(Clayton)I attended the talk as well, but haven't blogged about it yet. The presentation was intellectually disappointing and morally disturbing.
I don't doubt (Kmiec's) sincerity, but I do believe he has deceived himself, and it's sobering to think of the way he may have caused others to stumble.
He spent the first ten minutes praising the Vincentian Fathers (who hosted the event) by telling friendly stories about their community, the priest after whom the lecture series was named, etc.
The he talked about how he first met Barack, and how he had challenged him on several occasions about the life issues, but from there it devolved into a personal testimony about Barack's greatness. He had three stories, each of which I found not only unimpressive, but actually unsettling. One story had to do with Barack's response to some evangelical asking him if he thought Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life. Barack shook his head and said no. When asked for clarification, Barack said, "I would say that Jesus is MY way, but not THE way" and went on to say that he couldn't fathom that his mother, a virtuous non-believer, would not be going to heaven. Kmiec was quite taken by this response to the "fundamentalist."
Kmiec is, quite literally, an apostle for Barack. And he gave the impression that those who disagree with Barack just don't understand him, while he, as an eyewitness, can testify on his behalf....
....In response to a question, he did say that if Pope Benedict were to clarify his note about "proportionate reasons," and told him that he (Kmiec) had interpreted it wrongly, he would recant his position. But why should he require such a thing? I wish he demanded as much of Barack as he seems to demand of Benedict.
We all wish that Clayton. We all do!