.- In his first lengthy article explaining his position after the election of President Barack Obama, Professor Douglas Kmiec is accusing âright wing Catholic bloggers" of distorting his position, attacking him personally, and potentially poisoning the relationship between the Holy See and the future administration of President Barack Obama.
In the article entitled âA Tangled Web. The Election & the Blogosphere,â written for Commonweal magazine, Professor Kmiec explains that âas the author of a book whose title asked Can a Catholic Support Him? âand whose contents answered with an enthusiastic âYes, we can!â- I have felt the animosity of those with an insatiable desire for political payback.â
âIâve been subjected to unrelenting personal attacks launched from right-wing Catholic keyboards-blogs (and bloggers) so coarse and uncivil they make the insults of talk radio sound like actual journalism,â writes the law professor.
âFurther âhe argues- the lack of civility that rules the right-wing Catholic blogosphere has infected mainstream Catholic journalism as well. In a syndicated assessment of the 2008 election, one usually thoughtful conservative columnist employed the following descriptions of Catholic Obama supporters: âdecadent,â âtribal,â âimmoral,â âcertainly stupid,â âmindless,â and in need of basic âadult education.â And those were all in a single paragraph! Such highly concentrated rhetorical venom is not calculated to invite discussion.â
âMy online tormentors,â Kmiec continues, âlike to claim that their beef with me is my alleged abandonment of the prolife cause or willful misstatement of church teaching. Neither charge is true. I remain unabashedly prolife and I have never consciously misstated the doctrine of the church.â
âThis essay,â Professor Kmiec further explains, âis not about abortion, but at least this much must be said: blog lies to the contrary, there is no real legislative interest in FOCA. The attempt to use FOCA to drive a wedge between the church and the incoming administration is unjustifiedâ. He then warns the U.S. bishops: âthe bishops, having stated clearly their opposition to FOCA-and rightly so-should not allow the right wing to obscure what Obama shares with the church: concern for the poor; support for the average family; a commitment to ending an unjust war; and respect for our environment.â
âUnless the sore losers of November 4 manage to poison the well, the Holy See and the Obama administration should be working more closely together in service to others than any administration in modern memory,â he opines.
Going back to his criticism of Catholic bloggers, Kmiec writes that âthe scurrilous remarks of conservative bloggers missed the point, which was that I and millions of others who voted for Obama did so not despite our Catholic faith but because of it.â
âA hate-filled blogosphere,â argues Kmiec, after defending the sincerity of Obamaâs religious beliefs, âfeeds a politics of odium, misleading people of faith and good will, diminishing and at times obliterating our ability to know one another.
âSadly, neighbor-love is not what has overwhelmed my in-box since my Obama endorsement. Instead, right-wing blogs and their readers have launched missiles of hate, delivering ad hominem invective of an astonishing vehemence and crassness.â
Professor Kmiec later laments in his essay that âto be remade by a hateful blogosphere has its price, Iâve learned. I worry that such invitations to speak at Catholic colleges, and the fruitful exchanges these invitations make possible, will be fewer.â
âOne member âhe says- of the U.S. hierarchy whom I greatly admire has renounced our past association, writing, âWe are not friends, professor,â and answering my invocation of Christian brotherhood with a curt retort: âI do see you as a brother in Christ âa brother who is serving an evil end.â The greatest personal price I have paid is the loss of old-and the preemption of new-friendships.â
Kmiec also confesses that when America Magazineâs blogger Michael Sean Winters speculated that the Obama administration might name him as ambassador to the Holy See, he was âflatteredâ and started seriously thinking about the possibility.
But he claims that âneither God nor the president-elect had an opportunity to answer before the blogs were recycling their various calumnies, and adding now an anonymous voice allegedly saying âit would never happen.ââ
Kmiec doesnât reserve blame to âright wingâ Catholic bloggers alone. In his essay, he says a role were played by âunfortunate remarks,â like the ones of Archbishop Raymond Burke calling the Democratic Party âthe party of death,â and of Cardinal Francis Stafford at The Catholic University of America âdescribing some of the policies of the president-elect as âaggressive, disruptive, and apocalyptic.ââ
But he returns to his accusations against âright-wing Catholic bloggers,â saying they are âacting as a thinly disguised political front for the GOP" and "remain fixated on the goal of precipitating an unnecessary war between the Holy See and Americaâs next administration. It is dismaying to see a few American prelates and their âanonymousâ Vatican commentators acting as witting or unwitting coconspirators in this divisive action.â
Nevertheless, Professor Kmiec takes solace in the fact that âblogs have not closed the mind of the new president and, like Lincoln, he bears âmalice toward noneâ and manifests âcharity for allâ.â
âEven spinning a pervasive web of falsehood, the right-wing Catholic blogosphere is no match for the self-evident truth of that golden rule-nor would its bloggers want to be, were they to indulge a microsecond of charitable thought before hitting the send button,â he concludes.