“Say it ain’t so, O! Say it ain’t so!” – UPDATE

Deacon Keith Fournier has reprinted (by permission) a letter sent by Doug Kmiec, the CUA professor of law who worked passionately to elect Obama because he believed — reasonably or un, and I have always thought “un” — that Senator Obama’s 100% NARAL approval rating would ultimately end up serving life. The letter (and this is just my opinion) reads like a kid tugging at his hero’s suit and pleading, “O, say it ain’t so!”; it’s the distressed cry of the hero-worshipper whose illusions are in the process of being shattered:

We still want you to succeed Mr. President and we are admiring of many things you have accomplished. I, for one, would like to extend your opportunity to address significant inequalities and divisions that unnecessarily exist in our country and the larger world.

Yet, this matter goes to the heart of who we are as a people. [...] You have already lost the votes of many individuals who stood as people of independent mind against those who sought to defeat your efforts to promote the common good.

Where is the common good, Sir, in not making room for the great Catholic traditions of education, health care, and meeting the needs of the least among us? Mr. President, I asked you some months ago to explain why you remained silent when our international inter-faith efforts were wrongly assailed. You did not respond.

Today, Sir, I ask you no longer as an Ambassador, but simply as a friend, why put the cold calculus of politics above faith and freedom? Please respond, for friendship will not permit me to disregard duty to faith and country. The Barack Obama I knew would never have asked me to make that choice.

Kmiec, a prominent and respected Catholic gave an enormous assist to Obama; he, along with several other very prominent dupes, played a key role in delivering 54% of the Catholic vote portside. I venture to say the “Barack Obama [they] knew” was exactly what Obama acknowledged himself to be: “a blank screen upon which they projected their own ideas” and saw them reflected back at them.

And if that letter is any indication, the effect of that self-reflection still has a hold on some hearts.

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It’s very sad. I feel badly for Kmiec. But he should have known. A guy who votes against a law ordering medical care for babies born alive during attempted abortions — twice — is a guy who is not anyone’s good friend.

H/T to the great Kathy Schiffer, who posted the Fournier piece to FB

Mark Shea urges Catholics not to descend into cathartic nastiness over this letter

Kmiec is, quite obviously, a lefty writing for the benefit of other lefties, attempting to make clear that he is not writing out of mindless hatred for the Prez, but out of a genuinely offended conscience. He is making the case that this is not merely some savages with sexual hangups getting offended about nothing, but a real issue of conscience that threatens actual American liberty. He is *far* more likely to get a hearing from from the sort of Catholic who (only getting information from the press) has been told that the HHS mandate is much ado about nothing. Such a Catholic (the majority in this country, recall) is not likely to understand immediately the gravity of the Administration’s assault because he is contracepting already and figures “No skin off my nose.” Kmiec’s letter, as well as people like Michael Sean Winters at the Reporter and the various bleats of protest at America and Commonweal, are the people who stand the best chance of speaking to the majority (there’s that word again) of Catholics who don’t grasp the gravity of situation.

So what are conservative Catholics doing? Attacking their allies who are trying to win the majority in the mushy middle over to their position for them. Because Kmiec is ritually impure. It is more important to punish and ridicule him for past sins than to let him do the right thing in the present. What matters is pure tribal identity, not the success of the struggle to defeat this atrocious attack on religious liberty. We don’t want to win converts or form alliances. We want to settle scores and gloat over heretics.

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  • Chris

    I don’t feel badly for Kmiec. He let pride and power come before the Faith. You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind. Instead of writing a love-letter to Barak, he should be issuing a public apology to his fellow Catholics for advocating support of this evil man.

  • kevin

    Hate to see him so mystified by these developments; he is supposed to be an educated man. He should just admit that his judgment totally failed him in the case of this individual.

  • Mary

    Wow! I hope Catholics get it right the next time around and vote Obama out of office!

  • TJ

    Grammar police: you feel “bad” for Kmiec, not badly.

    [whatever -admin]

  • Gerry

    As usual, the Shea Hey Kid is clueless. If Kmiec were doing the right thing, he wouldn’t be writing as a jilted lover – he’d be working against Obama’s reelection.

  • Mark Shea

    Yes. Kmiec is impure. Therefore, we must stop him from trying to persuade Obama’s followers to support his attack on religious liberty. It is more important to lose than to dine with tax collectors and sinners.

  • Mark Shea

    “*not* support” D’oh!

  • LisaB

    Ally? Well, if sounding like silly teenage girl who’s lost her virginity and now wants to be respected by the boy she bedded appeals to the Left then so be it.

  • vox borealis

    That’s funny, mark Shea. You won’t vote for [fill in the blank candidate] because they aren’t pure enough for you…they are impure, and you would rather lose with a third party candidate (or to sit out) than take the better of flawed candidates.

