THE SCANDAL OF THE EDWARD MOORE KENNEDY FUNERAL IN BOSTON
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.
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 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.
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.
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)
“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.”
Sunday, August 30, 2009
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.
A Catholic funeral for a pro-abortion Catholic
August 31, 9:28 AM
Detroit Traditionalist Catholic Examiner
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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:
“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