences in the conception of the good.
The fifth proposition, in America we decide in most cases to depend upon reasoned argument, persuasion, and ultimately democratic choice, to determine the good."

The fifth proposition is the most troublesome. Both from a Catholic and an American perspective. Here in America we have begun to define the good by democratic choice, especially individuals who label themselves liberals; but, this is not the American tradition.

In America, we hold the good of man and the rights and duties he must exercise to achieve this good to be "self-evident," i.e. not up for discussion, dialogue or democratic compromise. The right to life, being the first listed in the Declaration of Independence.

To argue that the very concept of the good can be disputed and chosen by a electoral vote, is to concede that we live in a tyranny, not of a monarch but of a mob. A mob without restraint, that has the power to say that good is evil and evil is good, is not the democratic ideal as Americans or our Founders understood it. It is these very two different conceptions of "democracy" that allowed thinkers like Edmund Burke to support our revolution and despise the French. The French revolution was the triumph of the mob, our revolution was the triumph, at least in the real of ideals, of government built on the non-negotiable Truth about man.

Turning now to the problems presented by Kmiec's statement from the Catholic perspective. Kmiec first starts by giving quick recognition of Church teaching, but then goes on to weaken its effect:

"Now, here is where the difficulty comes in. The church I love, the faith of my fathers and grandfathers, the American Catholic Church, has in modern times often chosen not to accept the democratic outcome as the conclusion to be guided by. Now, in some ways this is unproblematic, and one can find constitutional scholars across the land who dissent from various propositions when the Supreme Court of the United States, for example, undertakes to do something — like Roe v. Wade from my perspective — that is usurping of the legislature authority
and structure provided for in the Constitution. So the Church, when it echoes those arguments, is not particularly controversial.

But the Church makes a broader claim than that. It is a claim I am quite fond of, but it has great difficulty to it in terms of application. That is that democratic outcome can never trump the truth, that, as John Paul reminded us in Veritatus Splendor, a democracy not
well aimed with the truth of the human person in mind is very well on the track toward totalitarianism. The problem is that truth claims, like other claims of the good, are always disputed.

Then we come to really difficult times in our current Church circumstance, and that is some of our leaders guide us internally by intimidation and sacramental denial, or the threat of sacramental denial, and by practices of shunning, most recently Professor Glendon. She is the shunner, Notre Dame is the shunnee, in case you haven’t been following the stories.

. . .

So my eighth question and proposition is: How well situated is a church that proceeds in this fashion to ask for an exemption from generally applicable laws that we ask others to abide by? I would suggest that it tends to weaken its position in terms of asking for that exemption, and that in itself presents its own problems.

. . .

With respect to institutional claims for conscience exemption, I suggest that there should be a presumption against giving those, largely because they are anti-democratic. By contrast, in terms of individual claims of conscience, I suggest the law should be highly sensitive to those, for among other reasons, as I have been told over and over again because of my sin of “Obama meisting,” that I have a lot to answer for with St. Peter and for whom he works, and some metaphysical consequences of individually engaging in intrinsic evil are more profound for the individual than for the institution, which may or may not continue into eternity. The law should be particularly sensitive about it."

In other words, Kmiec thinks it anti-democratic for the Church to refuse to prostitute Herself to participate in the evil aspects of programs put forward by politicians who want to turn the Church from an independent entity to an arm of federal and state government public policy. Moreover, when Her pastors, our shepherds, the Bishops, shepherd us or our fathers, the priests, chastise us, who are their children, it is "intimidation" and "sacramental denial." This sounds like a teenager who is grumpy with his parents for threatening to punish them for staying beyond curfew. It is an act of mercy, not intimidation, to chastise the sinner, just read your Baltimore Catechism Professor Kmiec.

Finally, Kmiec (beyond advocating for the elimination of marriage and treating homosexual pairs and marriages equally in law and naming them all "quarks" as a model for religious freedom), states amazingly that:

"This notion of creating an ideal world through law is a forfeiture of the faith and the power of the faith. It is directly contrary, it seems to me, to Thomas’s teaching, to the Thomastic teaching about not seeing to enact every virtue or prohibit every vice. The human condition is just simply not capable of that and it is more variegated than that.

