Ambassador Douglas Kmiec’s lecture about the role of Catholicism in the political sphere on the evening of Thursday, October 25, was both informational and passionate. In introducing Ambassador Kmiec, Professor Tom Poundstone articulated that Kmiec’s ideas are not only at the heart of the reconciliation of politics and religion, but for the heart as well.
Ambassador Kmiec’s lecture was centered on themes from his latest book entitled America Undecided, which discusses the 2012 election form a Catholic, social justice perspective. In his opinion, the problem that Catholics really must face in the upcoming election is not as simple as being pro-choice or pro-life or focusing on any one issue, but instead a concern for the whole of humanity. The United States, and much of the world as a whole, is being infected with the “cancer of libertarianism”, the belief that every man is in it for himself. Kmiec believes that the country was never founded on such an individualistic set of principles, but that it has always been more in line with the Catholic idea of community. Even amongst the very first colonists of our country, there was an understanding that they would not all go their own way and fight for themselves alone once they landed on shore. The colonists believed that they needed to support each other to ensure the success of their entire community. For Catholics, this communal love of one’s neighbor is absolutely central and should be of the utmost concern in the 2012 Presidential Election. For Kmiec, President Obama is absolutely the candidate who embodies these values.
Kmiec ended his lecture with a prayer from President Obama, “that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the belief of each with the common good of all.”