Skip to comments.Catholicism Was Comfort, Conflict For Kennedy
Posted on 08/28/2009 11:28:24 AM PDT by Steelfish
Catholicism was comfort, conflict for Kennedy
His stance on abortion and divorce from wife Joan defied church teachings
BOSTON - Sen. Edward Kennedy was raised from birth to cherish his Catholicism, and it became both a source of comfort and conflict throughout his life.
The son of the country's most famous Catholic family defied church teachings when he divorced his first wife, then was granted an annulment only after he admitted he wasn't being honest when he promised her he'd be faithful. His most significant and public break with the church came with his support for abortion rights.
Yet Kennedy also advocated for signature Catholic causes, such as help for the poor, health care and immigration reform, and opposition to the Iraq war. His faith remained a regular part of his life until it ended this week with a priest at his bedside.
The apparently conflicting portrait of a man loyal to the church despite widening disagreement on key issues "almost perfectly represents" the views of most American Catholics, said Boston College professor Alan Wolfe.
"He's an effect of a process that's been going on for a very long time that started long before Teddy Kennedy was born and will continue long after Teddy Kennedy is dead," Wolfe said.
Kennedy's mother, Rose Kennedy, set the roots of his faith, emphasizing Christ's teaching in the Gospels that "to whom much is given, much will be required." When her kids were teens, she made sure they went to a weekend religious camp every year, even if they'd rather be sailing, said Adam Clymer, who worked with Kennedy on his biography. She took them to church during the week, so they knew church wasn't just for Sundays.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
In his eulogy during her 1995 funeral, Kennedy called his mother's faith "the greatest gift she gave us."
A commitment to Catholicism was not always evident in Kennedy's personal life, which was marred by problems with alcohol and philandering. In 1983, he was forbidden from receiving communion after his divorce which the church forbids from his first wife, Joan.
The public learned more than a decade later that he'd been granted an annulment after he was seen accepting Communion at his mother's funeral. Joan later said that Kennedy requested the annulment, which she did not oppose, on grounds that his marriage vow to be faithful had not been honestly made, Clymer said.
Kennedy never discussed his annulment and also rarely spoke publicly of his Catholicism.
"I think faith oftentimes is deeply felt in the marrow of your bones, it's a matter of the heart," said Kennedy's friend, the Rev. Gerry Creedon, a Washington-area priest. "He had trouble articulating his inner feelings, his deepest conviction and matters of emotion, the heart."
One of Kennedy's longest discussions of his faith came in 1983 in an unlikely place political foe Jerry Falwell's Liberty University:
"I am an American and a Catholic; I love my country and treasure my faith," Kennedy said. "But I do not assume that my conception of patriotism or policy is invariably correct, or that my convictions about religion should command any greater respect than any other faith in this pluralistic society. I believe there surely is such a thing as truth, but who among us can claim a monopoly on it?"
"I believe there surely is such a thing as truth, but who among us can claim a monopoly on it?"
Does this mean that Kennedy did not believe the Nicene Creed? _______________________________________________________________________ +Nicene Creed+
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary , and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. _______________________________________________________________________
I hope I’m wrong, but most likely Sen. Kennedy had disdain for his Catholic faith.
A Catholic politician who encourages abortion? Divorce (secondary to abortion) and unbridled arrogance? Left a girl for dead in a car? Embraced the power of the state to the detriment of ordinary Americans? These aren’t Catholic positions.
A life of excessive privilege is the best way to describe Ted Kennedy.
I hope I’m wrong and he’s resting in peace. Or embraced by St. Peter.
Because he didn’t believe any of the Church’s teachings?
The simple truth is this: You cannot be both a good Catholic and a good Democrat. That is the problem.
It didn't take.
It was never more than a vote-retainer for Kennedy. Gave him a tamed Mass. output, which he maintained by forever pollishing the wax job JFK, his dad, and RFK left him. Without the compliant “brainwashed” media?
He’d be nothing.
Where’s the projectile vomit warning?
But I do know this: it's hard to find something as destructive to moral society than an apostate Catholic in a position of power and authority.
Consider one person's take on Kennedy's legacy.
In my opinion, the Church dropped the ball on apostate politicians and America has suffered tremendously as a result.
Most of the Vietnamese refugess I've met were Catholic....
It's a line they've drawn in the sand.
God does not hear the prayers of Democrats.
I don’t rightly know myself. The Pope often makes public comments on the passing of a public official. When Barack Obama visited the Pope a few months ago, he discretely took a letter from Ted Kennedy and delivered it to the Pope.
Catholics often ask for intercessionary prayers from either a priest, bishop or Pope. The Bible did say that what Peter holds locked on Earth will remain locked in Heaven. That’s why St. Peter is always shown in artwork and stained glass as holding keys - the Keys to the Kingdom. Protestants, of course, take a different view but it’s what Kennedy may have pleaded for in that letter that is of historical value.
