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."
My thoughts exactly. See my post #27.
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.
I agree COMPLETELY!
Tell it to God, Teddy, tell it to God.
Great comment...mind if I borrow it for a tagline?
It’s all yours.
I have opposed the death penalty Really !?!? What about abortion?
This has been the political cause of my life Really!?!?
Everything in life was political with him!!!
Someone told me of this at church this morning. Quite interesting.
I don't, unless Kennedy sought forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and/or the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
Clearly, Kennedy had a priest who did not turn his back on him. To expect the Holy Father to function as a parish priest is silly.
Looks that way to me, too, dear brother in Christ! I got just such a "form letter" from His Holiness in acknowledgement of my gift of A-G's and my book. I was grateful, delighted to receive it, notwithstanding the reply came out of the Papal Nuncio's Office in Washington. And so I wonder whether the papal reply to Teddy came directly from the Vatican, or from the Papal Nuncio. If the latter, that would be one terrific "diss." Cardinal-Emeritus McCarrick did not exactly clarify the source.
Last I checked, BHO cannot even get the Vatican to accept and seat any of BHO's proposed appointments of U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican. As far as I know, that office is still vacant.
And Teddy's letter to Benedict was problematic on so many scores. First he claims that Obama is a man "of deep faith" like himself. I have doubts that Benedict would agree with that assessment in either case.
Anyhoot, the sort of "deep faith" that BHO has may be very like the sort of "deep faith" that Senator Teddy had. Which is to suggest: In both cases, what we see is a travesty of faith in the most self-serving ways. Benedict is no fool: A "gallows conversion" is of very little worth.
Alamo-Girl: Truly, that disappoints me all the more. I cannot imagine a minister turning his back on even the most difficult member of his church.
Senator Kennedy had a parish priest to guide him in such matters. Yet perhaps the parish priest himself held the same views as Teddy....
Pope Benedict has been battling the so-called "social gospel" -- which is like a metastasizing cancer in the body of the American Church -- since the 1970s. The social gospel is the mild form of liberation theology, which at bottom is nothing but a Left progressivist attack on the Magisterium of the Church and the complete inversion of the Gospel message. In America, it's been politicians like the Kennedys, the Cuomos, the Pelosis, etc., which have made the social gospel fashionable and "respectable." The Pope has instructed the American bishops and priests to deal with this issue. He has asked that the Eucharist be denied to such as support policies that do not conform to the Church's explicit witness to the sanctity of human life at all stages, from conception to natural death. That is a very clear directive. I don't see how even a Jesuit can reason that the Magisterium of the Church does not say what it very plainly does say: LIFE is the supreme value that must be upheld and defended by every faithful Catholic. A self-described Catholic who doesn't do that is not only NOT a Catholic; he is not even a Christian!
After 50 years of championship of anti-Life and even anti-human legislative policies, Senator Kennedy's plea to the Pope may look to His Holiness like a death-bed conversion of questionable sincerity.
I don't know for a fact of course. But I have reason to suspect that Benedict is not a fan of Teddy-style socialism. I think this becomes evident in his latest enclyclical, Caritas in Veritate.
True Christian charity involves ever so much more than simply giving a hungry man a fish to eat. That's Senator Ted's idea of charity. Charity IN TRUTH regards the needs of the whole man over time, and recognizes that it is better to teach a man how to fish -- to help him build up his own measure of human capital so that he can live in freedom and dignity.
Teddy Kennedy today is being wildly applauded as a man of great charity and concern "for the poor." To him, "the poor" does not mean "the poor in Spirit" -- which is the Gospel definition of "the poor." To him, sad to sad, it appears the poor are just bellies to feed at great taxpayer expense, and in such a way as to lock the beneficiaries of such "charity" into a state of permanent dependence on the government.
Why do we say that Senator Ted was a charitable man, when all his "charity" was always paid for by others, on a compulsory basis? How "charitable" is forced charity after all?
Our Lord Jesus Christ could take five loaves and two fishes and feed a multitude of five thousand, with 12 baskets of leftovers remaining.
But the government can't do that!!! Somebody's got to pay the tab. IMHO Pope Benedict is clearly able in the political and economics fields and he understands this; and he sees the further implications of state-cultivated dependency as both a tool of political power, and as fundamentally anti-human and anti-Life....
I found the ceremony at the gravesite last night perfectly chilling. The last televised image before the lights went totally out was that of a bugler standing at parade rest beside a half-masted Old Glory. What a pregnant image!
And then some genius in the Kennedy family decided to put the grandkids to work flogging universal heathcare commercials....
I was simply sickened by such calculating cynicism and exploitation of mere babes, just to glorify the dear departed and try to ensure that "his legacy" will finally be established, in the name of what the dimwits among us call "social justice."
Oh well.... Life goes on....
May the Lord have mercy on Senator Kennedy's soul; and comfort and bless his family in their time of loss.
Kennedy recounted the supposed good works he had done on behalf of the poor and to stop war, acknowledged he was imperfect (no details), and asked for the Pop’s prayers on his behalf. The Pope responded with a rather brief and general statement of comfort and support. Abortion was the five ton elephant silently crowding the correspondence.
Kennedy recounted the supposed good works he had done on behalf of the poor and to stop war, acknowledged he was imperfect (no details), and asked for the Pope’s prayers on his behalf. The Pope responded with a rather brief and general statement of comfort and support. Abortion was the five ton elephant silently crowding the correspondence.
Thank you for that clarification. I wonder why the Pope didn’t urge Kennedy to adopt a more pro-life stance, with whatever remained of his life? It seems like that could have done in a gentle, shepherdly manner, and it might have done Kennedy a world of good.
