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THE SCANDAL OF THE EDWARD MOORE KENNEDY FUNERAL IN BOSTON

August 31, 2009

WHERE DO I BEGIN

There was so much wrong with the funeral liturgy celebrated in Boston last Saturday for Senator Edward Moore Kennedy that I hardly know where to begin.  Aside from the impropriety of such a grandiose celebration for one of the country’s most notorious dissident Catholics, the ‘celebration’ was filled with liturgical errors and transgressions against the General Instruction of the Roman Missal which governs every celebration of the Church’s liturgy.  I am afraid that if I, a bishop, were to go into the details of the scandal it would only add to the scandal and so I will let the laity speak to it.

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FIRST, HOW WIDESPREAD WAS THE SCANDAL?

On Friday evening (August 28), CNN’s coverage of Senator Kennedy’s memorial, Ted Kennedy Remembered (7-10:09p), attracted 1.929 million total viewers and 475k in the 25-54 demo. MSNBC’s coverage (7-10:20p) posted 1.377 million in total viewers and 310k among the demo, while FNC (7-10:20p) had 1.342 million and 274k, respectively. On Saturday, CNN’s coverage of the Kennedy funeral mass (10a-1:30p) averaged 2.339 million total viewers and 619k in the demo, while MSNBC had 1.096 million total viewers and 270k 25-54 and FNC posted 1.676 million in total viewers and 305k in the demo. Coverage continued into the evening with the Kennedy motorcade in Washington, D.C. and the burial at Arlington, with CNN (4-8:30 pm) registering 2.913 million total viewers and 692k 25-54. FNC (5-8:27p) posted 1.627 million total viewers and 348k 25-54, while MSNBC (5-8:32p) had 1.342 million and 335k, respectively.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Some non-canonical reflections on Kennedy’s funeral

by Dr. Edward Peters, JD, PhD., Professor of Canon Law at Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, Michigan

The best that can be said about Ted Kennedy’s funeral is, It could have been worse.

The celebrant, who strove to avoid masculine references to God in the liturgy (his verbal substitutions plainly clashing with the voices of others sticking to the approved texts), managed to forget the Mysterium Fidei during the Eucharistic Prayer, and later asked the congregation join him “in the words Our Father taught us.”

The homily, which started well enough but steadily deteriorated, fell into various holes like (I’m quoting from memory): “the fruits of [Kennedy's] work in politics well-prepared him for God’s kingdom” (Lord, I hope that’s not what he really meant); and “Kennedy tied his faith to justice in the land” (good grief, justice? for millions of unborn babies in the land? was that the fruit of Teddy’s faith?); and “we are confident that Kennedy has entered into the new dwelling of God” (maybe you are, Father).

The kid’s intercessions came out as unabashed advertisements for Democratic Party policy goals.

Mercifully, all the major networks used a single video feed, and pretty obviously somebody got to somebody ahead of time and ordered “Don’t, under any circumstances, show the Communion lines!”, so we were spared wincing as this famous Catholic pro-abort or that approached the Eucharist.

And finally, whodathunkit?, President Obama’s eulogy, though offered in violation of liturgical law, was actually the most palatable of what turned out to be three eulogies offered in violation of liturgical law, the first, Teddy Jr.’s, being maudlin, but mostly coherent if at times inappropriately partisan, while the second, that of Rep. Pat Kennedy, was embarrassingly pathetic and even included a joke about “that damn Kennedy” from the sanctuary. Sigh.

But what, in the end, most struck me, through whole ceremony, was how oblivious all the participants seemed to be (again, with the sole exception of Obama, who at least made one veiled reference to Kennedy’s “public faults”, and who was the only speaker to offer a prayer for Teddy’s soul), how oblivious, I say, all the participants were to Ted Kennedy’s disgraceful and chronic failings to defend the natural right to life (e.g., abortion, embryonic stem cell research), his refusal to protect the natural institution of marriage lately under such attack, and his bad example on a host of other issues of importance to Catholics and to the country. While a funeral is no place to rehearse, say, a man’s role in the death of a beautiful young woman, such events and conduct should have, I think, instilled some restraint in the rush to proclaim the man’s accomplishments. (As for those “accomplishments”, well, if one is wedded to the idea of a gigantic state, then Teddy’s accomplishments were admittedly many. But if you’re not enamored of statism, one might say that the damage Teddy helped inflict on the nation was great.) Instead, one speaker after another gushed on and on about Ted.

The whole experience left me less hopeful about “dialogue” on life issues (not that I was very hopeful to begin with): we are, it seems clear, talking to people who have no sense of the enormity of the crimes being committed daily against the innocent. None. None.

So, as I said, the best one can say about Ted Kennedy’s Catholic funeral (

to which, yes, he had a right, in accord with law) is, it could have been worse.

I suppose.

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In Memoriam

Kennedy Catholicism

By Daniel J. Flynn on 8.31.09 @ 6:09AM

THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR

“I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness,” Ted Kennedy wrote to Pope Benedict XVI, in a letter dramatically read by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick at the senator’s burial, “and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings.”

Though Kennedy’s words may strike detractors as a preposterous revision of history, it’s worth considering that it’s often the sinner rather than the saint who finds strength from the church. In a life that endured the violent deaths of four siblings, three miscarried children, and countless scandals, Ted Kennedy may have indeed, particularly during his prolonged illness, turned to his faith. Who, but God, can judge the content of a man’s soul?

But it’s not Senator Abortion’s 11th hour effort to transform himself into Senator Catholic that has the media up in arms. “Why couldn’t the pope have replied in his own name?” Sam Donaldson incredulously asked on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. “I was disappointed.” Time magazine found it noteworthy that a shepherd with a flock of more than 1 billion would respond in “silence” to the senator from Massachusetts’s missive.

In 1939, Pope Pius XII issued the Eucharist to seven-year-old Ted Kennedy, who, biographer Joe McGinniss claims, was “the first American citizen ever to receive his first holy communion from a pope.” In the seventy years since, Ted Kennedy’s relationship with the Catholic Church has been problematic, to say the least. From receiving communion at Mary Jo Kopechne’s funeral, to procuring an annulment for a marriage of 25 years that had produced three grown children, to revelations during the William Kennedy Smith rape trial that the senator had woke his son and nephew on Good Friday to instigate the ill-fated carousing in Palm Beach’s bars, Ted Kennedy hasn’t exactly acted as a model Catholic.