    Anyway, to the point of this: Kmiec isn’t trying to convince Obama of anything, at least that’s what i deduce. He’s just trying to give himself a little cover and maybe smooth over a little cognizant dissonance, so when he lines up behind the big O again in November.

    Look, if Kmiec can can convince Obama not to act as a tyrant, great. In the meanwhile he should be castigated and shamed for his (at best) gross naivete or (at worse) grotesque duplicity.

  • vox borealis

    Whoops…”cognitive dissonance.”

    Three minutes in the penalty box for me.

  • kevin

    Not sure on the penalty. He may have been cognizant of the dissonance.

  • Mark Shea


    You really should have read the whole piece, wherein I concluded:

    “Now, doubtless somebody will charge me with hypocrisy here because I refuse to vote for candidates who ask me to support grave moral evil. For them, I have a simple question: How will welcoming Doug Kmiec, Michael Sean Winters, or any other lefty into the struggle to oppose Obama’s assault on religious liberty make me an accessory to grave intrinsic evil? Answer: it won’t. So welcome them, and let them do their bit to reach those Catholics who must be reached (the majority, recall) if sufficient numbers are going to stand up for religious liberty. Welcome Jews, Protestants, Muslims and atheists too.

    Or sit in the bunker, priding ourselves on our impotent purity and watch religious liberty go down the drain.”

    And yes, Vox, the best way to form a winning political alliance and stop Obama is to castigate your allies. Brilliant thinking.

  • Mark Shea


    Past sins, are *obviously* his shilling for Obama in the first place. And, as your note makes clear, it is far more important that he crawl for that than that he persuade his fellow Catholics (the majority, remember) who voted for Obama that this assault in religious liberty must not stand. Me, I’m content to let God be the judge of his sins. I’m more interested, at present, in that he persuade his fellow Catholics who voted for Obama and who imagine that this assault on religious liberty is no big deal that it is a big deal and that is must be opposed, not merely by conservatives who already loathe Obama, but by lefties who still imagine he is a liberal and not an authoritarian tyrant.

    So do you actually want to win this fight or would you rather gloat over Kmiec and tell lefty Catholics their company is not wanted?

  • Mark Shea


    I don’t care if Kmiec has changed at all. That’s between him and God. I care that he opposes the most dangerous assault on religious liberty in the US since the 19th Century. If you are serious about opposing that assault, you should welcome his help and the fact that he can win a hearing from other Obama supporters and persuade them to oppose this as well. If you are serious about losing, you should continue to rebuff all former Obama supporters as you are doing.

  • Andy

    As a non-aligned Catholic – neither a righty or a lefty I found the HHS decision troubling, at best. However, the personal attacks on Catholics of all stripes is even more disheartening. As I recall it was Jesus who said you are without sin, cast the first stone. So as I read this and other blogs, I guess I see lots of sinless people. Amazing!
    The battle as it exists is not with each other, it is with a decision and the people who made it. It should not degenerate into name-calling, or other self-defeating actions. I find this version of a circular firing squad to lessen the true gravity of the decision. The decision is an assault on the practice of faith, in this case the Catholic faith. It perhaps presages a broader assault, and this interior fighting means that the enemy has won already.

  • Mark Shea

    There is a vast moral difference between admitting that your judgement was flawed and your trust was misplaced in a morally corrupt ideologue- as opposed to begging that corrupt ideologue to disguise his contempt for moral truth just to help you save face.

    And that would matter… if you were Kmiec’s confessor. You’re not. You are a citizen of these United States faced with a President who has committed a tyrannical act against your Church. Kmiec offers to help you oppose this tyrannical act. Will you be grateful to God for the help, or will you waste time sitting in judgment of him for past sins? Me, I’ll take any help I can get. God can sort out Kmiec’s sins later.

  • fiestamom

    Kmiec’s letter reminded me of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, when told by Lauren Holly’s character that the chance of a date with her is one in a million and Carrey says “So you’re saying there’s a chance….”

  • doc

    Mr Shea, if Doug Kmiec is as influential as you and The Anchoress say, it is vital that Doug (and you) understand that this will end badly for the Catholic Church unless Obama is defeated in November. If Kmiec is able to persuade Obama to back off his assault on Catholics before November, and helps Obama get elected to a second term, do you honestly think this won’t come roaring back at us? Once Obama has nothing else to fear from angry Catholic voters, do you really believe he wouldn’t throw this truck back into Drive and run us over?

    Sorry, but until Kmiec comes out and urges Catholics to remove this president from office, he deserves no respect and should be dismissed as a tool.

  • david

    Let’s all praise Kmiec ’til the next time he stabs us in the back. One should also note that he still wants to vote for Bammy and his deconstruction of that pesky Constitution. Also, methinks Shea is always kinder toward liberal Catholics than he is to those of a more conservative persuasion.

