Ted Kennedy, A Devoted Father

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and his estranged wife Joan pose with their son Patrick who graduated from Fessenden School in West Newton on June 2, 1983. Joining in are son Edward Kennedy Jr. (L) and daughter Kara (R). Patrick is the youngest son and graduated Magna Cum laude from the 47-member ninth grade class at the exclusive all boys school. (UPI Photo/Jim Bourg/Files)

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and his estranged wife Joan pose with their son Patrick who graduated from Fessenden School in West Newton on June 2, 1983. Joining in are son Edward Kennedy Jr. (L) and daughter Kara (R). Patrick is the youngest son and graduated Magna Cum laude from the 47-member ninth grade class at the exclusive all boys school. (UPI Photo/Jim Bourg/Files)

Ted Kennedy was a devoted father.

Many years ago, before my complete embrace of our Catholic faith, I used to read a lot on Ted Kennedy due to my fascination of his political career and of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.  There were many good and bad things I encountered, though what stood out above all was his devotion to his children.

I admired how he would make time out of his busy schedule.  To cut short high-powered meetings so he could quickly drive over to watch one of his children participate in an athletic event.

He always carried that big toothy grin of his in any picture I saw of him with his children.  It seemed that he found the most joy in life in being there for them.

This reminds me in many ways how Ted Kennedy exhibited some of the traits of Saint Joseph.

Saint Joseph, though Jesus’ putative father, was a true father by affection, by care and solicitude.[1]

I could easily discern the great love that Ted Kennedy had shown to his children by his involvement in their daily lives, by affection, by care and solicitude.

Ted Kennedy was a man I admired and respected by his faithful fulfillment of his duties as a father.

That is the Ted Kennedy I will remember the most.

May you be enveloped by the Beatific Vision.


To read other reactions to the passing away of Ted Kennedy click here.



[1] Dr. Rosalie A. Turton, 31 Day Novena to St. Joseph, (Asbury, NJ: The 101 Foundation, Inc., 2001), 11-12.

32 Responses to Ted Kennedy, A Devoted Father

  1. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Tito, here I have to draw the line. Ted Kennedy was a terrible parent for his kids. His constant womanizing and alcohol abuse demonstrated a complete lack of concern for the figure he cut before the world and before his kids. I join you in prayers for the man’s soul, but I differ with you strongly that Kennedy has anything to teach anyone about being a parent except as a strongly negative example.

  2. From the Curt Jester blog site:


    “Sen. Kennedy who was once pro-life became quite a vigorous proponent of legal abortion. This much at least most of the Catholic articles reference kind of a caveat so they could also praise him. No mention that he also supported contraception, cloning, ESCR, homosexual acts, homosexual marriage, and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act. When a Senate bill was put forth to attempt to save Terri Schiavo, Sen. Kennedy was the leader of the opposition. So when it came to five non-negotiable teachings of the Catholic Church, Mr. Kennedy was 0 for 5.”… Read More

    Social justice and the common good begin with submission to the teaching of the Body of Christ, His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Ted Kennedy consistently defied Holy Mother Church when it came to the most important thing: the innocent lives of the unborn.

  3. Luke Schultz says:

    All of the dramatic coverage of the death of Ted Kennedy is so unbelievably pathetic. The “Lion” of the senate; how silly and melodramatic. Look, the guy is dead so he will be judged by God and God alone. The eternal decision is unknown to us as we are merely humans. One thing is certain, judgement will occur. That said, I will speak of worldly matters.

    I think Kennedy was a pompous, drunken zealot who benefited from inherited wealth and soaked the federal payroll for 47 years as a US Senator. Once again, the founders never imagined “career politicians.” My biggest issue with Kennedy is personal. As a Catholic, he was an embarassment. He divorced and remarried, which is an issue but not the most alarming by any stretch. Much more emphatic, he took opposite and public positions on the five “non-negotiable” issues of the Catholic faith. These are Abortion, Euthanasia, Embryonic stem cell research, Human cloning and Deviate homosexual marriage. Deviate is my word.

