Kmiec and George: Best of friends

Professors Robert George, left, and Douglas Kmiec shake hands at the conclusion of a discussion at the National Press Club in Washington May 28. The discussion was moderated by professor Mary Ann Glendon, center, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican . (CNS/Paul Haring)

Professors Robert George, left, and Douglas Kmiec shake hands at the conclusion of a discussion at the National Press Club in Washington May 28. The discussion was moderated by professor Mary Ann Glendon, center, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican . (CNS/Paul Haring)

Don’t let the views exchanged by two high profile Catholic law professors during a May 28 program at the National Press Club deceive you. Douglas Kmiec and Robert George are friends.

Throughout the 80-minute program sponsored by The Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law, the two constitutional law experts acknowledged each other’s pro-life credentials. They mixed compliments for each other with their arguments for their point of view. They repeatedly referred to each other as “my friend.”

Kmiec, professor of law at Pepperdine University, made no bones about the fact he continues to support President Barack Obama and his stated goal of reducing the incidence of abortion. His measured statements were in stark contrast with the rapidly speaking George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, who seemed to want to make as many points as he could in his 20-minutes on the dais.

During a question-and-answer session that followed the formal presentations, the two well-known law professors continued pressing their main talking points.

George said Obama has not opened himself to reaching agreement on common concerns while listing several steps that the Princeton professor said would lead to fewer deaths of unborn children, such as banning second and third trimester abortions.

Kmiec said it was quite the contrary, that Obama’s proposals to fund programs that support pregnant women cut across a wide swatch of Catholic social teaching and are reason enough to engage him on the issue of abortion.

Mary Ann Glendon, professor of law at Harvard Law School and former U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, kept a low profile in moderating the program. While the issue never came up, she gained plenty of publicity for recently refusing to accept the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame for her contributions to society as one of the country’s leading Catholics. She turned down the honor because Notre Dame gave Obama an honorary degree during commencement.

9 Responses

  1. Unless Catholic Social Teaching starts with defending the poorest and most vulnerable, which are unwanted viable fetuses, it will never be respected. Many times when a murderer is being executed bishops, priests nuns and even popes rightfully petition for leniency. The same enthusiasm for life should be demonstrated every time theres even one single late term abortion. Its the church that has taught us that abortion stands out singularly as the most abhorrent among anti life practices. When we saw good Catholics (even priests) being knocked to the ground, hand cuffed and arrested for demonstrating for life on the Notre Dame campus, we all should have been outraged. The presidents stand and actions in favor of abortion rights should shock Catholics to their core. He should not have been honored at Notre Dame. But since he was cheered and lauded by the graduates, their families and especially by Fr. Jenkins, we now know that Notre Dame is not really a Catholic institution.

  2. “we now know that Notre Dame is not really a Catholic institution.” Speak for yourself, not for ‘we’. Notre Dame is as Catholic as any sinner who claims to be Catholic, or any self-righteous, judgmental person who claims to be Catholic. If Christ Himself is revealed and tells us Notre Dame is not Catholic, I’ll readily accept that-but you nor anyone else is qualified to speak for anyone but yourself.

  3. Imagine a president who not only supports, but aggressively implements, decisions that promote the killing of first grade children. Would Mr. Kmiec still support him? One would hope not. Contrary to what Nancy Pelosi says, the Catholic Church has always held that the human being begins at conception, so there is no difference between an unborn child and that first grade child other than maturity. President Obama is NOT pro-life!

  4. Jeff wrote that:
    When we saw good Catholics (even priests) being knocked to the ground, hand cuffed and arrested for demonstrating for life on the Notre Dame campus, we all should have been outraged……..The presidents stand and actions in favor of abortion rights should shock Catholics to their core. He should not have been honored at Notre Dame….. we now know that Notre Dame is not really a Catholic institution.

    Jeff, no. 1, like you, I believe in nonviolent direct action, which occurred at Notre Dame, though launching this action against the graduation exercise may have been a little over the top. Still, the protest is one thing, and an honorable thing. However, the arrests are another. the reason that priests were arrested is that they infringed on the campus rather than gathering peacefuly on nearby public sidewalks, as most protesters do. This was a predetermined political tactic on the part of the protesters, perhaps effective, perhaps not, but it is not as if the police persecuted them.

    no. 2, how does this episode demonstrate that ND is no longer Catholic?

  5. Mr. Dagel writes that “Obama is NOT pro-life!” But Gian Maria Vian, editor-in-chief of L’Osservatore Romano explained last week that President Barack Obama’s speech to graduates of Notre Dame was very respectful and that he “is not a pro-abortion president.” So what is Obama? One can answer this a number of ways, but they these ways depend on where the person stands with respect to the political currents of the U.S. One of the talents of President Obama is to know how to give speeches that say one thing to one group, and something different to another. The critical thing that is left out of Prof. Kmiec’s position is the actual votes that Obama cast as a state representative and as a Senator. Words are easy, deeds hard. Obama’s deeds belie his words.

  6. Obama and Kmiec are both going to hell.

  7. Anyone who thinks Notre Dame is a Catholic university and expects the Lord Jesus to make a revelation to the contrary before he believes otherwise is pathetically deluded.

  8. Hey Jeff. I’m sure you’re aware that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops made it clear that Catholic Universities were not to honor pro-choice politicians. I’ll grant you that they fall way way below the authority of Our Lord and Savior dropping by to make a statement. But when the USCCB and the local South Bend Ordinary (Bishop D’Arcy) made their wishes and preferences known and were totally ignored by Fr. Jenkins, I think Notre Dame became firmly established as a “secular” institution. I also acknowledge to all that this is my own personal opinion and that I’m sure its not shared by many “Cafeteria Catholics” who don’t choose to follow instructions from Bishops or for that matter even our Catechism.

  9. Notre Dame is in error and needs to make amends – and alums who are withholding millions of dollars seem to agree. Father Jenkins violated his priestly obligations of obedience to the Church and needs to be chastised. He willfully violated the very specific and clear directions stated in Ex Corde Ecclesia about honoring people who act in a manner contrary to Catholic teaching.

    If the Catechism is not a a Catholic’s liking, I recommend consulting the yellow pages for a solution – start with ‘Churches – Episcopalian’

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