But it doesn’t mean you give up on the transformation of the culture. It just means you don’t expect the Supreme Court of the United States to be the chief catechist. You expect yourself to in fact embrace the Scripture and the Catechism, and through homiletics and through good works and your own personal witness and what happens in that parish community. That’s where the ideal world gets constructed."

Pretty ironic since Kmiec addressed the criticism of Obama by Cardinal Stafford by informing him that the cultural change the Cardinal had worked for his whole life in Christ would come to pass upon the inauguration of Obama, as President of the United States, a political office held by a non-Catholic!

Just imagine Kmiec sharing this point of view of the role of Church and the political State with the people of Malta who have shown an ability to engage in democracy and upholding the truth about the human person.


Kmiec also mistakenly implies that Humane Vitae's teaching is only applicable to Catholics rather than a teaching based on natural law and morality: "In terms of the conveyance of the significance of marriage and these other teachings on contraception, you don’t need to stop the coverage of insurance for contraception for people who have no moral objection to it in order to convey to Catholics the significance of Humanae Vitae. Now, you are going to need a lot of help conveying the significance of Humanae Vitae, and people have been working on it for a long time. But you are not going to get help from this passage of the law." Humane Vitae must be accepted by Catholics, but as a truth applicable to all mankind, we Catholics need to convey its significance to all peoples.

The transcript of the conference at Fordham re conscience protection is available here:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Catholic Health Association Against "Caritas in Veritate"

I highly recommend that you watch or listen to the Raymond Arroyo, The World Over, interview/debate with Sr. Carol Keehan president of the Catholic Health Association (CHA). The CHA has come under fire for demanding health care reform "now." Sr. Keehan clearly believes that it is the role of the federal government to pay for the majority of health care in this country.

In response to Sr. Keehan's almost unreserved support for government financed health care Mr. Arroyo asked her what would prevent the "reformed" American health care system from resembling the rationed care in Canada and Britain that abuses seniors and denies essential care to the very sick. Her response was shocking and let the mask slip on the CHA agenda: "The political reason I think it won't happen here is 'cause it [the elderly] is the largest voting block."

This is in direct conflict with the Pope's current encyclical which expressly rejects a social order based on benefiting those with the most political power:

"Without truth, without trust and love for what is true, there is no social conscience and responsibility, and social action ends up serving private interests and the logic of power, resulting in social fragmentation, especially in a globalized society at difficult times like the present." Caritas in veritate at Paragraph 5.

"In promoting development, the Christian faith does not rely on privilege or positions of power, nor even on the merits of Christians (even though these existed and continue to exist alongside their natural limitations)[44], but only on Christ, to whom every authentic vocation to integral human development must be directed." Caritas in veritate at Paragraph 18

In her statement, Sister Keehan belies her statements of wanting to promote the Catholic conception of charity and social justice. Her statements reveal her willingness to implement a system that depends and promotes the interests of the politically powerful, which is probably why the CHA is so comfortable spending so much money lobbying Congress. It is an admission that the CHA push for health care reform is a push for the politicization of health care.

Additionally, the idea that the federal government, which already makes up 33% of the health care industry needs to become a larger provider of health care runs dangerously close to promoting the concentration of power warned against by the Pope:

"When technology is allowed to take over, the result is confusion between ends and means, such that the sole criterion for action in business is thought to be the maximization of profit, in politics the consolidation of power, and in science the findings of research." Caritas in veritate at Paragraph 71.

We need to fight this consolidation of power not promote it.

Finally, the most disturbing line of the interview belongs also to Sr. Keehan: "We have to be in the mainstream."

No Sister, we have to be in Christ.

P.S. After listening to the interview, did anyone appreciate her justification of conceding 150 billion dollars of Catholic Hospital Association money to the government by saying that the money is going to the "Medicare Trust Fund," which has a 60 trillion dollar unfunded liability, that would be paid back in 2013? It was so ridiculous I laughed out loud.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

E-Mail I sent to the the USCCB Catholic Campaign for Human Development

To Whom it May Concern,

I am growing very concerned with the partisan bent of the USCCB, which has come to the surface with respect to the current debate on "health care reform."