Highlighting this is the other major story — the transformation of the Kennedy Compound into a museum — to emerge from the Kennedy funeral. “Rose [Kennedy] wanted to turn the place over to the Benedictine monks before she died,” Benedict Fitzgerald, the late Kennedy matriarch’s personal attorney, told author Ed Klein for his book Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died. “I drew up the legal papers for her on my front porch. But when Ted found out about it, he ripped the thing in half. There was no way he was going to have the place turned into a monastery.” Instead, as Fox News reported, “The Kennedy compound in Hyannis, Mass. will be converted into an educational center and museum as a tribute to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.”

With Boston archbishop Sean O’Malley offering a blessing at the senator’s funeral, and the former archbishop of Washington, D.C. presiding over the burial, many of Kennedy’s political antagonists are outraged, not that the Church was silent, but that it so loudly honored a man who fought to undermine church teaching.

“No rational person can reasonably be expected to take seriously Catholic opposition to abortion when a champion of the Culture of Death, who repeatedly betrayed the Faith of his baptism, is lauded and extolled by priests and prelates in a Marian basilica,” C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, explained on Saturday. “This morning’s spectacle is evidence of the corruption which pervades the Catholic Church in the United States.”


THOUGH TED KENNEDY never won the role his supporters had scripted for him, those emotionally invested in “President Ted Kennedy” acted as though he had. Massachusetts’s senior senator often played along, compiling a staff that dwarfed those of his colleagues and acting as a shadow president for various liberal constituencies outside of power in a conservative age. The prolonged made-for-TV funeral, which traveled from Hyannis to Boston and then from Capitol Hill to Arlington National Cemetery, was a mourning event fit for a president. But Ted Kennedy was a senator, not a president.

That fact alone, leaving aside Kennedy’s friction with the church over abortion, gay marriage, and other hot-button issues, should explain why the pope added no further fuel to the public relations juggernaut that has dominated the American news cycle for almost a week. Those generationally, geographically, or politically tethered to Camelot mythology are befuddled why others, particularly the pope, haven’t embraced their delusion that the man whom they had wished to be president should be mourned as a president — rather than a parochial figure infused with special meaning to baby boomers, New Englanders, and the Democratic Party’s left wing.

“Here in Rome, Ted Kennedy is nobody,” a Vatican official bluntly told Time. “He’s a legend with his own constituency. If he had influence in the past, it was only with the Archdiocese of Boston, and that eventually disappeared too.”

“Running against a Kennedy is almost like running against the church,” one Massachusetts pol observed during Ted Kennedy’s initial run for Senate in 1962. But after Ted Kennedy enlisted as a combatant in the culture wars against his church, few conflate Kennedyism with Catholicism as they did a half century ago.

Daniel J. Flynn, the author of A Conservative History of the American Left, blogs at www.flynnfiles.com.

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Kennedy’s Letter to Pope: “I’ve never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings” of Catholic Faith

Spoke of Support for Conscience Protections for Catholic in Healthcare

By John-Henry Westen

BOSTON, August 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The contents of the letter from Senator Ted Kennedy delivered to Pope Benedict XVI by President Barack Obama in July were made public at Kennedy’s burial today.  Former Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick read excerpts from the letter and a response from the Vatican during the burial service.

Despite his advocacy for abortion and homosexual ‘marriage’, Kennedy told the Pope: “”I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings.”

Kennedy also wrote that he opposed the death penalty and also that he supported conscience rights in the healthcare bill which would permit Catholic doctors to refuse to participate in abortion without sanction. “I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health care field and will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone,” he wrote.

Cardinal McCarrick only read selected portions of the Vatican reply in which the Pope assured Kennedy of his prayers and imparted him and his family a blessing. (Reading of the letter starts at 6:30 in the video)

Kennedy’s letter:

“Most Holy Father, I asked President Obama to personally hand deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me, and I am deeply grateful to him.

“I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God’s blessings as you lead our Church and inspire our world during these challenging times.

“I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines. I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago, and, although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life.

“I have been blessed to be a part of a wonderful family, and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained, nurtured and provided solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path.

“I want you to know, Your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office, I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I’ve worked to welcome the immigrant, fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. Those are the issues that have motivated me and been the focus of my work as a United States Senator.

“I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health care field and will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone.

“I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings. I continue to pray for God’s blessings on you and our Church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me.”

Exceprt of Pope Benedict XVI’s reply:

“The Holy Father has read the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and has asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness. He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of the universal Church.

“His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the Risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life.

“Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord.”

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy Funeral Mass

by Mary

FreedomEden.Blogspot.com

Watching the funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy yesterday, and reading media reports of the proceedings, I was struck by how awkward and over-the-top some of the coverage was.

As expected, some of the comments made on the air during the televised “event” were a bit much.

TV Newser has assembled some quotes from the coverage of the funeral.

I completely understand why the family permitted the funeral Mass of such a prominent public figure as Ted Kennedy to be televised. It allows millions of people to take part beyond the relatively few that filled the basilica. Still, I’m not entirely comfortable with the spectacle nature of these occasions.

As a Catholic, I think the significance of the Mass gets lost amid the often lame commentary from anchors and pundits, the celebrity sightings, the inappropriate political speculation about who will fill Kennedy’s senate seat and the impact his death will have on health care reform.

The New York Times offered some rather odd observations in its account.

At the blessing of the Eucharist, the Kennedy family kneels — an old-school Catholic tradition. On the other side of the aisle, so do Vice President Biden and his wife while Mr. Obama and his wife sit.

The “Ave Maria” — sung by Susan Graham here — draws tears from Kara Kennedy, the senator’s daughter, a lingering sadness and gulp from Vicki Kennedy, and as the cameras pan in, former President Bill Clinton seems equally moved.

“Old-school Catholic tradition”?

I do it every week.

The play-by-play aspect of the coverage somewhat diminishes the beauty of the Mass of the Resurrection.

Who’s gulping? Who’s crying and when? Who’s moved?

It’s so intrusive. I can’t imagine having cameras and reporters document my behavior and reactions at the funeral Mass of a loved one.

Moreover, I don’t like the liturgy being analyzed from a secular perspective, without explanation as to the significance to the faithful of what’s taking place.

I was surprised that Rev. Mark Hession’s homily didn’t place a greater deal of emphasis on the Resurrection, eternal life, and Jesus’ triumph over death, opting instead for pretty much another run-down of Kennedy’s life. Fr. Hession did provide insight into the experience of ministering to the Kennedys, but the broader message of our faith took a bit of a back seat.

It could be that this most powerful and poignant rite and the spiritual peace and assurance that comes when celebrating the Mass of the Resurrection just don’t translate well on TV.

