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Catholic bloggers respond to Kmiec criticism
CNA ^ | January 16, 2009

Posted on 01/16/2009 12:04:26 PM PST by NYer

Prof. Douglas Kmiec, Mark Shea and Thomas Peters

Denver, Jan 14, 2009 / 06:02 am (CNA).- Several leading Catholic bloggers have responded to Doug Kmiec’s criticism of “right-wing Catholic bloggers” whom he characterized as “online tormenters” who personally attacked him, distorted his position, and potentially poisoned the relationship between the Holy See and the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama.

Kmiec, a law professor and a prominent pro-life Catholic supporter of the pro-abortion rights President-elect Obama, had written his essay “A Tangled Web: The Election & the Blogosphere” for Commonweal Magazine. In it, he assailed the “right-wing Catholic blogosphere” for its alleged coarseness and lack of civility.

 “A hate-filled blogosphere,” argued Kmiec, “feeds a politics of odium, misleading people of faith and good will, diminishing and at times obliterating our ability to know one another.”

“Unless 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,” he commented.

“Sadly, neighbor-love is not what has overwhelmed my in-box since my Obama endorsement,” his Commonweal Magazine essay continued. “Instead, right-wing blogs and their readers have launched missiles of hate, delivering ad hominem invective of an astonishing vehemence and crassness.”

Brian Saint-Paul, editor of Crisis Magazine and InsideCatholic.com, was highly critical of Kmiec’s endorsement of President-elect Obama. He responded to Kmiec’s essay in a Tuesday e-mail to CNA.

“While I strongly disagreed with Dr. Kmiec's support for Barack Obama, I have also been sorry to see the personal abuse he's received from fellow Catholics as a result,” he wrote. “If those in the Church can't disagree without resorting to playground insults, we're a sad example to the rest of the world.”

“Having said that, I hope Dr. Kmiec doesn't use the immaturity of some of his critics as a reason to avoid the more legitimate concerns of others. There is a conversation that needs to take place here, and it will require thick skins all around.”

Thomas Peters, who runs the blog “American Papist,” was critical of Kmiec’s comments.

“Blog culture is not homogenous. Kmiec ought to be specific when he says he is being attacked by ‘the blogosphere.’ It's like saying ‘the press’ is attacking you, and then proceeding to only mention things said by the National Enquirer,” he told CNA in a Tuesday e-mail.

In his experience, Peters said, incivility, hate and falsehood are not serious problems on Catholic blogs. According to Peters, Kmiec's treatment by leading bloggers, was extremely well-behaved “considering the gravity and intensity of what is at stake here (once again, lest we forget - the lives of millions of unborn children).”

“I've written almost 100 articles that mention Kmiec and I would challenge him to find something I wrote that is not a fair criticism.”

Peters suggested Kmiec is engaging in misdirection.

“He has attempted to move the debate away from the original argument in question (specifically Obama's record on life issues) into the realm of the character assassination he feels he has been subjected to.”

“Kmiec constantly points out the vitriolic or silly criticisms he has received, while almost wholly ignoring the substantive disagreements that many prominent members of the pro-life movement have raised in response to his arguments. It shouldn't be surprising that he fares well when he matches himself up against this army of straw men, or in this case, these nameless, faceless ‘bloggers’.”

“When someone stops debating and begins merely describing what is happening, I tend to think he has run out of real arguments,” Peters told CNA.

“Kmiec was the face of Catholic Obama support,” Peters continued, claiming that Kmiec’s pro-Obama arguments were disseminated among Catholics by Obama supporters in “a coordinated, well-financed campaign.”

“Because of these facts, I would say his arguments were singled out for criticism, because they became the arguments for supporting Obama while desiring to be a faithful Catholic.”

Peters was dismissive of the idea that bloggers could “poison” relations between the Holy See and the Obama administration.

“I think that would be giving the blogosphere way too much pull. I think Kmiec is here preparing an escape hatch should Obama-Vatican relations sour. Such formless entities as the ‘right-wing blogosphere’ can be blamed if there is ever a break-down.

“If Kmiec trusts the Vatican so much, shouldn't he trust them to be able to pick out substance from fluff?

“There will always be shrill voices in the blogosphere, but just because they are typing doesn't mean everyone is reading or agreeing with them. The best commentary and blogs float to the top, and Kmiec prefers diving into the depths of comment boxes to find mean comments rather than engaging in a rigorous debate with the surface dwellers,” Peters charged.

