Now that President Trump has made Judge Brett Kavanaugh his choice to succeed Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court, the push for consent from the U.S. Senate has begun. Even before any name was put forward, there was harsh criticism from Democrats who were ready to oppose anyone nominated by this president.
Judge Kavanaugh is an active Catholic and we hope that his faith does not become a point of contention as it did when Judge Amy Barrett was nominated for the Circuit Court of Appeals.
Some Democrats questioned whether Barrett would allow her Catholic faith play too big a role in her decisions. As you might recall, she was told that the “dogma lives loudly in you,” as if that is a bad thing!
Kavanaugh is active in the church as a Catholic Charities volunteer and a CYO coach. When his name was announced, in the front row was Msgr. John Enzler, his former pastor.
The fact is that there is no contradiction between the finest of American principles and Catholic dogma. Since Al Smith ran for president in 1928, the charge that a Roman Catholic would allow the faith to influence his decisions for the public good has created a severe bifurcation in many politicians.
Noted theologian Father John Courtney Murray recognized the reality and goodness of pluralism in the U.S. and recognized the contribution of people of faith from all creeds and denominations to the public sector.
“If society is to be at all a rational process, some set of principles must motivate the general participation of all religious groups,” he wrote.
The addition of people of faith to the public sector is not a hindrance to the public good, but a service. Our personal faith, our ecclesial adherence must motivate us to make a difference in the world. It is not wrong for “the dogma to live loudly” in us; in fact, it is quite the opposite.
Pray and hope that Judge Brett Kavanaugh will be given a fair chance by both political parties in the confirmation process. The last thing this country needs right now is another circus-like atmosphere that surrounded the hearings of Judge Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas.
Certainly, the faith life of the nominee should not be an impediment. Faith is not a deterrence to good judgement. In faith is true wisdom.