I hope the Kennedy family and other mourners found comfort in the Mass, and their grief was tempered by the promise of eternal life and the presence of Jesus encountered during the liturgy. If that was their experience, then that’s all that really matters.

To me, Obama’s eulogy seemed distant. I think that was probably due to the fact that he made his remarks after Ted Kennedy’s sons, Ted Kennedy, Jr. and Patrick Kennedy, each spoke about their dad.

Naturally, their tributes included very personal stories. Although certainly acknowledging their father’s public role, they were speaking mostly as children dealing with the loss of a parent, a pivotal moment in any individual’s life.

They expressed the love they have for their dad, and each other, beautifully.

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A Catholic funeral for a pro-abortion Catholic

August 31, 9:28 AM
Detroit Traditionalist Catholic Examiner
Clare Kolewski

Senator Edward Kennedy was buried Saturday in a flurry of fanfare topped only by Michael Jackson. Admirers stood in line until the late hours of the night to catch just one more glimpse of the “Lion of the Senate.” Tears of grief filled the eyes of those who lined the streets to pay their respects while high-profile politicians sang his praises in eulogy after eulogy. This is the picture (left) of a man of power, a man “of the people,”— described by John Kerry as a “gifted artist and an incurable romantic.” It has been reported that Mr. Kerry became “emotional” when talking about his vision of Kennedy in heaven, on a schooner with his brothers.

ABORTION
There was more than one “face” to Senator Kennedy, however. The picture to the right—as gruesome and horrifying as it is—was another side of the smiling Irish Catholic. His charming smile and clever rhetoric cannot hide the evil that was such a glaring part of his beliefs.
”He changed the course of history,” said Kerry, citing Kennedy’s stamp on legislation that created the Voting Rights Act, Martin Luther King Day, health insurance for children and laws protecting women’s rights and the disabled” (Dharapak, C. [2009, August 29]. Political Friends and Foes Eulogize Sen. Ted Kennedy. ABC News.
DIVORCE
Divorced Catholics are not permitted to receive the Blessed Sacrament. Pre-Vatican II councils have been very clear as to the ramifications of divorce and remarriage (i.e. excommunication). Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy may have secretly obtained an annulment from the Novus Ordo church. This can be neither confirmed nor denied at this time. If, in fact, there was no “annulment,” then Senator Kennedy has been committing adultery and living in mortal sin.

ADULTERY
On July 18, 1969, Edward Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne left a “party” together, after which her body was discovered by passersby in Poucha Pond the following day. Only God knows the truth and only He can pass judgment.
This article, however, is not about Senator Edward Kennedy. It is about the abomination and slap in God’s face by the Novus Ordo “religious” who put another thorn into Christ’s crown by betraying Him for fear of offending someone. Perhaps it is not fear at all; perhaps it is that whole “God never sends people to Hell” thing. It is difficult to say.
Because the funeral was on nearly every channel, I found myself curiously gawking at the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the lying in repose of his body. I was very impressed by the rigid discipline of the servicemen and the ceremonial manner in which they respectfully stood guard. Then I saw John Kerry walk in, stop in front of the casket and make the Sign of the Cross. Click! That was it; I was done.
The rest of the weekend was spent watching cartoons and re-runs because I could not bear to witness the hypocrisy that I knew was about to unfold. The hair stood up on the back of my neck, knowing that these pro-abortion “Catholics” were going to righteously approach the Blessed Sacrament and some “bishop” was going to give it to them.
LIBERAL CARDINAL SEAN O’MALLEY
Sure enough, the lifelong, pro-abortion Catholic was given a funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Roxbury, Massachusetts. What tears she (Our Lady) must have shed at the sight of it!
“Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Roxbury, Mass., was filled Saturday morning with the scent of incense and pew upon pew of politicians and dignitaries — including President Obama [Note: the king of infanticide], three former presidents and dozens of lawmakers — who came to pay their respects to a man who spent his life in public service and whose name became synonymous with liberalism for an entire generation.”
Bishops were not the only religious presiding over the sacrilege, but the top dog, himself, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who praised Kennedy as a man who had lived a “life of faith and prayer” and “compassion and service.”

COMMENT BY A JESUIT PRIEST:
The following was written by a Jesuit priest on the blog, “What the Cardinals Believe”:
• Cardinal O’Malley’s decision to attend the funeral is large hearted, compassionate, pastoral, sensitive and, above all, Christian. In this overheated environment, when some in the church are ready to condemn and anathematize. . .[NOTE: There’s that old “don’t judge” guilt trip that the devil uses]
• . . . the calm presence of the leader of the Boston archdiocese at the funeral of a man—. . .though the cardinal fiercely disagreed with him on many things—[NOTE: But apparently does not have the courage to stand up for God]
• . . .who’s led a life of faith, is something that places our church in the best possible light. [NOTE: This is a blatant sign of how deeply lost the Jesuits have become.]
• Kennedy’s parish priest noted the senator’s deep faith; his children and grandchildren noted his service for the poor; his biographer has spoken of his love of the Gospels, most especially the Sermon on the Mount [NOTE: How about the Ten Commandments? Thou shalt not kill!]. 
• Cardinal O’Malley has been clear about his strong opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, his simple presence at the funeral shows his support of forgiveness [NOTE: And abortion], 
• . . .compassion and that quality perhaps most missing in today’s church: mercy [NOTE: And there’s the “God never sends people to Hell thing”…]

OH GIVE ME A BREAK!
In the middle of the “mass” one of the senator’s grandsons came to the microphone to do his “We pray to the Lord thing” that the Novus Ordo church does. This brave little ten-year-old (or so)—and obviously prompted— boy said:
For what my Grandpa called, “the cause of his life” as he said so often in every part of this land that every American will have decent quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege—we pray to the Lord.
They are using the poor dead guy’s funeral to push their liberal agenda! PUH-LEEZ!

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

The funeral and the letter

by Carl Olson

Ignatius Review . com

Sunday, 30 August 09

Dr. Ed Peters, who watched the Kennedy funeral on television, writes:

But what, in the end, most struck me, through whole ceremony, was how oblivious all the participants seemed to be (again, with the sole exception of Obama, who at least made one veiled reference to Kennedy’s “public faults”, and who was the only speaker to offer a prayer for Teddy’s soul), how oblivious, I say, all the participants were to Ted Kennedy’s disgraceful and chronic failings to defend the natural right to life (e.g., abortion, embryonic stem cell research), his refusal to protect the natural institution of marriage lately under such attack, and his bad example on a host of other issues of importance to Catholics and to the country. While a funeral is no place to rehearse, say, a man’s role in the death of a beautiful young woman, such events and conduct should have, I think, instilled some restraint in the rush to proclaim the man’s accomplishments. (As for those “accomplishments”, well, if one is wedded to the idea of a gigantic state, then Teddy’s accomplishments were admittedly many. But if you’re not enamored of statism, one might say that the damage Teddy helped inflict on the nation was great.) Instead, one speaker after another gushed on and on about Ted.