Maybe he did, and we are reading the edited response.
I saw a couple of Freeper posts that claimed to reprint the entire text of the Pope’s reply. That was in the title anyway. Were they mistaken?
Who knows? We read what get filtered through. Maybe it’s complete, maybe it isn’t.
Are they even sure the excerpts are accurate, then?
Where did they come from, and who did the filtering? If it was on the Pope’s side, would he, or whoever he authorized, really filter out something pro-life, that could be an inspiration to the entire flock?
My thought exactly. In return Ted received form letter SAP Deathbed 1.2. The SAP stands for stupid American politician.
Hmm, he never spoke about his relationship to Jesus, only his ‘good works.’ Well, that got him nowhere.
I pray he asked the Lord Jesus Christ to come into his life before he died. Confessing sins is good but without Jesus it’s meaningless.
SCANDAL AT MISSION CHURCH IN BOSTON
The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today decried the scandal which occurred this morning at Boston’s most historic Catholic shrine -— the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, known as Mission Church -— where a Mass of Christian Burial was used to celebrate the life of one of America’s most notorious opponents of Catholic morality, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Senator Kennedy fought for more than three decades to keep the killing of pre-born children legal and unrestricted in the United States.
Surgical abortion has claimed more than fifty-one million human lives since 1973. The Catholic religion defines abortion as an abominable crime.
President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy, in which he alluded to Kennedy’s support for gay rights. One of the Prayers of the Faithful was a petition to end divisions between gays and straights.
Ecclesial participants included Rev. Raymond Collins, Rector of the Basilica; Rev. Mark Hession, Kennedys parish priest from Our Lady of Victories Church in Centerville on Cape Cod; Rev. J. Donald Monan, Chancellor of Boston College; and Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, who thanked President Obama for his words and his presence. Both the homilist, Fr. Hession, and Cardinal O’Malley suggested that the late senator had found eternal salvation.
The Catholic Action League called the event a tragic example of the Churchs willingness to surrender to the culture, and serve Caesar rather than Christ.
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: Senator Kennedy supported legal abortion, partial-birth abortion, the public funding of Medicaid abortions, embryonic stem cell research, birth control, federal family planning programs, and so-called emergency contraception. He defended Roe v. Wade, endorsed the proposed Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), and opposed both the Human Life Amendment and the Hyde Amendment. Kennedy maintained a 100% rating from both NARAL and Planned Parenthood. In 1993, he received the Kenneth Edelin Award from Planned Parenthood, and in 2000 received the Champions of Choice Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts at the hands of the same Dr. Kenneth Edelin, the infamous abortionist.
“During his 1994 reelection campaign, Kennedy said I wear as a badge of honor my opposition to the anti-choicers. His successful obstruction of the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 effectively prevented the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Beyond his specific positions on human life issues, Senator Kennedy, along with the late Congressman Robert Drinan, provided the cover and the example for two generations of Catholic politicians to defect from Church teaching on the sanctity of innocent human life.
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. This morning’s spectacle is evidence of the corruption which pervades the Catholic Church in the United States. The right to life will never be recognized by secular society if it is not first vindicated and consistently upheld within the institutions of the Church itself.
His Eminence Sean Cardinal OMalley
Archdiocese of Boston
2121 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02135
We are aware of the impending disaster that is about to take place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in your Archdiocese. We are positive that you are aware that Senator Edward Kennedy spent the past 30 years doing all he could to advocate and support the act of procured abortion, and yet he continued to call himself Catholic. We know that you are also aware of his divorce, remarriage, et cetera. These are public matters, not private.
We are therefore astounded that you are permitting a funeral Mass for this man at the Basilica, and that you have obviously approved the appearance of President Barack Obama, the United States president who has done more to facilitate the direct killing of innocent children before birth than any president in the history of this nation.
There is still time to stop this scandal, Your Eminence. The truth does not change because of the respect the world is paying to this man. The Catholic principles which you have sworn to uphold have not disappeared because of Senator Kennedys death.
As I have told several reporters, if this funeral Mass proceeds as planned, Senator Edward Kennedy will have spit one more time on Christ, this time from a casket.
Please, Your Eminence. Stop the travesty.
Sincerely yours in the Lord Who IS Life,
Judie Brown, President
American Life League, Inc.
I would ask this precious one if they knew the Lord Jesus Christ in a personal way for that is the only way to salvation.
Sounds to me that Teddy was extremely fearful of meeting his maker and was greasing the skids...as well he should have given his failings as a Christian.
I pray that he had a conversion of heart before departing this world and that he, and all of us sinners attain the Beatific Vision.
We just lost two Christian kids in our area in a horrendous accident. My tears go to their families. Kennedy deserves hell. These boys deserve heaven. I thank God one of them was led to Christ early on this year. I doubt Kennedy will ever meet them.
I agree that the letter from the Vatican seemed to be a form. It could be what they respond to every person that writes a death-bed letter.
That’s true. There is no evidence.
However, it is also possible that Kennedy could have written a renouncement of his pro-abortion stance and the family simply withheld it. (Can’t upset the power base with Uncle Ted’s silly little letter.)
There is no evidence of that, either.
The fact is, we simply don’t know. I choose to believe he made a good and sincere confession and died at peace. Since I am not his confessor, I won’t ever know. I leave it in the hands of God.
McCarrick, however, doesn’t have the excuse of being terminally ill or ignorant. He deliberately read that letter to push Kennedy’s point of view.
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!