    I would not deny him a Catholic funeral but I would not allow one of those showbiz events as though he lived his Catholic faith, which of course, he did not.

    Please understand, repentance is a hallmark of the Christian faith. All of us can make grave errors of judgement here on our earthly journey. Failure to recognize these, repent for them and seek forgiveness risks eternal separation from God. There is no other alternative.

    Certainly, Kennedy was not a great man. He did, however, have the great benefit of being born into wealth, never having to work for a living and then putting on this absurd dog and pony show of being the champion of the common man.

    What a joke.

  4. Rick Lugari says:

    The Onion couldn’t have said it better.

  5. ron chandonia says:

    One the obituaries includes a little vignette that pretty much sums up his parenting skills:

    In 1991, Kennedy roused his nephew William Kennedy Smith and his son Patrick from bed to go out for drinks while staying at the family’s Palm Beach, Fla., estate. Later that night, a woman Smith met at a bar accused him of raping her at the home.

    Smith was acquitted, but the senator’s carousing — and testimony about him wandering about the house in his shirttails and no pants — further damaged his reputation.

  6. paul zummo says:

    This reminds me in many ways how Ted Kennedy exhibited some of the traits of Saint Joseph.

    Tito, like the others above have said, I’m all for offering prayers for the repose of his soul. But really, this is stretching things mightily too far.

  7. Tito Edwards says:

    I am aware of his faults (terrible faults).

    I just wanted to highlight something good about the man. Not all his actions as a father are commendable, but he is human (which doesn’t excuse them, just saying).

  8. Latasha says:

    I don’t think anyone has forgotten his faults (the media is not going to show someone’s good side, the faults get a lot more views!) But to say that he has no positive traits is a little cold hearted.

    I was raised by my father and he was by no means perfect, but he was still a staple for me. I’m sure his kids would appreciate some positive aspects of their father being posted and not all the horrible mistakes he made in the past.

    There is one part I may think is overboard, but I do not know that man’s heart……truly the only one who does wouldn’t posting on this board.

  9. Moe says:

    Tito, I think YOU are the commendable one. My heart doesn’t feel kindness toward Senator Kennedy, but it is folks like you that perhaps can pray him into the House of the Lord, if he isn’t there already. I personally think he owes an apology to fifty million souls and not deserving to be languishing in a place of refreshment, light and peace.

  10. markdefrancisis says:

    The body is not even in the ground, and the vultures are out in full force.

  11. Donald R. McClarey says:

    True Mr. Defrancisis. Even I was surprised when the Lying Worthless Political Hack, a\k\a Nancy Pelosi, used the occasion of Kennedy’s death to push for ObamaCare.


  12. Gerard E. says:

    Back from sabbatical. Too rich to not comment. Yea yea Teddy was good father. But not good uncle- on the scene the night that nephew Willie Smith got a little too close and personal with young lady resisting his Kennedyesque charms. Will give you that he was surrogate Dad to the offspring of Jack and Bobby. Great job- numerous of Bobby’s kids have led horrorshow lives. Briefly saw piece with Matt, son of Joe, son of Bobby last night. Whose Mom was Philly Main Line debutante who fell for Bobby’s eldest son. Gave birth to Matt and twin bro Joe Jr. Pitched a huge fit when hubbo dumped her for staff cutie. Nice try, Tito. I get you want to say kind words for deceased and will not guess how God ruled when he arrived at St. Peter’s Gate. But the 2-on-2 sessions with Chris Dodd in D.C. bistros…..Triggering the corsening political debate with the Robert Bork Land of Back Alley Abortions Speech…..turning on pro-life sentiments in early 70s to become big time abort advocate…..and oh yeah 40 years since he swam out of the Chappaquidick River. Leaving Mary Jo to suffocate in the back of the Olds. Hope he found peace in the other life. But kinda lame to praise his (limited) parental skills.

  13. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Good to see you back Gerard! I was wondering where you were.

