Skip to comments.Excerpts of Kennedy letter to pope and response
Posted on 08/30/2009 5:31:48 AM PDT by NYer
Excerpts of the letter from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy that President Barack Obama delivered to Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year and an account of the pope's response, as read by Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington:
"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 so 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 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. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."
An account from the Vatican of the pope's response, according to McCarrick:
"The Holy Father has 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 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 our 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 intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord."
I sorrow for the loss of the young ones and the agony of their families. I pray God's blessings on them all, and on you, who also sorrow and suffer. My heart goes out to you, each and all, and I lift my prayers to God on your behalf.
As for my late senator, that's between God and himself only. Personally, I regard him as an utterly faithless Catholic, a "cafeteria Catholic," thus a nominal Catholic, a Catholic "in name only."
He might have "talked the talk," but assuredly he did not "walk the walk."
However. R.I.P. May God have mercy on his soul.
Thank you, betty boop. It’s such a tragic waste but God knows. I guess none of us will ever know for sure — in this life — where Kennedy is spending eternity. I, too, pray he made a commitment to Jesus Christ before he died and repented of his many sins. Love, M
How does McCarrick know this? He was never Kennedy’s bishop.
Truly I believe the Pope has a lot on his plate battling back the liberation theology which has become so popular - and also the rogue element within the priesthood and church membership which clings to the label "Catholic" only when it is politically convenient.
Lately I have been meditating on how things would be in this world if those who said they believe in Christ actually realized that He IS.
It should be remembered that Cardinal McCarrick was the one who mischaracterized the memo from then-Cardinal Ratzinger to the USCCB regarding withholding communion from pro-abort politicians.
I have no doubt that he may be engaging in some of the same sort of selectivity in these excerpts.
From all I’ve seen posted at FR and elsewhere about the state of the Jesuits for the past 40-50 years, they are probably responsible for separating many, many Catholics from the Faith and into political expediency. When the Catechism and formal Church documents are so clear about where the Church stands, it boggles my mind that there is so much fuzziness, or that those appointed to be “leaders” and “teachers” like the Jesuits find so many ways to muddy the waters. What was it St. Paul said, in the last days men will seek teachers who will tickle their ears with what they want to hear?
Exactly how I see it. It's a true politician's letter. It reads like a job application sent to the CEO's best pal. "I've done X, Y and Z......now could you please go talk to the boss and put in a good word for me before I have to go into his office?"
It's almost as if he's saying "if the Pope buys this, maybe God will, too".
I find it tragic beyond words.
Ted Kennedy’s letter is indicative of poor advice he was getting from his “priests”. Blind leading the blind. His supposedly good deeds can never cancel out his “personal failings”. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from our sins. His last days should been spent meditating on CHrist’s atonement and God’s redemption plan. It reminds me of story Luther told from his Commentary on Galations about an early christian named Ansalem. Ansalem minstered to men on their death bed by recounting Jesus’s teaching about the tax collector who cried out “God have mercy on me a sinner” and that they should take that approach when they pass on.
You’re so right.
***The Pope dissed Teddy.***
Not really. I think that the perspective of Kennedy as treated by the Church was on point and very effective.
1. No funeral at the Cathedral.
2. No celebration by the Archbishop.
3. An unemotional and stony Archbishop sitting in the second row.
4. A wish from the Pope that each man surrender himself to Jesus.
I think that the treatment by the Church was right on point and a reminder to Kennedy about his place in God’s Creation, rather than God’s place in Kennedy’s creation.
***Truly, that disappoints me all the more. I cannot imagine a minister turning his back on even the most difficult member of his church. ***
I think that this was more a demonstration of the Church as to Kennedy’s place in Creation.
***To be honest, just as he didn’t care about the fate of the unborn, I don’t care about his. He’s in God’s hands now and no amount of speculating about whether he had some deathbed confession that saved his soul is going to change anything.***
We are charged to bring God’s message to all men and it is way above our pay grade to Judge Ted Kennedy. He is dead and buried and his fate is most certainly in God’s hands. To my personal discredit, I have as much if not more contempt for him than most people here. He and the whelps of the gangster Joe Kennedy have sullied the name of Catholicism as much as the Borgias ever did.
Let us go on and invest our efforts in the living; let the dead be the province of God.
***Thank you for sharing your insights, dear brother in Christ! ***
Do you think that they were really insightful? :)
I was bemused by those calling for no Catholic funeral for somebody who was at least nominally Catholic and not excommunicated. We really are a Church of sinners; some make that point better than others...
Thank you for sharing your insights, dear brother in Christ!