  • kevin

    What exactly does Kmiec want Obama to succeed at? Nationalizing healthcare? Replacing capitalism with socialism? Why does he put such desperate hope in the man as if he’s our national savior, as if our country cannot function or succeed without him. It’s bizarre.

    There’s a l level of hero worship here that I will never understand given Obama’s background and

  • Dave

    I stopped reading shea long ago; he seems to delight in espousing a contrarian POV to many things conservative Catholics care about, as well as attacking us if we don’t accept his opinions. I see enough introductions to his articles on New Advent to remind me why I don’t read him.

    Alas, we do seem to have left God out of consideration; did He not tell us we would have persecutions and sufferings? My point is that this battle does not depend on us.

    But we know how it ends.

  • Stephie B.

    Yes Mark I would MUCH rather lose on this issue than win with Mr. Kmiec still cheer leading for President Obama. Not just because I believe that if we win here now cafeteria Catholics – who listen to Mr. Kmiec – will go on voting for President Obama for a second term. That second term will bring mandatory abortion into all healthcare overseen by the government — which will soon be all forms of healthcare. The other reason is that I care about Mr. Kmiec soul – and no I am not his confessor. Unless and until Mr. Kmiec sees he was wrong – morally wrong – to support President Obama his soul is in danger of hell.

    I care much more about souls than I do about temporal things like freedom of conscience. Christ spreed His Church during persecution before – and is continuing to do so in many countries right now. He is quite capable of spreading His Church here in US if we are all forced to civilly disobey the laws that President Obama would sign during his second term. Stopping President Obama’s second term is much more important that stopping this law.

  • Anne

    Dave says: “I stopped reading shea long ago…” Me too, and every time I see a comment by him, I’m reminded of why. If I want to listen to leaden sarcasm and Pharisaical self-righteousness, I’ll talk to my mother.

    As for Mr. Kmiec: he says,
    ”Mr. President, I asked you some months ago to explain why you remained silent when our international inter-faith efforts were wrongly assailed. You did not respond…
    why put the cold calculus of politics above faith and freedom? Please respond, for friendship will not permit me to disregard duty to faith and country. ”

    Mr. Kmiec, Obama isn’t your friend, and he doesn’t care about your principles. You’re the orange rind that gets thrown away when the juice is squeezed out.

  • Pingback: Axelrod: Might be room for “compromise” on HHS Mandate « The Anchoress

  • Mark Shea


    Yes. In the strange world of upside-down conservative Catholicism, somebody who says, “I believe all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches and proclaims is revealed by God”, who is ardently opposed to abortion and artificial contraception, who accepts just war teaching, voted for Reagan twice, stands against gay “marriage”, and thinks Benedict XVI is the bees knees is *secretly* a “progressive Catholic” because he thinks it is folly reject Obama supporters who stand against Obama’s tyrannical assault on religious liberty.

    Yeah. No tribalism here.


  • Mark Shea

    Yes Mark I would MUCH rather lose on this issue than win with Mr. Kmiec still cheer leading for President Obama.


  • Jasper

    I think we should follow Mark Shea’s lead and treat Kmiec the same way Mr. Shea treated Catholic Newt Gingrich, with charity and compassion.


  • Teresa

    Surely Kmiec was aware of Obama’s position when he was an Illinois Senator regarding abortion. I’m referring to Senator Obama’s belief that it was OK to let a baby die on a table, if the abortion was unsuccessful. Mr. Kmiec invested himself in all that hopey changey thing and apparently turned a willful blind eye to Obama’s record which was there for all those who took the time to see. I don’t feel bad for Mr. Kmiec. Unfortunately Obama found many useful idiots in the Catholic Church and used them well.

  • NilesR

    This has to be the irony of the day, Mark Shea lecturing someone else about ‘nastiness’. ….The chutzpah.

  • kevin

    I think anyone with a modicum of intuition and judgment can see that Obama’s ultimate goal is taxpayer-funded abortion on demand within the United States. That is why any support for him is immoral.

  • Phlogiston

    Mr. Shea, please go back to your own blog to be pedantic. As for me, I’ll stick with Fr. Z, who was using this occassion to illustrate cases where people “come to regret their naïve belief in and cooperation with, or at at least lack of resistance to, evil.” Your criticism of Fr. Z was unwarranted. The continuing problem with the dear Ambassador is not his “impurity” or a desire of any poster here to be his confessor (nice strawman, by the way). Its his continuing stupidity. As others have noted, it’s now the morning after for Ambassador Kmiec and he still doesn’t get that Obama really doesn’t respect him. If that’s not a “teachable moment” I don’t don’t know what would be.

  • Mark Shea


    FWIW, I said nothing about nastiness. Lizzie did. I said something about the incredible folly and lack of prudence being exhibited by conservative Catholics in shoving away Obama supporters like Kmiec instead of welcoming them into the fight against Obama’s tyranny. Apparently, however, it’s more important to settle whatever scores you feel you need to settle with me instead of win this fight for religious liberty.