  14. Gerard E. says:

    Hi, Don. Dealing with issues like passing of dear mother this summer. Forgot to mention real reason why Jacqueline Kennedy sought the hand of Ari Onassis- to pick up enough scratch so that Caroline and John Jr. wouldn’t have to rely on Uncle Teddy. Cannot imagine much delight for Jackie particularly when Mr. O. was in frisky mood. But both youngsters turned out well- even with Caroline’s brief and unsuccessful dip into political pool.

  15. Donald R. McClarey says:

    My condolences Gerard and may she now be enjoying the Beatific Vision. I hadn’t heard that about Jackie, but it doesn’t surprise me. No one in his immediate family expected much of Ted. I think Joe Kennedy viewed Ted as a spare in case anything happened to the older boys. Little did he know.

  16. e. says:

    “I am aware of his faults (terrible faults). I just wanted to highlight something good about the man.”

    So promoting the murder of hundreds, if not, thousands of babies are nothing more than terrible human faults.

    That seems like saying that although Hitler was responsible for murdering hundreds of Jews; but, hey, the guy is human! Give him a break!

    Besides, he happened to resurrect what once was a devestated Germany!

    Genocide as that shouldn’t be a biggee; so shouldn’t the killing of hundreds of babies, too!

  17. Latasha says:

    I don’t mean any offense to anyone on here, but even if he did do more than just “terrible faults”, it wouldn’t be mine, yours, or anyone else’s in this physical world to judge that. To merely point out a good characteristic is the same as pointing out a bad one, but to condemn a person isn’t any of our responsibilities.

  18. Jay Anderson says:

    What we may not judge is the state of someone’s soul. We most certainly may and SHOULD judge the intrinsic rightness or wrongness of someone’s actions.

    I remain puzzled that people don’t (or won’t) get that distinction.

  19. e. says:

    “…but to condemn a person isn’t any of our responsiblities.”

    Sure… I’ll be sure to have amended several of our history books that paint historical figures such as Hitler from the evil men they actually were and, instead, substitute a “Kumbaya” ecumenical version more pleasing to all.

    Heil, Hitler — You Poor Misunderstood Wreck!

  20. Latasha says:

    I didn’t say to agree with them, the point of history is to learn what went wrong and right so that we do not repeat mistakes. So by not doing what the people who did heinous things did, it is my way of not agreeing with their choices. I don’t agree with Kennedy’s political career or a lot of other people’s for that matter, but just because you might say something nice about someone that has NOTHING to do with the bad they did, that doesn’t mean you are advocating their faults or following their example. It is okay to say that he loved his kids. Not to mention you have no idea his relationship with God, so to say something like he is “not deserving to be languishing in a place of refreshment, light, and peace” is truly NONE of our responsibility. To say that he is a horrible father may not be the opinion of his children, or maybe it is, but it isn’t ours to judge those things.

  21. e. says:


    “So by not doing what the people who did heinous things did…”

    How, exactly, do you suppose we teach people that what these figures did was actually heinous when you would dare paint them in such a way so as to actually legitimize their actions by making them appear as if without stain?

    Sorry — but I shall teach my own children the evil figure that was Hitler so that they know, for a fact, that he was evil exactly because of the heinous things he did.

    You would make it appear the a person, regardless of such heinous things such as promoting genocide, are nevertheless inculpable and, even more, stainless!

    You are given to such a mindset that would make relativists rejoice and sheer tyranny applaud!

  22. Latasha says:


    I never said not to condemn actions, I’m guilty of that EVERY day. I never said to paint people as a stainless figure, I also do that probably close to every day. What I was saying that is that it is okay to say something good about someone without agreeing to every horrible thing they did. Also, I am outright disagreeing to at least one comment about how someone personally didn’t think that he deserved eternal peace. We are human, we do not walk on water, we all sin so based on that, none of us know that man’s relationship with his maker, so to say he doesn’t deserve those things is taking God’s role into our own and that is what I disagree with.

    Also, as a parental figure, I said below that there were parts of this article that went overboard and I do not agree with, but if this was my father (faults of his included) I wouldn’t want him to be remembered for only the bad things. That is all I was trying to say, I wasn’t condoning him or Hitler (obviously, but since he was brought up I figured I needed to clarify that.)

