30 October 2008

Catholics in the Public Square

Our very own Archbishop Naumann gave an outspoken presentation to the Catholic Campus Center at the University of KU recently, and was featured in the Lawrence paper. This comes on the heels of a heated exchange in the publication Newsweek between George Weigel and Catholic professors Kmiec, Cafardi, and Kaveny, at least one of whom (Kmiec) is tenured at Notre Dame. I came across this exchange on the First Things blog; it is a site I check daily. Here are the links (and rebuttals) to this highly instructive debate:

Weigel's original essay: Can Catholics Back Pro-Choice Obama? (Hint: no)
The Response: A Catholic Brief for Obama

(This essay brings up an interesting argument: bishops intent upon excluding from communion politicians that support public funding for abortion should also take into account the complicity in evil that material supporters of the Iraq war take upon themselves. It is a fairly direct accusation of hypocrisy that I've not come across before.)

Weigel's Rebuttal: Flawed Thinking

Weigel doesn't respond to the "material cooperation in evil" argument. Keith Pavlischek over at First Things fleshes it out a bit:

It might be instructive to think about how their argument (if we may call it that) might be salvaged from complete incoherence. Absent a full-throated defense of absolute pacifism (which would render Obama’s support of the “good war” in Afghanastan equally subject to condemnation) the bishops could declare that selective conscientious objection to the Iraq war is the only morally permissible option for Catholics. On the assumption that the Iraq war is manifestly “unjust and unjustified,” the bishops could simply declare, that no Catholic may permissibly serve in Iraq as a soldier sailor, airman, or Marine. Such service would, they might argue, involve a Catholic not merely in moral complicity in evil acts but with direct involvement with evil (killing in an unjust war). They might then extend a similar judgment to Catholic politicians who support funding of the Iraq war.

You can find his comments in full here. (Go ahead and bookmark the site.)

My thoughts to follow.

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