    Occum: I will tell them the same thing you would: don’t be a sucker. The guy has shown himself to be an enemy of the Church. Why would you trust him not to do this again the moment he is assured of a second term.

    And that’s a reason not to welcome them into this fight against tyranny why? Your argument is “We might win and then there will be no hope!” How about instead thinking we might win and then we might persuade those who made the mistake of trusting Obama not to do it again?

    It really does appear an awful lot of you guys hate Obama more than you want to defeat him. Bizarre.

  • Mark Shea

    Italics off!

  • Adam

    “I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” 1 Cor. 1:10.

    Gentlemen, I hope you’ve gotten your divisiveness out of your systems. You disagree on the role of Doug Kmeic in the church. Fine. Drop the issue, pray for the man, and deal with him again if and when the President is out of office. Take your anger and channel it into the issue at hand: the assault on our religious freedom and the destruction of human life. Deep breath, move on.

  • Mark Shea

    Take your anger and channel it into the issue at hand: the assault on our religious freedom and the destruction of human life.

    Precisely what I’m saying.

  • fiestamom

    I purposely don’t go to Mark Shea’s website, b/c I don’t enjoy being called a tribalist or being insulted because I’m politically conservative and listen to talk radio. Now I have to read his insults on here?

  • Fuquay Steve

    Mark Shea can’t recognize the lumber in his eye but he sure can spot the splinter in everyone elses. He is one to avoid, unless you like to be minimalized and trivialized. The cheek does not turn much.

  • Thomas R

    I do think Shea is right here and it should be clear from what I’ve said on his blog in the past that I don’t share his politics and that I disapprove of the provocative/incendiary way I think he talks about politicians.

    But in a way that’s the point. When someone helps they help, even if maybe we have difficulties with them. I have wanted to know what Doug Kmiec had to say on this for awhile as I think Obama-voters views are important here. My view, or that of another McCain voter or even that of a person who voted for a conservative third-party, could simply look partisan against Obama. So I think it’s good and important to hear them also criticize the President on this.

    And when Mark Shea is helpful he’s helpful. You thank him and doing that does not mean you’re signing to every idea or statement he ever put to pixel. If you outright dislike him, I actually don’t go as far as disliking him, than you can continue to do that while acknowledging he did good on something. Is this really that difficult?

  • daisy

    Everybody calm down. Doug Kmiec is an irrelevant complete non entity. The average Catholic does not even know who he is. As for Mark Shea, if we all just ignore him he’d go away.

  • Fuquay Steve

    Occum’s Razor +1000. Post of the day/week/maybe year.

  • Chris-2-4

    I tried to post a thoughtful comment about Kmiec and his fellows in response to Mark’s post yesterday. However, my post, which I believe was quite fair and free of any attacks on Mark or others, never made it through moderation. In fact, the vast majority of my comments which are usually just humorous observations and are perfectly respectful of Mark’s positions don’t make it out of moderation. Apparently because I disagree with him on some issues he is unwilling to post my comments on any subject no matter how benign.

    So, it’s really hard not to snort in disgust when you see Mark coming hear or elsewhere and complaining about treating others as “Ritually Impure”. What garbage!

  • Brian English

    “Last summer he permanently blocked dozens of people (including myself) from the Catholic Register online because we *respectfully* disagreed with him.”

    I was wondering why I was banned from the Register.

  • Brian English

    “One should also note that he still wants to vote for Bammy and his deconstruction of that pesky Constitution.”

    Does anyone seriously believe that Kmiec will not vote for Obama in November? Kmiec will express his disappontment in Obama, but will then think about all the “good” he has done and will pull the lever for him. You can count on it.

    “Also, methinks Shea is always kinder toward liberal Catholics than he is to those of a more conservative persuasion.”

    I wonder if someone who is actually fighting against the mandate and Obama, say someone like Rick Santorum, is considered an ally in the fight who should not be pushed away?

  • NilesR

    ” is considered an ally in the fight who should not be pushed away?”

    No, no good, Shea has already raked him over the coals, too conservative for Shea’s likeness.

  • Thomas R

    “Apparently because I disagree with him on some issues he is unwilling to post my comments on any subject no matter how benign.”

    I get a spam warning if my posts are too long there, but I’ve posted pretty strongly critical things of him on his blog and they go through. I can’t seem to find a recent example, but I was fairly critical in late January. Maybe you just need to be brief and keep a bit of charity about you.

  • Brian English

    “No, no good, Shea has already raked him over the coals, too conservative for Shea’s likeness.”

    I stopped reading Shea awhile back, but when I saw the blurb on New Advent referring to Killers for Christ, I assumed Santorum was one of the targets.