Who knows? Maybe some day in the 26th century, Ted Kennedy’s letter will be on review at some Vatican library.
A statement like that is hardly worthy of a village idiot.
Catholics are actually becoming less liberal, it was far worse in generations before.
Well, closing the barn door after the horse is out is probably better than not closing it at all.
no one is ever refused Communion because they are divorced, as the Church does not recognize civil divorce and considers the person to still be married
the obstinant and public sin that makes one ineligible to recive Communion is marrying the second person without first receiving a declaration from the Church (annulment) that the first marriage was never a sacramental marriage because there was some impediment (such falsely vowing to be faithful when you know you don’t plan to be faithful)
This country will never recover but we can slow the damage and reverse a little of it if we can pull the Catholics out of the democrat column.
Imagine how different the political landscape would be if republicans could start counting on the majority of the Catholic vote, it would be the end of liberalism as we know it.
BARF!! What a load of horse KaKa.
Bingo! He was catering to multiculturalism and religious plurality.
As the media mourns the death of Ted Kennedy, columnist after columnist will lay out the case for a great man of many accomplishments. Even his opponents will compliment his speeches, his charismatic ways, and his bipartisan efforts. Ive always found these praises from political opponents peculiar. Why praise the technique of a big government crook and abortion supporter? Admiring his speeches and charisma is like admiring the way a bank robber shoots down a security guard. Would we similarly praise the accuracy of his shot or the quickness of the getaway car? Surely not.
Simply, good men do not admire the tact of criminals. Only disturbed D.C. types can admire someone pulling the wool over the publics eyes better than he himself can do. But, was Kennedy a simple crook, a gutter punk scoundrel? No, I think that his humanity showed in his final days.
Take for example the letter that he had President Obama personally deliver to the pope in July. No one knows what the note said exactly, but it was said to be “personal.” Though the media didnt make a big deal of this, I thought this was ground-breaking stuff. Here we have one of the biggest proponents of abortion in the Senate on his death bed asking to have a personal note delivered to the pope.
I cant say that the note for certain mentioned abortion or his Chappaquiddick incident, but what else could it have been about? It certainly wasnt about the weather in Massachusetts. A friend of mine joked that perhaps it was a bulleted list of abortions positive aspects for one last stab at the Catholic Church. But, somehow, I doubt it. I think that many of us can imagine what our final letter to such an important holy person would be like. And were I a decades-long supporter of abortion on my death bed, it would be impossible to write the letter without considering my actions on the issue.
If this letter was ever read to the public, the political world would surely be shaken to its core. But politics aside, this one moment in his career shows Kennedys humanity. As proud as he might have been in the public arena, the personal Kennedy understood his faults. And at the end of the day, he turned to God and the Church for help although his relationship with both was shaky to say the least.
Though the tale of his final letter is touching, there is a less enlightened side of the story. For one thing, it shows how little Ted Kennedy really understood his faith. He dealt with so many important moral questions in the Senate but missed the entire point of Christianity altogether personal savior through Jesus.
Think about it. What can a letter to the pope really do for your soul that cant be done praying alone in your hospital bed? What could the popes prayers do in comparison to those of your loved ones, your neighborhood priest, and your parish? Absolutely, nothing.
Sadly, his letter follows a pattern in his life. Even in his last attempts at redemption, he tried to play the same cards up his sleeve for the last time. When his recklessness at Chappaquiddick resulted in the death of a young woman, he used his political connections to get himself out of trouble. Was he trying “save” himself with his connections one last time?
Perhaps, the letter is his final mistake. Instead of coming to God personally or making his own statement about his religious feelings, he used his influential friends to send a letter to the pope.
But, real Christians know the truth. When the time of your judgment comes, connections, wealth, and clout will not help you one bit. At the very least, Ted Kennedy was reaching out to God trying to get closer. But if he really wanted to do the Lords work, he had the chance. Imagine had he said that abortion was wrong publicly before his death. He had such potential and such opportunity. But instead of being courageous, he sent an influential errand boy to bail him out. The only thing necessary for his salvation was in the hospital bed with him. We can only pray that he discovered this in his final hours.
“The only thing necessary for his salvation was in the hospital bed with him. We can only pray that he discovered this in his final hours.”
Yes, there are deathbed conversions like the good thief on Good Friday. It is not for us to judge the state of another’s soul, these are things that are for God. But we must not shy away from commenting on the consequences of his acts here on earth- for these are things that belong to Caesar. To remain silence, makes us enablers of scandal. To quote Milton, “they also serve who stand and wait”
Here’s the poem on Milton’s blindness.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
“country’s most famous Catholic family”. I can think of a lot more families that the Kennedy”s who would qualify for that position. Other than Eunice, I believe that all other Kennedy’ have broken almost all the sins observed by the Catholic Church
really, not. if Catholics were Catholics, that would end the nonsense. a republic apostate is still an apostate.