Mark Shea, a Catholic apologist and commentator who blogs at “Catholic and Enjoying It!” explained his take on the situation to CNA on Tuesday, saying he was “extremely dubious” that blogging can poison relations between the Holy See and the incoming Obama administration.

He suggested that Kmiec received singular criticism because of his unique position.

“It's not like there was a huge field of one-time pro-life Catholic leaders who suddenly turned about and started making excuses for Obama's pro-abortion zeal,” Shea told CNA. “He was one of the most prominent alleged pro-life Catholic voices out there banging the drum for Obama, a man who has pledged to sign the single most destructive act of pro-abortion legislation in American history. What did he expect?”

Shea thought that Kmiec’s essay “exploits” the rough-and-tumble nature of blog culture in order to “play the hearts and flowers card.”

“Blog culture is, I will be blunt, quite nasty at times.  It's characterized by a sort of frontier, libertarian streak of ‘I'll say whatever the hell I want and you can't stop me.’”

“James Joyce once described the Church as ‘Here comes everybody.’ The Internet is ‘Here comes everybody--without the guidance or protection of the Holy Spirit,’” Shea added.

“So I have little doubt that Kmiec could easily point to any number of crude, hurtful, untrue and nasty attacks on himself, his family, and even his parakeet. That's life everywhere in the blogosphere, not just among right wing Catholics,” he continued. “Things are tough all over.”

“I'm not interested in hearing Kmiec moan about how mean people from the bottom of the barrel were to him,” Shea told CNA. “I’m interested in hearing his responses to the very intelligent critiques of his position that were offered by a number of very respectable and honorable Catholics.”


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: americanpapist; bloggers; briansaintpaul; catholic; hypocrite; kmiec; markshea; obamabot; thomaspeters; traitor

1 posted on 01/16/2009 12:04:27 PM PST by NYer
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To: Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

The debate continues.


2 posted on 01/16/2009 12:05:08 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: xsmommy

have xshub check out these bloggers for some inspiration.


3 posted on 01/16/2009 12:09:07 PM PST by tioga (Let us unite in prayer for our country.)
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To: NYer
“He has attempted to move the debate away from the original argument in question (specifically Obama's record on life issues) into the realm of the character assassination he feels he has been subjected to.”

“Kmiec constantly points out the vitriolic or silly criticisms he has received, while almost wholly ignoring the substantive disagreements that many prominent members of the pro-life movement have raised in response to his arguments. It shouldn't be surprising that he fares well when he matches himself up against this army of straw men, or in this case, these nameless, faceless ‘bloggers’.”

************************

Exactly right!

4 posted on 01/16/2009 12:11:44 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: NYer
“A hate-filled blogosphere,” argued Kmiec. . .

LOL What a hypocrite. Kmiec decries the 'hate' of the right while spewing hate in their direction.

Of course, the left is nearly always hypocritical.

5 posted on 01/16/2009 12:15:30 PM PST by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: trisham
Misdirection. A classic liberal tactic.

I'm surprised he hasn't claimed to have received death threats. That's the standard liberal response when they receive valid criticism.

What a wuss.

6 posted on 01/16/2009 12:15:50 PM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse (TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary - recess appointment))
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To: AnAmericanMother
That's probably his next move if he thinks he's beginning to lose the battle. He's just holding it in reserve, imho.
7 posted on 01/16/2009 12:17:21 PM PST by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: tioga

believe me, he has no lack of things to say, knows the guy personally, and writes for a living. his problem is tempering what he says so as not to sound like a rightwing hatemonger! LOL!!


8 posted on 01/16/2009 12:41:14 PM PST by xsmommy
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To: NYer

What a smarmy whiner this Kmiec is. Spritually and theologically, he backed the wrong horse—a slick politician who believes in killing newborns that have survived abortion.

If the folks at the Vatican had any balls at all, they would excommunicate this arrogant prig!


9 posted on 01/16/2009 12:44:09 PM PST by Palladin (Kudos to Chesley Sullenberger: a true American hero!)
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To: xsmommy

he KNOWS him? omg


10 posted on 01/16/2009 12:44:36 PM PST by tioga (Let us unite in prayer for our country.)
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To: NYer

If Obama proceeds with dismantling the few pro-life legislation we have and with FOCA, then that would be not just poisoning the well, but nuking it flat, and conservative bloggers will have nothing to do with it.

If, on the other hand, someone with such hope for the coming administration tells Obama that perhaps he should stick to the issues to do with our collapsing economy, for which he was elected, in some part, by Catholics, then Mr. Kmiec will greatly mitigate the harm he already had done and FreeRepublic should send him flowers.