  23. Moe says:

    You are right in that God wills that we not judge. I suppose I’ve been snared by the devil again! It was my intent to applaud Tito for his graciousness and to point out my lack of same. It might be appropriate for you to pray to God for me that I receive the grace to forgive Senator Kennedy for his complicity in the murder of fifty million defenseless souls — and that I might be able to forgive him and pray for his salvation.

  24. e. says:


    “To say that he is a horrible father may not be the opinion of his children, or maybe it is, but it isn’t ours to judge those things.”

    So, when a father is found to have kept his own daughters locked up in the cellar for several decades as mere prisoners and, moreover, molested and even raped them, converting his very children to little more than sex slaves; is it still not ours to judge the father as actually being wicked, even more — given these remarkably heinous circumstances, exceptionally evil?

    In other words, there are such times when we should call good “good” and evil “evil”.

  25. Elaine Krewer says:

    There are probably very few, if any, sinful, evil or corrupt people who have NO redeeming qualities whatsoever. After all, no one can be effectively evil or corrupt without having SOME good qualities (intelligence, charm, attractiveness, artistic or academic talent, etc.) that were originally given to them by God.

    To admit that Ted Kennedy indulged in or was complicit in some very objectively morally evil things (adultery, drunkeness, a reckless homicide, legalized abortion, etc.) is not to deny that he did some good things along the way, or that he was, apparently, personally generous, witty and charming, or that he provided emotional support and guidance to his fatherless nephews and nieces.

    The notion that saints do no wrong and sinners do no right, I think, blinds us to the way in which we are ALL capable of committing or taking part in great evils and also (with God’s grace) capable of heroic virtue.

  26. e. says:

    Elaine Krewer:

    Yours is perhaps the most balanced and arguably most enlightening comment.

    Most villains often possess, in spite of the utter corruption of their souls, even small hints of redeeming qualities.

    That is not to say, however, that exponents for such things as the explicit murdering of entire peoplese (in this immediate case, mere babies) are not, on the whole, villains; indeed, it only proves, all the more, just how villainous these actually are.

  27. Pauli says:

    Of course I hope he made it into Heaven. But….

    I can’t think of any man less like St. Joseph than Senator Edward Kennedy. St. Joseph was a just man, poor and worked for a living. There’s a quick strikeout for you baseball fans. But let’s give him another time at bat. Can you imagine a greater contrast than one between a man who lived a celibate life alongside the most perfect and beautiful woman created by almighty God and a twice-married drunken slob who couldn’t seem to stop donating semen to bar-sluts like an irresponsible, rich frat boy?

    Every time I hear his accomplishments touted I can’t help hearing the phrase “What profiteth it a man…” Yes, profiteth; I can’t help it if I was raised with the King James Bible. Less Catholics in the world like Ted Kennedy will mean more conversions to the faith. Rest in peace… good riddance.

  28. Tito Edwards says:

    Latasha, Jay, and Elaine,

    Thank you for driving making my point.


    Take a chill pill.


    Right on.


    I said some of the traits.

    I also didn’t imply that “some” of those traits he did well “all” of the time.

    Ted Kennedy did many good things as a father. Not all, not most, many. And I appreciate and like that about the man.

  29. […] secularists are saying on the passing away of Edward Moore Kennedy around the […]

  30. Pauli says:

    Ohhhh…. some of the traits, OK. I see. Being that those are likely traits that every non-filicidal father in the world shares with St. Joseph, I’m not sure why it was included other than to add to the volume of spaghetti thrown against the wall to see if at least some of it sticks. By definition, a saint is a person who achieves a heroic degree of virtue and sanctity. It is not defined as someone who practices a modicum of decency. (Matt 7:11 may apply)I’ve already spoken to that, so I’ll merely suggest that your concept of what defines heroism is quite different than mine.

    The narrative of Teddy Kennedy as exemplary father is primarily a strain on the imagination and belittles the efforts of many good fathers who don’t have professional photographers following them to capture their best moments for posterity.

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