E.J. Dionne (among others) is reporting the latest misguided turn of events involving Doug Kmiec. As recently as New Year’s Day of 2008, if you called Information and asked for the names and numbers of the five most prominent conservative Catholic law professors in America, Kmiec would surely have been on the list. He had worked for Reagan, taught at Notre Dame, been Dean at Catholic Law School, and was (when you popped open the bubbly) a legal advisor to Mitt Romney. When Mitt bit the dust, however, Kmiec surprised more than a few people (including Barack Obama, I am sure) by endorsing ….Barack Obama. More perplexing to many (myself included) have been Kmiec’s desperate explanations for the endorsement.
Now comes word that Kmiec was denied Communion by a California priest, reportedly for the sole reason of Kmiec’s public support of Obama. The priest has (again, reportedly) been upbraided by Cardinal Mahony for doing so. Cardinal Mahony is right.
A priest would be wrong to deny Communion to any Catholic just because he or she supports Barack Obama (or of any other pro-abortion politician), even if the support is public and idenitified as that of a Catholic, as the case has been with Kmiec — at least so long as the Catholic supporter took reasonable steps to avoid scandal by making clear that his or her support is notwithstanding Obama’s (or anyone else’s) pro-abortion views and acts. Doug Kmiec, to his credit, has made that clear enough.