Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Personal Aside: Thoughts While Shaving—Doug Kmiec, For Malta? .


Doug Kmiec.

Doug Kmiec, the former top conservative Catholic advocate for pro-life when he served in Ronald Reagan’s and George H. W. Bush’s Office of Legal Council in the Justice Department, has been appointed Ambassador to the Republic of Malta by President Barack Obama…a keen disappointment to Kmiec since he had sought the post of ambassador to the Vatican. The Catholic News Agency quoted Vatican sources as saying that Kmiec had been turned down since his view on human embryonic stem cell manufacture was antithetical to that of the Vatican. The Republic of Malta is a stretch of several islands in the Mediterranean with population of more than 400,000.

To earn this honorific, Kmiec…whom I knew well… had to do amazing contortions which departed from his longtime advocacy of pro-life. A steadfast opponent of abortion, he failed to be appointed to the federal bench during the terms of the two conservative presidents he served. He was Dean of Law at Pepperdine University in California during the administration of Bill Clinton and returned to the Justice Department under George W. Bush where he was again disappointed with no judicial appointment. He varied his law professorship with a volunteer post as adviser on pro-life matters to former Michigan Governor Mitt Romney. When Romney lost the presidential nomination in 2008 to Sen. John McCain, Kmiec did a reverse switch and entered the fray as a supporter of Barack Obama.

He wrote and spoke in support of Obama’s position on abortion which was a direct contradiction to the views he had in the Reagan and Bush administrations and as an adviser to Romney. Once he was denied communion by a priest who felt Kmiec’s support of Obama was tantamount to his being in the state of mortal sin—a refusal which Kmiec merchandised on National Public Radio and with the Washington Post, which pictured him as a martyr for his conscience. He assailed a number of Catholic bishops who stressed the pro-life position…including the then archbishop of Saint Louis, Raymond Burke, one of the nation’s foremost experts on canon law…for “seeking to intimidate” Catholics on the issue.

Kmiec’s appointment to Malta brings to mind Act II, Scene 9 of the play “A Man for All Seasons” where in the Hall of Westminster, the jury is considering the death penalty for Sir Thomas More for High Treason for purportedly denying the King his rightful title of Supreme Head of the Church of England. Master Secretary Thomas Cromwell reads the charges and calls as his witness Richard Rich. Rich testifies that he went to the Tower of London where Sir Thomas More was being held to remove his books. Rich testified that More told him that parliament did not have the right to make Henry VIII head of the church. Sir Thomas More is asked to make a statement. He says he is on trail not for what he said but for what is in his heart and says that if men do not listen to their hearts, soon their hearts disappear.

As Rich begins to withdraw, Sir Thomas asks to see the new chain Rich is wearing. It is the chain designating that Rich is Attorney General for Wales. More then comments softly how little Rich’s soul cost—attorney general for Wales. “For Wales?” he asks.

Douglas Kmiec. All this for what? Denying a birthright.

For Malta?

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