"Health care reform now" is a message in line with the current Obama administration and the Democrat Party controlled Congress. It is advocating a plan that promotes rationing, abortion and euthanasia. I'm sure the USCCB, the CHA, St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Charities USA do not intend to directly sponsor these aspects of the bills being proposed but such irresponsible action alerts lack political prudence and create a situation which will rush the country into making bad and hasty decisions.

The Democrat Party which is leading this effort, as a matter of formal party policy and platform, believes in the paying for abortion, on demand: "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right." Democrat Party Platform 2008 at 50.

Moreover, the same party supports funding contraceptives, which is also contrary to Church teaching: "The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education which empower people to make informed choices and live healthy lives." Democrat Party Platform 2008 at 50.

How dare you tell us to trust these people with our money, our lives, and our families. This is more than working out a few kinks out of a bill, this is about the future moral health of this country.

Would you tell us to support a health care "reform" put forth by the Nazi Party so long as they promised it would be "minority-neutral"? I think not!

Sister Carol Keehan of Catholic Hospital Association, with whom you have a close relationship stated falsely: "In an Aug. 3 interview with Catholic News Service, she decried the 'deliberate distortions' about health care reform being circulated by 'those who for whatever reason don't want health reform to succeed.'"

We who oppose the Democrat-Abortion-Contraception-Socialist Medicine Party are not opposed to health care reform, we have many ideas to offer. However, we are not willing to make a deal with the Devil for a mythical "Free Universal Health Care." There is no such thing as a free lunch, just ask Jesus who was tempted by the Devil to turn stones into loaves. Jesus said NO. An so should we to this Faustian bargain.

You and your Catholic "charity" allies and the Democrat Party have shown what little respect you have for us Catholic lay people and Americans.

Why should the Catholic Church in America go begging hat in hand to the federal government of the United States which has endorsed, abortion, slavery, experimentation on blacks, taking God out of the public schools, the forced integration of Native Americans, etc., for money to perform our charitable works?

Why should the Catholic Church in America go begging the federal government to FORCE its own parishioners to give money to its hospitals, why not just ask for more help every Sunday at mass? Why not appeal to our love of neighbor and God, why not talk to us and lead us gently like a true Shepard. We want to help, we want to GIVE more of our money to help the poor, we want to help make health care more accessible. But we want to do it for the love of God, our neighbor and His Church. We do not want to be forced to do so by people who have so much contempt for us that they are unwilling to even read the laws that they pass which will alter our way of life!

Do these men and women of Congress, who have exempted themselves out of the "reform" sound like the kind of people who have respect for human life from conception to natural death?

I know, or at least I knew, that when I gave money to a Catholic charity, it would go to do the Lord's work, according to Church teaching. Now I, along with many other Catholics are not so sure. My faith is not shaken in the Church but it has been shaken in you.

I will not support organizations that lobby for the taking of financial resources from Catholics by asking the federal government to increase taxes to implement a federal program that would either require Catholic charities accepting federal funds to perform abortions, provide contraception, sex change operations, etc. or will increase these practices in government or other private hospitals. These are resources that instead could and should go to Catholic hospitals and clinics that would provide care to patients according to Church teaching not government controlled health care.

I have already called the St. Vincent de Paul Society and have informed them that my giving will go to Goodwill, who has not come out to endorse any bill and actual employs the developmentally disabled and Down Syndrome people that the "health care reform" will help kill. I recommend that all other Catholics do the same.

Unless you turn back from your love of GOVERNMENT funded and Democrat run health care programs, you can count me out from the second collection when you come begging for help. If you want more health care for the poor, then you provide it and ask us for help to do it, do not sell your soul to the federal government for a plan that will not even work. Indeed, economists estimate that the bill will still leave 30 million uninsured, hardly universal coverage.

As Bishop Fulton Sheen said: "They [the socialists and totalitarians] are saying what is important only is social health not personal health. That is not true. Social health is conditioned only upon individual health. And if a doctor would leave any patient simply because he could not pay for his care or because he was apparently incurable or for any other reason in order to serve the abstract claims of society he would be selling the pass."

Do not be fooled, government run health care, is socialized health care and by supporting it you are "selling the pass" on the American people and the Catholic Church's invaluable role in American life.

God Bless,