Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, PA issued a statement this week disapproving of Seton Hill University’s invitation to Dr. Douglas Kmiec.
Dr. Douglas Kmiec has publicly endorsed the campaign of Senator Barack Obama, and has spent time touring the States with the Democratic presidential candidate. His recent book, entitled “Can a Catholic Support Him?” argues that Catholics can vote for the radically pro-abortion candidate in good conscience. Kmiec was denied Holy Communion by a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and has been widely castigated by Catholic leaders for his public advocacy of the Obama campaign.
The Catholic Liberal Arts institution in Greensburg, PA, which also has “pro-McCain” links on its website, did not inform Bishop Brandt of its intentions to host the professor. The bishop only learned of the invitation on October 21st. When pro-life protesters of the speech appealed to the University on the grounds that Kmiec’s “rhetoric is against Catholic Church teaching,” Seton Hill University officials reportedly defended the campus appearance.
Bishop Brandt has been outspoken about abortion issues in the past. His first pastoral letter after his inauguration in 2004 addressed public officials and their position on abortion.
He wrote: “The Catholic Church alone determines what it means to be Catholic, what the Church’s core doctrinal holdings are, and what is required to be a Catholic in good standing. No institution of higher education, no political party, no board of trustees, no think tank, no group of theologians, no newspaper, no individual, no one – no matter how well intentioned – does this except the Catholic Church itself through its official teaching authority.”
The bishop told the Catholic News Agency that Kmiec “distorts Catholic teaching by making it synonymous with his own personal views.” He states that it is inappropriate to grant someone like Kmiec the honor of a platform at any Catholic institution.
To vote pro-abortion habitually, wrote the bishop in 2004, involves “an established pattern of public rejection of a core teaching of the Church,” and a person who does so “is engaged in public cooperation with a grave moral evil.”