Hardly surprising, given the generally adulatory tone of many (if not most) newspaper columns and reports. Peters notes that “we are, it seems clear, talking to people who have no sense of the enormity of the crimes being committed daily against the innocent. None. None.” Of particular interest in that regard is an excerpt from Kennedy’s letter to Pope Benedict XVI:

I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provides solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path. I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war.

“Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator. I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith.

Even Ted, it appears, gushed on and on about Ted—to the Pope! And it also seems clear (to echo Peters) that he either lacked a sense of the enormity of the crimes being committed against the innocent, which is difficult to imagine, or he wasn’t willing to admit them squarely. As a sinner, I fully understand how badly humans fail and how we as sinners find ways to justify or explain away our sins. But, also as a sinner, I simply don’t understand how a man who long supported—consistently, ardently, proudly—abortion, contraceptives, “gay marriage”, embryonic stell research, and the staggering growth and expansion of statism, could say he has “always tried to be a faithful Catholic.”

Posted by Carl Olson on Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

Comments

This will probably get lost among all the other comments, but I will say it anyway, and have said it before on other sites the last few days.

We all wish Sen. Kennedy had given legislative support to pro-Life and to pro-Marriage efforts. We all wish his personal life had been other than what the press reported it to be. Maybe it’s important to remind ourselves that God sometimes permits evil in order for a greater good to happen. It’s also important to remember that we may never know what that greater good might be.

We do not know what went on his mind and soul at the moment of death, and what he was thinking or praying. We don’t know what he said to his confessor. St. Jean Marie Vianney once said to a woman whose husband committed suicide by jumping off a bridge (she was terrified that her husband’s soul was in Hell), “Remember, there is a distance from the bridge to the water,” meaning that her husband could have repented of what he had done in that moment of time. There were several weeks between the time Sen. Kennedy wrote to the Pope and his death. He had time.

I can only speak for myself. I have done plenty to offend God, and have many reasons to hope for his mercy. I am not about to judge Sen. Kennedy, out of the fear of God.

About Sen. Kennedy being allowed a public funeral, and the eulogies, and on and on, that’s not really the business of anyone commenting here (the Cardinal Archbishop excepted, if he ever comments). Our business as Christians is to forgive Sen. Kennedy for the harm he did, to give thanks to God for the good he did (and he did do some good), and to pray for his soul.

It’s the Hour of Mercy as I type this. Seems like a good intention for the Divine Mercy chaplet today.

Posted by: bill | Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 01:16 PM

Reading the excerpt, I am reminded of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. We all do well to remember that when we stand in the holy place of God, we should stand at a distance, head bowed, beating our breast and saying, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

I am sorry that Mr. Kennedy had no pastor to tell him that all his “good works,” in the sight of Christ, are as filthy rags. And that his heart was deceitful above all things.

Posted by: Ellen | Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 01:32 PM

Nothing that happened at the funeral surprised me.

What the Pastor and the Cardinal should have said, once the judgment was made that Senator Kennedy had a right to a church funeral, is hard for me to figure out. Maybe, in addition to talking about the good things done by Senator Kennedy, they should have mentioned his signs of repentance for the grave evils he did through his political career? Unless of course there were no indications he was repentant for those things. Certainly, there seem to be no such signs in his letter to the Pope.

However, nothing the Pastor or Cardinal did say gave serious indication that there was, from a Catholic perspective, a massive problem with Senator Kennedy’s public stance on, and enormous political contribution to, the forty million legal, state-supported acts of killing of innocent unborn children by their mothers, aided and abetted by doctors and others. Nor was there a clear indication of the seriousness of the problem caused by the Senator’s public support for experimentation on, and killing of, embryonic human beings. Nor did we hear about the wrongness of the Senator’s endorsement of same-sex marriage.

We did hear how the Senator’s political work prepared him for his heavenly reward. Really? All of it? None of it posed any problem?

Based on what we did hear and see, it would have been completely reasonable for a viewer to infer that the Senator’s stances on these issues were acceptable for a Catholic. Indeed, it would be unreasonable to infer anything else from the proceedings.

Now perhaps an internationally broadcast Catholic funeral for a man, with his grieving family and friends present, is not an appropriate place for the Pastor or the Cardinal to raise the aforementioned issues, including the dead man’s repentance (if it happened). If not, then either those issues really aren’t as important as they are otherwise touted as being or, if they are that important, then church law ought to be such as not to allow a man with Senator Kennedy’s public record to have a church funeral–at least not a public one. It’s hard to see how either one or the other must not be the case.

With respect to the Pope’s response to Senator Kennedy’s letter, I hope the Pope said something privately to Senator Kennedy, for Kennedy’s sake. I can understand why that would be handled privately. But what about the public scandal of the apparent ecclesiastical indifference to the Senator’s manifestly, objectively gravely sinful actions? Who will address that? Who will address the exploitation of Senator Kennedy’s funeral and related matters by those who want to confuse the Church’s witness on the Catholic politician’s responsibilities regarding the right to life for the unborn and upholding marriage? How about the millions of television viewers and others who read about the funeral who will not unreasonably draw from the funeral proceedings the conclusion that Senator Kennedy’s positions on abortion, experimentation on embryonic human beings, and same-sex marriage are, in the end, alright for Catholics to embrace? Do they count?

Posted by: Mark Brumley | Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 01:44 PM

About Sen. Kennedy being allowed a public funeral, and the eulogies, and on and on, that’s not really the business of anyone commenting here (the Cardinal Archbishop excepted, if he ever comments).

Of course it is. It was a public event, conducted by public officials of the Catholic Church, according to church law. We can see the effects, for good or evil, of the event on others. We can charitably and thoughtfully discuss the event, the circumstances under which it was conducted, and so on.

Our business as Christians is to forgive Sen. Kennedy for the harm he did, to give thanks to God for the good he did (and he did do some good), and to pray for his soul.

That’s part of our business, yes. It is also part of our business to learn from his mistakes, avoid making them ourselves, and help others to avoid making them.

