Sunday, June 15th, 2008
A good Sunday. Morning Mass was very good – it always is good even when it isn’t, but it was really good today. How’s that for nonsense? I really love Sundays. It is my first day off work—the beginning of my weekend: I attend Mass, I go to Unity with my girlfriend; it’s just is an all-around fine day.
Today’s New York Times article—In ’74 Thesis, the Seeds of McCain’s War Views—alerts us to the danger of mixing politics with the training of our soldiers. Foreign policy is always the sole prerogative of our civilian government and because of that it will always be contentious. Our soldiers should be trained to stay out of policy and politics, to be loyal to the Constitution above all. The article and Senator McCain’s experience vividly illustrate why torture is always inhuman and bad policy and why the United States must disavow all torture and expect that other nations do the same. Senator McCain is a genuine American hero but he is wrong on both of these issues.
Political Excommunication is the headline for an article in the current issue of America that considers the experience of Doug Kmiec and discusses a significant issue facing the Catholic Church this election cycle. How is the church to treat Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, the Catholics who support these politicians, and Catholics who support non-Catholic politicians who support abortion rights?
The treatment of Doug Kmiec is evidence of an ill wind blowing. A former appointee of the Reagan and Bush I administrations and currently a professor of law at Pepperdine University Kmiec is a longtime pro-life activist. He recently came out in support of Barack Obama for president. In response he was denied communion at a special Mass held to open a meeting in which he was scheduled to speak.
In a similar circumstance Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, my home diocese, has criticized Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas for her abortion position and requested that she not take communion. She is a prominent supporter of Obama. Also, in New York, Cardinal Edward Egan has requested that former mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani refrain from communion. And, as this article from the National Catholic Reporter—Church and Politics: The Return of the Communion Wars—indicates, these actions are anything but a smattering of isolated incidents. It has the feel of a concerted effort. The America article aptly suggests, “One must in all honesty ask whether a hard-line pro-life position within the church serves as a Trojan horse for other, more partisan political goals.” It certainly seems to.