Friday, September 4, 2009 \AM\.\Fri\.
Cardinal O’Malley of Boston defends his participation at the funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy here. Erin Manning at her blog and sometimes tea, gives his remarks a fisking to be remembered here. The master of the fisk, Father Z, also puts the Cardinal’s remarks through his patented fisk machine here.
The simple truth of the matter of course is that Ted Kennedy, in so many ways, was a disgrace to the Catholic Church in this country. As a Catholic who received the Last Rites, it was right to give him a funeral Mass. It was wrong to allow that Mass to be transformed into a “Tribute for Teddy” and a Democrat Party infomercial. Archbishop O’Malley sat there and allowed this to take place and now he has the audacity to defend his nonfeasance. One would have thought that silence would have been a wiser course rather than attempting to defend the indefensible.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.
Well, I’ve read and talked more than I ever cared to about Ted Kennedy recently, may he rest in peace. And Darwin has already ably responded to this defense of the late Senator Kennedy from Michael Sean Winters. But something about Mr. Winters response has been ringing in my ears, and I think it’s because it summarizes in a few sentences what I perceive to be the tragedy of Catholic Democrats in the U.S.: they could have taken a stand for unborn life but were unwilling. As a result, faithful Catholics have either been driven into the Republican Party, become independents, or become disconcertingly comfortable with the status quo on abortion. Currently I think both the first and last options are incompatible with Catholic thought – at least without substantial departure from party orthodoxies. Where familiarity (with both parties) should have breed contempt, it has instead yielded unconscionable familiarity and acceptance. And Mr. Winters’ post provides a clear illustration of this reality:
To dismiss his [Senator Kennedy’s] career because of his stance on abortion is to be ignorant of the complicated way the issue of abortion manifested itself in the early 1970s: I think Kennedy got it wrong but I do not find it difficult to understand why and how he got it wrong.
Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, August 31, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.
The past week has given me pause for thought on the Kennedy Mystique and what it means in Catholic circles today. I’d intended to remain silent on the topic of Senator Edward Kennedy, he wasn’t someone I had much admiration for, but death is a great equalizer. While it certainly doesn’t put someone beyond criticism, it’s polite not to take the opportunity to attack someone while those who loved him are mourning. And yet, in the end I made some rather strong comments on the topic. Why?
Ted Kennedy isn’t himself the sort of figure one would expect to arouse more than normal political feelings — a sometimes boorish and boozy character, but a party loyalist able to bring a fair amount of rhetorical power to pushing his party’s line and able to bring a self effacing charm into play (when he tried) which softened his partisan edges. The the sort of person I’d tend to admire, but also not someone I’d feel called upon to rail against.
I think the issue is that the combination of the Kennedy name and the Democratic party-line positions holds a certain place in American Catholic history which causes strong reactions among various Catholics depending on how they reacted to that period in Catholic history in this country. JFK was elected at a point when it seemed Catholics had finally “arrived” in the US. They’d made it out of the ethnic ghettos, through college, and into mainstream American society. And while public schools were heavily Protestant, and Catholic “smells and bells” still looked very strange to WASP eyes, Catholicism had become a large and mainstream religion in the US complete with famous converts and Fulton Sheen as a major TV personality. Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, August 31, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.
As has been pointed out, Senator Kennedy was pro-life at least until late 1971. Like Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and other prominent figures on the left, his stance changed as “abortion rights” became a major plank on the Democrat Party platform.
What happened? Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, August 31, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.
During a crisis within the Roman Empire, Emperor Theodosius I slaughtered 7,000 of his own citizens in 390 AD. Shortly after this massacre Emperor Theodosius arrived in Milan where Saint Ambrose resided as bishop. Upon hearing of the emperors arrival Saint Ambrose refused to meet nor offer the Holy Sacrifice to him. Instead he castigated the emperor and demanded he repent for his sins.
Emperor Theodosius quickly obeyed [emphasis mine],
“and, being laid hold of by the discipline of the Church, did penance in such a way that the sight of his imperial loftiness prostrated made the people who were interceding for him weep more than the consciousness of offence had made them fear it when enraged”. “Stripping himself of every emblem of royalty”, says Ambrose in his funeral oration, “he publicly in church bewailed his sin. That public penance, which private individuals shrink from, an Emperor was not ashamed to perform; nor was there afterwards a day on which he did not grieve for his mistake.”
Ted Kennedy was the leading proponent of abortion on demand.
Millions of innocent humans died due to the policies that Ted Kennedy championed.
Ted Kennedy passed away without repenting nor showing remorse for his direct actions in the death of millions.
Instead of performing his duty as Archbishop of Boston and teaching Ted Kennedy the errors of his ways, Cardinal O’Malley does absolutely nothing and then presides at his funeral.
Saint Ambrose, ora pro nobis!
(photo from WPIX)
 Loughlin, J. (1907). St. Ambrose. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved August 30, 2009 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01383c.htm
Sunday, August 30, 2009 \AM\.\Sun\.
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 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’ll 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.
Excerpt, Letter of Senator Edward Kennedy to Pope Benedict XVI, which President Obama delivered to the Pontiff in July, 2009.
* * *
While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old. […]
I share in the confidence of those who feel that America is willing to care for its unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves. I also share the opinions of those who do not accept abortion as a response to our society’s problems — an inadequate welfare system, unsatisfactory job training programs, and insufficient financial support for all its citizens.
When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.
Excerpt, Letter of Senator Edward Kennedy to Thomas E. Denelly, August 1971.