Posted by: Mark Brumley | Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 02:03 PM

Bill wrote: “Our business as Christians is to forgive Sen. Kennedy for the harm he did, to give thanks to God for the good he did (and he did do some good), and to pray for his soul.”

Should we forgive others who do not ask for it?

Should we forgive someone for a crime committed against a third person?

What place do I have to offer forgiveness to person X for his crime or sin against person Y?

Or am I forgiving him for his sin against the Church? Isn’t that a priest’s job?

Am I forgiving him for his sin against society? Do I have that authority?

Once again, just asking: Is forgiveness the right word here? What forgiveness can I give to someone who did not ask for it, did not seek it (at least in public), and continued to work for things that showed he would keep committing the same act/sin/crime? I am just not sure what authority (or presumption) I have to offer forgiveness in this situation when the person in question did not seek it.

Prayers? Of course. Forgiveness? I am a bit unclear if that is precisely what I am supposed to do. It seems a bit presumptuous. But perhaps I am wrong. I am open to being corrected.

Posted by: W. | Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 04:00 PM

There are iconic signals from leaders that can be totally inadvertent and one of those was when Pope Benedict congradulated Obama on his election and at that, he did so sooner than papally normal regarding presidents…and twice…phone and telegram.
Benedict did not mean such congradulations as a signal that he countenanced abortion but it had the effect on Catholic leaders of throwing off their instincts as to what to do in social situations touching on this issue and touching on public figures who supported abortion. Benedict’s prior seeming warmth to Sarkosy, another abortion supporter, likewise threw off the instincts of Catholic leaders who must deal with such high profile people.
The results are things like Nortre Dame and a Mass where any severe themes or words of Christ are suppressed though probably would have been mentioned during a like Mass in all centuries prior to the 20th if the decedent in question had partaken in encouraging the killing of pre borns. But now creating a nice image of Church as loving in the soft sense only predominates and it predominated in Benedict’s warmth to Sarkosy and Obama and other Church leaders follow the signals they see or think they see from above them.

Posted by: bill bannon | Monday, August 31, 2009 at 05:54 AM

Sen. Kennedy was led astray at the Hyannis Port conclave. The bishop did nothing, or not enough. And here we are.

Posted by: Dan Deeny | Monday, August 31, 2009 at 08:14 AM

There are already many good comments here and I feel as if I can add nothing more than emphasis. I feel as if certain elements of the Church were duped into mediating a big lie.

Ted Kennedy’s passing became a secular catechesis on the dignity of the human person. You can be a celebrated humanitarian while at the same time working tirelessly for the destruction of the unborn.

Would he have received so many accolades for his care for the “least of these” if he had instead singled out for destruction a particular race instead of a particular age group? Of course not.

Posted by: David Charkowsky | Monday, August 31, 2009 at 09:21 AM

W.: About forgiveness. Legislative support for abortion and for same-sex “marriage” injures the Body of Christ. It is perfectly appropriate, not at all presumptuous, and in keeping with what Jesus told us we are to do, to forgive the Senator for the harm he did. Whether he asked for it is beside the point. I don’t recall any of those who crucified Christ asking to be forgiven, and yet we have the first of His last words on the cross: Father, forgive them. And we have the words of the prayer Jesus taught us: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us. No qualifiers in either of those statements.

That doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed and saddened by the harm that Senator Kennedy did, when he could have done so much more to build up the body of Christ (I am thankful for the good he did do), and it doesn’t mean that I’m not disappointed that he never publicly said he was wrong.

We have an opportunity to perform an act of charity by forgiving wrongs, and an act of mercy by offering the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3 pm on any day for Senator Kennedy, and for President Obama, Vice President Biden, Rep. Pelosi, and all the other leaders who continue to injure the Body of Christ. We have had plenty of messages from Jesus and his Mother in recent years, telling us to pray for sinners and to perform acts of mercy and charity. Don’t waste this opportunity.

Posted by: bill | Monday, August 31, 2009 at 09:57 AM

I also was surprised at the self-congratulatory tone of the letter, and incredulous at his claim to have always respected the fundamental teachings of the Church. That he could say something like that in a letter to the pope is astonishing. He apparently was terribly confused or was so used of thinking of hiimself as a great man, that he convinced himself that abortion did not matter.

It would be nice if America could take a break from the Kennedys for a while.

Posted by: Jack | Monday, August 31, 2009 at 10:57 AM

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Teddy Kennedy Catholic funeral embraces LGBT Community

August 30, 4:30 PM
Bisexual Examiner
Sheela Lambert

Senator Edward Kennedy

End of an Era
I was four years old when Ted Kennedy’s brother, Senator John Kennedy was elected President…the first President I was really aware of. I was seven when President Kennedy was shot, a traumatizing event for our family and the whole country. The news reels of that assassination are burned into my brain. I remember Bobby Kennedy’s inspirational run for President and the shocking news, and news coverage, of his assassination. Ted Kennedy, entered the Senate when I was six and has been there for most of my life. Since I was born, one of the three Kennedy brothers* was always in office. Now there are none.
I am not the CSPAN junkie my father was. But I have tuned in when LGBT rights issues were being debated. Ted Kennedy was always someone I could count on to make an impassioned and inspiring speech in favor of our rights. In fact, I have stood up and cheered in my living room, after some of the speeches he has made. I have always counted on him to fight for causes I believed in, like civil rights, minimum wage increases, health care, immigration reform, disability rights and voting against the Iraq war but passing legislation to get body armor and armored vehicles for the soldiers who had to fight there but were sent ill equipped. According to President Obama, “For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.” Dubbed the “Liberal Lion” of the Senate, he was one of the last liberals in national politics.
I have been riveted to the coverage of Teddy Kennedy’s death and celebration of his life all week. I have learned many things about him I didn’t know, like the fact that he started fighting for universal health care back in the 60’s, his ability to reach out across the aisle to get legislation passed and his deep friendships with Republican Senators he spent much of his time fighting on the Senate floor. But I was astonished yesterday, when even during his funeral, he was fighting for the disenfranchised people of this country, including the LGBT community.
At the beginning of the funeral mass, primarily younger members of the Kennedy family, grandchildren, nieces and nephews went up to the podium to offer prayers, mostly taken from Teddy’s own speeches.
Jack Schlossberg, Caroline Kennedy’s 16 yr old son, offered this LGBT inclusive prayer:
In a renewed season of hope, that my Uncle Teddy envisioned, we will rise to our best ideals and close the book on the old politics of race and gender, group against group and straight against gay. We pray to the Lord.
I wasnt the only person who noticed how unusual it was to hear that at a Catholic Mass. An ABC News commentator noted:
I’m not sure in how many Catholic churches there have been prayers lifted for reconciliation between straights and gays. But I think it appropriate at Senator Kennedy’s funeral mass, given his beliefs, that that prayer went up.
With Teddy Kennedy gone, I worry that our most effective liberal legislator has been removed and wonder what will happen to the health care bill, LGBT rights and our country, without him there to fight for us.

