A Public Letter to Archbishop Chaput

Doug Kmiec writes a public letter

My dear Archbishop Charles,

I want to thank you publicly for your thoughtful inquiry into how best to build a culture of life in the United States in the coming years. Seeing a small snippet of a YouTube discussion of yours brought back happy memories of sharing a table with you during my deanship at CUA. You are as well spoken a defender of the faith as I remember. That said, you and I do differ on the intent of Cardinal Ratzinger’s instruction of ”proportionate reasons” and as related concepts receive elaboration in Faithful Citizenship. I am fearful that your interpretation will lead many in parishes around the country to neglect what they can do to build up the culture of life through the promotion of the social gospel in its fullest sense. You, I know, are apprehensive about emphasis upon the social gospel that neglects taking steps to align the law with the protection of life. In my judgment, there is no reason these two are in opposition even as the candidates have made them so each in their own way. This requires careful evaluation in the Conference of Bishops.

Whoever wins tomorrow, I hope you and I might collaborate to enliven in our parishes across the country, perhaps with the help of our mutual friend, the Very Rev. David O’Connell, C.M., the energetic president of The Catholic University of America, a template for protecting ”Life to the Full,” that would include devoting the resources of parishes to the support of women facing an unwanted pregnancy, finding ways to increase adoption over abortion, and leading a national discussion on the prospect of reviving a Human Life Amendment, which I believe is the only way the law will meet the expectations you have for it.

I regret some commentators chose the method of the ”dock-side bully” in an effort to gain political points for their favored man. Intemperate language and hyperbolic argumentation may play well on the blogs or in one-sided think tanks, or even now, regrettably, on university faculties that should know better. We remain brothers in the faith who know full well that nothing is impossible in Christ.

It is my prayer that we will draw upon the common ground we share to strengthen the respect for life in the coming months and years.

With respect and in gratitude for your past and I hope continuing friendship,

Doug

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