11 posted on 01/16/2009 12:48:00 PM PST by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: NYer

Hey Doug! I seriously want to go all Inquisition on your derierre.

Oops! Was that hate filled?


12 posted on 01/16/2009 12:55:36 PM PST by mockingbyrd
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To: mockingbyrd

Nah. You’re too charitable.

Mr. Kmiec is worried that the opposition of the “right-wing”
(read “traditional”) Catholic bloggers will somehow destroy his dream of being Obama’s envoy to the Vatican.

That’s what this is all about.

Also, he might miss out on all those cushy, well-paying speaking gigs at liberal Catholic colleges.

I’d like to shake the hand of the priest who denied Communion to this anti-life bootlicker.


13 posted on 01/16/2009 1:03:54 PM PST by Palladin (Kudos to Chesley Sullenberger: a true American hero!)
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To: NYer
We need to get away from people who are themselves NOT products of Catholic education presenting themselves as Catholic leaders. Obama will be a disaster for civilization. No Catholic should have been helping him get to the White House to promote the culture of death.

I do not recall Northwestern or Pepperdine being great centers of Catholic truth.

14 posted on 01/16/2009 1:27:00 PM PST by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: NYer

Lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas.


15 posted on 01/16/2009 2:08:01 PM PST by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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The creature Kmiec endorsed an anti-Christ for president, arguing falsely that it is morally acceptable to vote for someone who is fanatically pro-abortion. The creature Kmiec told any number of falsehoods, embraced several arguments made null by the binding teaching of the Church, and wrote a book to deceive and lead Catholics to Hell.

What nasty things have been said about this person that aren’t true?


16 posted on 01/16/2009 2:49:47 PM PST by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: NYer

Whine about this Kmiec: you should be excommunicated.


17 posted on 01/16/2009 3:05:12 PM PST by Robwin
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To: NYer
He's demonizing "the blogosphere." This guy's a lawyer? Is there such a thing as "the blogosphere," as a legal entity?

He's really making a (completely emotional) case for politcal censorship.

Very dangerous stuff, this guy's doing in lashing back from having his feelings hurt.

Kmiec, you're Catholic, right? Grow up. It's not about you.

18 posted on 01/16/2009 3:30:18 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (revolution is in the air.)
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To: Palladin
If the folks at the Vatican had any balls at all, they would excommunicate this arrogant prig!

On what grounds of Canon law would they do this?

19 posted on 01/16/2009 4:12:51 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
We need to get away from people who are themselves NOT products of Catholic education presenting themselves as Catholic leaders.

We have; the media has not :-)

20 posted on 01/16/2009 4:14:23 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

**In his experience, Peters said, incivility, hate and falsehood are not serious problems on Catholic blogs.**

An interesting observation. Hmmmm.......makes me wonder??


21 posted on 01/16/2009 6:24:14 PM PST by Salvation ( †With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer

Support for unlimited abortion by aiding and abetting the election of the most antilife president in American history.

The election of Obama will lead to the passage of FOCA, and millions more lives will be lost to abortion.

Excommunication applies not only to those who actively perform abortions, but to those who aid and assist in any way. This applies to all pro-abortion politicians,and those who helped them get elected.


22 posted on 01/16/2009 7:10:06 PM PST by Palladin (Kudos to Chesley Sullenberger: a true American hero!)
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To: Robwin
you should be excommunicated

Based on which Canon law?

23 posted on 01/17/2009 6:05:18 AM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

Aren’t you the guy who left the Catholic Church over the priest scandal?

I’m no Canon lawyer, but there may be something there.


24 posted on 01/17/2009 12:48:51 PM PST by Palladin (Kudos to Chesley Sullenberger: a true American hero!)
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To: Palladin
Aren’t you the guy who left the Catholic Church over the priest scandal?

As bad as things may be in this diocese which was seriously rocked by scandal, I never once considered leaving the Catholic Church! Where would I go? .. the Catholic Church has the truth. And, fwiw, I'm not a guy :-)

I’m no Canon lawyer, but there may be something there.

No ... absolutely nothing. It always helps to know facts before posting. Otherwise, it comes off as simply brandishing an invisible sword.

25 posted on 01/17/2009 3:42:09 PM PST by NYer ("Run from places of sin as from a plague." - St. John Climacus)
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To: NYer

OK, sorry. The Pope says you’re in good standing. ;)


26 posted on 01/18/2009 12:19:13 PM PST by Palladin (Kudos to Chesley Sullenberger: a true American hero!)
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