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Monday, August 31, 2009
Kennedy Funeral: Prayer of the Faithful

BY MARY
FREEDOM EDEN  BLOGSPOT . COM
The intercessions read by Kennedy’s grandchildren, nieces, and nephews at Ted Kennedy’s funeral Mass have been the subject of debate. 

Was it inappropriate to have them make such overtly political comments?

Transcript
KATHERINE “KIKI” KENNEDY: Now we pray to the Lord. Not only for Teddy, but for all of us he leaves behind. Among his brothers and sisters, he was the youngest. So now his grandchildren, his younger nieces and nephews, and the youngest child of one of his nieces will offer the intercessions.

Each time, please respond, ‘Lord, hear our prayer.’

Teddy served for 47 years, and he summoned us all to service. And so these intercessions are in his words, for the work of his life is our prayer for our country and our world.

I think it’s important to understand that the Prayer of the Faithful, the intercessions, is part of the Liturgy of the Word in the order of the Mass.

This was not something that was staged expressly for Ted Kennedy’s funeral.
KILEY KENNEDY, granddaughter: For my grandfather’s commitment and persistence, not to outworn values, but to old values that will never wear out. That the poor may be out of political fashion, but they are never without human need. That circumstances may change, but the work of compassion must continue. We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

GRACE ALLEN, granddaughter: For my grandpa’s summons, that we will not in our nation measure human beings by what they cannot do, but instead value them for what they can do. We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

MAX ALLEN, grandson: For what my grandpa called the cause of his life, as he said so often, in every part of this land, that every American will have decent quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege. We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

JAKE SCHLOSSBERG, nephew: For a new season of hope that my Uncle Teddy envisioned where we rise to our best ideals, and close the book on the old politics of race and gender, group against group, and straight against gay. We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

ROBIN LAWFORD, niece: For my Uncle Teddy’s call to keep the promise that all men and women who live here, even strangers and newcomers, can rise no matter what their color, no matter what their place of birth. For workers out of work, students without tuition for college, and families without the chance to own a home. For all Americans seeking a better life in a better land, for all those left out or left behind, we pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

KIM SMITH, niece: For my uncle’s stand against violence, hate, and war, and his belief that peace can be kept through the triumph of justice and the truest justice can come only through the works of peace. We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

ANTHONY SHRIVER, nephew: As my Uncle Teddy once told thousands and millions, ‘May it be said of us, in dark passages and bright days, in the words of Tennyson, that my brothers quoted and loved, that have a special meaning for us now: I am part of all that I have met. Though much is taken, much abides; that which we are, we are; one equal temper of heroic hearts, strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’ We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

RORY KENNEDY, niece: For the joy of my Uncle Teddy’s laughter, the light of his presence, his rare and noble contributions to the human spirit. For his faith that in heaven his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, and all who went before him, will welcome him home. And for all the times to come, when the rest of us will think of him, cuddling affectionately on the boat, surrounded by family as we sailed in the Nantucket Sound. We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

TEDDY KENNEDY II, grandson: For my grandfather’s brave promise last summer that the work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on. We pray to the Lord.

RESPONSE: Lord, hear our prayer.

It is somewhat unusual to refer so blatantly to politics in the Prayer of the Faithful.

But it’s not unusual to pray for the sick and the poor, justice and peace. It’s not unusual to pray for our elected officials, for God to grant them strength and wisdom.

What was a bit much in this case was that it seemed as if the Prayer of the Faithful was being exploited to advance a specific political agenda. I think that was because in some instances the intercessions appeared to be quite partisan, especially in the context of the current heated debate over health care.

Overall, I think the political nature of many of the intercessions come less from the words themselves and more from judging them through the prism of Kennedy’s well known political leanings. It’s a matter of how one interprets them.

I think Kiki Kennedy’s introduction made it clear that the intercessions were adapted from Ted Kennedy’s own words and service. In effect, the work of Kennedy’s life was framed in the prayers; and his grandchildren, nieces, and nephews offering the prayers pointed to a living legacy of service that would be carried on through the subsequent generations. I think the idea was to celebrate Kennedy’s legacy while providing a hopeful message for the future.

Concern and care for the needy, in body and spirit, isn’t a partisan thing. It’s a human thing.

Something worth mentioning–

I think what wasn’t said in the Prayer of the Faithful is as significant as what was said.

One intercession that was notably missing at Kennedy’s funeral was a prayer for the unborn and their mothers. It was a striking omission. The right to health care was mentioned but not the right to life, God’s most precious gift. There was no nod to respecting and promoting a Culture of Life.

So, in sum, I don’t think the petitions were terribly out of line, at least not as out of line as some commentators are suggesting. Nevertheless, a few did border on being inappropriate due to the overt politicking.