As goes the church, so goes the culture. there is, therefore, hope.
Confession and request for absolution must be auricular not via letter.
"He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you. When He had said this, He breathed on them; and He said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." John 20:21-23
That said; who can know; and personally; don't know why anyone cares; let the Pope deal with it in this world; as per his response to Kennedy's passing and the Church; and we know his 'Maker' will deal with Kennedy in the next.
We know; even more than his being Catholic; he supported/endorsed the 'radical' side of Leftist politics. . .and that is it's own religion .
Human Life International’s Statement on the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy
We must, as a matter of precept, pray for the salvation of heretical Catholics like Senator Edward Kennedy, but we do not have to praise him let alone extol him with the full honors of a public Catholic funeral and all the adulation that attends such an event. There was very little about Ted Kennedy’s life that deserves admiration from a spiritual or moral point of view. He was probably the worst example of a Catholic statesman that one can think of. When all is said and done, he has distorted the concept of what it means to be a Catholic in public life more than anyone else in leadership today.
Obviously we don’t know the state of Senator Edward Kennedy’s soul upon death. We don’t pretend to. We are told by the family that he had the opportunity to confess his sins before a priest, and his priest has said publicly he was “at peace” when he died. For that we are grateful. But it is one thing to confess one’s sins and for these matters to be kept, rightfully, private. It is another thing entirely for one who so consistently and publicly advocated for the destruction of unborn human beings to depart the stage without a public repudiation of these views, a public confession, as it were.
It is up to God to judge Senator Kennedy’s soul. We, as rational persons, must judge his actions, and his actions were not at all in line with one who values and carefully applies Church teaching on weighty matters. Ted Kennedy’s positions on a variety of issues have been a grave scandal for decades, and to honor this “catholic” champion of the culture of death with a Catholic funeral is unjust to those who have actually paid the price of fidelity. We now find out that President Obama will eulogize the Senator at his funeral, an indignity which, following on the heels of the Notre Dame fiasco, leaves faithful Catholics feeling sullied, desecrated and dehumanized by men who seem to look for opportunities to slap the Church in the face and do so with impunity simply because they have positions of power.
It is not enough for Kennedy to have been a “great guy behind the scenes” as we have seen him referred to even by his political opponents. It is also not praiseworthy to put a Catholic rhetorical veneer on his leftist politics that did nothing to advance true justice as the Church sees it or to advance the peace of Christ in this world. Every indication of Senator Kennedy’s career, every public appearance, every sound bite showed an acerbic, divisive and partisan political hack for whom party politics were much more infallible than Church doctrines. Whatever one’s political affiliation, if one is only “Catholic” to the extent that his faith rhymes with his party line, then his Catholicism is a fraud.
As the Scriptures remind us, there is a time for everything under the sun. This, now, is the time for honesty about our Faith and about those who are called to express it in the public forum. If we do not remind ourselves of the necessity of public confession for public sins such as Senator Kennedy was guilty of, then we are negligent in our embrace of the Faith and we are part of the problem. As Pope Benedict has reminded us recently, charity without truth can easily become mere sentimentality, and we must not fall into that error. A Catholic show of charity for the family must not eclipse the truth that is required of all with eyes to see and ears to hear.
Senator Kennedy needs to be sent to the afterlife with a private, family-only funeral and the prayers of the Church for the salvation of his immortal soul. He will not be missed by the unborn who he betrayed time and time again, nor by the rest of us who are laboring to undo the scandalous example of Catholicism that he gave to three generations of Americans.
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
I didn’t really understand what you were posting there.
Imagine how different the political landscape would be if republicans could start counting on the majority of the Catholic vote, it would be the end of liberalism as we know it.and my response was:
really, not. if Catholics were Catholics, that would end the nonsense. a republican apostate is still an apostate.
Not really, if Catholics quit voting liberal then the damage they have done over the last 100 years and more could be slowed or even rolled back a little.
Or, “Imagine how different the political landscape would be if republicans could start counting on the majority of the Catholic vote, it would be the end of liberalism as we know it.”
I’m hugely confused; I don’t know if we’re agreeing or arguing ;).
I don't know what that means that is why I keep asking you to translate it.
What does that have to do with Catholics being a democrat constituency?
It means that a genuine Catholic wouldn’t tolerate leftwing lunacy — that a nominal Catholic can vote republican and still be a useful idiot; that party affiliation means nothing, ultimately but that a sincere Catholic faith equips one to make a genuine, life and liberty affirming contribution to society.
I got it that time, good point and very true.