Posted by Mary

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WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor 
Date:  September 1, 2009
Topic category:  Religion/Philosophy
Raymond Arroyo Exposes the Ted Kennedy-as-Devout-Catholic Myth
People who watched Senator Kennedy’s wake, funeral Mass and burial were deliberately led to believe that Senator Kennedy was a devout Catholic, not a Catholic deviate.
The late Ted Kennedy may have been a devout liberal, but he was not a devout Catholic.
In the early 1970′s He abandoned a fundamental tenet of the Roman Catholic faith: that human life must be protected from conception and public servants are bound to protect it.
Planned Parenthood was pleased, but God was not.
It might have been politic or politically correct, but it was anti-life and anti-Catholic.
Yet people who watched Senator Kennedy’s wake, funeral Mass and burial were deliberately led to believe that Senator Kennedy was a devout Catholic, not a Catholic deviate.
Raymond Arroyo, News Director of the Eternal Word Television Network and Mother Angelica biographer, not only was not fooled, but compellingly called attention to the con game in an awesome article titled “TED KENNEDY: THE CATHOLIC LEGACY AND THE LETTERS” and dated August 31, 2009.
Arroyo: “What most in the media and the public fail to recognize is that this entire spectacle�the Catholic funeral trappings and the wall to wall coverage– was only partially about Ted Kennedy. It was truly about cementing the impression, indeed catechizing the faithful, that one can be a Catholic politician, and so long as you claim to care about the poor, you may licitly ignore the cause of life. The ‘Common Ground’ argument was reinforced this weekend�the notion that supporting a host of ‘social justice’ initiatives somehow cancels out or trumps the ‘grave’, ‘intrinsic’ evil of abortion and the Catholic commitment to the life issues. As the Pope has described in his letter of 2004, and subsequently, this is an untenable position no matter how many ‘pro-choice’ Catholics on the right or the left attempt to make it.”
Exactly!
It’s not surprising that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick played a key role in the attempted deception.
As I wrote in “Under Canon law…” in 2004:
“Sadly, led by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the most prominent Catholic clergyman in the United States, many (but not all) United States priests have continued to give Communion to such persons. Cardinal McCarrick publicly proclaimed that he has ‘not gotten to the stage where I�m comfortable in denying the Eucharist.’
“In 1995 then Archbishop of Newark McCarrick seemed comfortable with the concept of obeying canon law. He issued a soundly reasoned, elegantly written pastoral letter on penance. The kind of letter than indicated a promotion to Cardinal was in order.
“Cardinal McCarrick rightly wrote in that letter: ‘We know that anyone who is aware of having committed a grave sin may not receive Holy Communion, even if he or she experiences deep contrition, without having first received absolution in the Sacrament of Penance [footnote citing Canon 916]. This is true unless the person has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession, a situation which does not apply in the area of the Archdiocese of Newark.
“Canon 916 states: ‘A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or to receive the Body of the Lord without prior sacramental confession unless a grave reason is present and there is no opportunity of confessing; in this case the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible.’
“Obviously pro-abortion nominally Catholic politicians such as Senators Kerry, Kennedy, Daschle, Durbin and Collins, House Minority Leader Pelosi and former Mayor Guiliani can confess if they choose.
“Significantly, Cardinal McCarrick faithfully noted in his letter that abortion is a ‘grave’ sin and a ‘crime against innocent life.’ He asserted, perhaps too generously, that ‘[w]e all recognize that it is a grave evil to take an innocent human life’ and astutely observed that ‘[w]e tend to find excuses.’
“Sadly, Cardinal McCarrick has found an excuse for the sin of disregarding Canon 915 and knowingly giving Communion to pro-abortion nominally Catholic politicans: uncomfortableness.”
Arroyo: “At the gravesite of Senator Edward Kennedy on Saturday, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Washington, shared a private letter that the deceased Senator wrote to the Pope. The Cardinal also read what he described as a response from the Pontiff. This marvelous bit of political theatre (as so much of Senator Kennedy�s funeral was), should not escape attention. That moment in particular revealed a great deal.”
A great deal about Senator Kennedy, Cardinal McCarrick and politics and religion in America.
Arroyo:
“First of all, it must be recalled that Cardinal McCarrick has a rather unfortunate history involving the delivery of letters, particularly those from a certain Vatican official by the name of Ratzinger. In 2004, when the Bishops of the US were anguishing over whether to allow communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion laws, Cardinal McCarrick concealed a letter from his brother bishops. The missive was from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal (now Pope) Joseph Ratzinger. Had the bishops received the letter intended to help guide their debate, things might have gone very differently. The contents of that letter are still relevant, particularly now when dissenting Catholics have made grandiose pronouncements about what it means to be a Catholic in public life. Below are some excerpts:
‘Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.
Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person�s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church�s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.
When “these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible,” and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, “the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it” (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration “Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics” [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person�s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person�s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.’”
Arroyo emphasized the confusion scandalously sown:
“This last line is critical. ‘An objective situation of sin.’ This I think is the reason that I have received hundreds of e-mails over the last few days from bewildered and scandalized Catholics. They take their faith seriously, and far from judging what Senator Kennedy may or may not have confessed in his final days, or whether he repented or not, they SAW an ‘objective situation of sin’ in his voting record and in his public pronouncements. They also saw a fundamental incoherence between his professed Faith and some of the positions he championed.
�’Why is the Church saluting a man who constantly promoted abortion and had no respect for traditional marriage? I thought this was something we were not allowed to do.’
�’Watching this coverage of the Kennedy Funeral I keep asking, whatever happened to scandal?’
“These people are not upset about Chappaquiddick or the huge lapses in the Senator�s long and storied life. They surely understand that forgiveness for these public and private acts is possible, and well within the merciful reach of the Church. The problem here is one of public witness and appearances– the corrupting example, the ‘objective situation of sin.’ Even if Senator Kennedy privately confessed his unrelenting public support for abortion and embryonic stem cell research, didn�t he owe the public and his Catholic colleagues–his family members who still serve the public–some correction? Shouldn�t he have offered them some last admonition that might have led them to the right path, assuming that he found it, late in his life?
“Judgment remains the exclusive domain of God and no one should presume to know Senator Kennedy�s eternal destination. Nor should he be fashioned into the exemplar of what it means to be a Catholic public servant.
“How his legacy of civil rights, supporting union causes, his defense of immigrants, his commitment to the poor, and his efforts to reduce war would have been morally enhanced had he coupled them with a defense of the most vulnerable members of society: the voiceless millions who have lost their lives to abortion. Unlike his sister Eunice, who tried to turn the Democratic party away from its attachment to abortion, Ted Kennedy pushed the party in [the] other direction. Throughout Kennedy�s funeral many attempted to brandish his poverty legislation or immigration reform as evidence that he had fulfilled his obligations as a Catholic legislator. A close reading of what Cardinal Ratzinger wrote above, shows that it clearly does not. As the Pope has recently written, the foundation of ‘social justice’ and the heart of Catholic social teaching is the right to life.”
That is the Catholic position and there is no exception for Senator Kennedy or anyone else.
In his letter to Pope Benedict XVI ;publicly read from by Cardinal McCarrick, Senator Kennedy wrote in part:
�I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war� I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith.�
Whether delusional or deliberately deceptive, Senator Kennedy’s claim never to have failed to “respect the fundamental teachings” of the Roman Catholic faith is patently false.
Arroyo: “Sadly, it must be admitted that despite the good he did (and I know people who were personally touched by his generosity), Senator Kennedy failed to at least publicly ‘respect the fundamental teachings of (his) faith’; principally that the right to life is universal, God given, and all are obliged to defend it.”
There’s no doubt about it!
But the pro-abortion pretense of devoutness and fidelity to the Roman Catholic faith was shamelessly promoted during “the spectacle.”
Arroyo: “The prayer intercessions at the funeral mass, the endless eulogies, the image of the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston reading prayers, and finally Cardinal McCarrick interring the remains sent an uncontested message: One may defy Church teaching, publicly lead others astray, deprive innocent lives of their rights, and still be seen a good Catholic, even an exemplary one. The casual viewer is tempted to think that Catholicism has become a Church of externals where core doctrines and major teachings are as malleable as they are in the nearest Protestant community. Or worse, to think it all a hollow show.”
The false message was enhanced because Cardinal McCarrick did NOT explain what the “Pope’s response” really was.
Arroyo:
“As a final desperate attempt to stamp the imprimatur of the Pope upon the funereal proceedings, Cardinal McCarrick read what he called the ‘Pope�s response’ to Senator Kennedy. Actually it was a note, very likely from the Secretariat of State. This is the sort of thing any member of laity receives when they send a prayer request or a Christmas card to the Pope. Cardinal McCarrick made is seem as if it had the weight of a new encyclical. It read in part:
‘The Holy Father has the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama� He was saddened to know of your illness, and asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness� His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father.’
“This was a cordial letter sent to the Senator. It was not meant for public consumption. The Pope issued no public statement upon the death of Ted Kennedy. Nor did he release any public letter to the family as he did, appropriately, when Kennedy�s sister, the very pro-life Eunice Kennedy-Shriver died several weeks ago. The Vatican newspaper did report Ted Kennedy�s passing and noted with displeasure his support of abortion rights. At least one Vatican official was quoted over the weekend, saying: ‘Here in Rome Ted Kennedy is nobody. He�s a legend with his own constituency. If he had influence in the past it was only with the Archdiocese of Boston and that eventually disappeared too.’
“For those who find this hard to accept, ask Cardinal McCarrick. He has the original letter.”
That’s the Cardinal McCarrick who defies canon law to avoid “confrontation at the Communion rail.”
Michael J. Gaynor

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Monday, August 31, 2009
Excellent Reflections on Ted’s Funeral and Boston Cathedra that is Sede Vacante
Posted by From the beautiful City of Boston
http://www.votingcatholicin2008.blogspot.com

Thanks to the many of you who have sent me articles, opinions and blog posts about the Kennedy Funeral and the spiritual chaos that it’s left in it’s wake.

I could literally take weeks to post all the excellent reflections.

Judie Brown and our friends at the ALL have several posts that I think summarize the sentiments most of the convictions you’ve sent to me. I was taken back by Judie’s description that the funeral went beyond anything she’s seen in her 65 years of experience. Considering her credentials, that’s breathtaking. She describes the opportunity given to Obama in the Sanctuary as perhaps the most dastardly thing she’s ever seen.

After the heaping pack of lies of the Caritas debacle and the long history of the past five years of malignant spirituality metastasizing from the Cardinal and the Chancery wizards — there is nothing that will surprise me. I actually expected Obama to politically manipulate the moments to lobby for socialized medicine and the Cardinal applauding. So, two moments of great relief for me – one, when Obama left the Sanctuary without lobbying for deathcare — and two, when he stood up and exited the aisle when Communion started and the camera quickly swung to the ceiling until everyone was through the Communion line. I’m sure – he was just moving out of the way for Joe Biden to receive…but…I’m glad there was nothing to postmortem about who got in line.

Mike Huckabee, by the way, hit the irony of advocating for socialized medicine at this moment, right between the eyes. Ted would have been denied the surgery and medicines that bought him his time and given the pills to end his own life a year and a half ago.

Steve Jalsaevec has written some great reflections here on Lifesite.

The message from the Boston Catholic Basilica event to all Catholic politicians, to all Catholics in positions of authority and to the world was clear. In the end, abortion doesn’t really matter. Same-sex marriage is not really an important issue. Church moral teachings in general are just talking points for consideration. And finally, the central teaching authority of the Church is an outdated concept. It does not matter what Christ, the Ten Commandments, the Pope’s and the saints have said. Image, worldly respect, your local bishop or priest friend or theologian trump all the other universal things of the faith. I do not at all mean to say that Cardinal O’Malley believes any of this. He does not. But he let this happen and gave the event his presence.
Much of what took place in the Basilica, regarding Kennedy’s political legacy, was missing real love and real charity. Christ showed what true love was and they crucified him for it
It is impossible to have the desire the salvation of your flock and make the kind of decisions made by Cardinal O’Malley. It’s as inane as packing up the vestments and heading to the Boston Common to sit with the thousands of children smoking pot at the annual ritual of having a day of weed defiance. Your presence and silence means something. Shaking the hands of people selling crack pipes on the way to your pious corner as the televison cameras roll and Austin Fleming gives a blow by blow (no pun intended) — it’s not a show about salvation.
Father Michael Orsi from Ave Maria has written another dynamic piece here.
I still don’t agree with Father’s conviction that Ted should have been denied the Rite of Christian Burial. It’s clear to me from the descriptions of his last days – - and most certainly from the letter Ted authored himself to the Pope that he was grappling with the drivel he was fed by the misfits of the American presybterate. He wanted affirmation from the Pope himself that his public defiance of leadership of others on the Church’s teachings and the resulting 51 million deaths will not be judged by Christ because all of his wonderful deeds and kindnesses. It wasn’t gelling on his deathbed. If (and I think the chances are remote) his confessor left that as an omission when the man was clearly reaching out for guidance – the sentence of that penance is served by the confessor. I don’t seek solace in this – and I think many Catholics misunderstand it – - (especially priests) but at least his confessor is still alive and can mosey into the confessional – should he get it through his thick skull. If they are not going to set the record straight on the teaching publicly — the funeral should have been a very private affair. I think there’s still time to set the record straight. We need to lobby for it.
Some of Fr. Michael’s thoughts:

A Mass of Christian Burial is a privilege — not a right. It is for those who have lived a Christian life. Senator Kennedy’s scandalous disregard of his Church’s teaching and the destruction of human life that may be attributed to his voting record make his funeral celebration quite dubious. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to evil… and that it takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it”(n. 2284-85). For such a person the Code of Canon Law says, “Church funeral rites are to be denied to the following (unless they gave some sign of repentance before death): manifest sinners to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful” (c. 1184.3). How many Catholics have been led astray by Senator Kennedy and other prominent pro-choice Catholics? And, finally, how many other Catholic politicians will be emboldened to emulate his behavior because the honor the Church is extending to him?

It’s about the people left behind.

….from an address by Archbishop Fulton Sheen to the Supreme Convention of the Knights of Columbus in June 1972,

Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

Thanks to everyone who sent articles and their thoughts about my reflections.

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From → MORAL RELATIVISM

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