Scandal Time

The Catholic Church in America suffered another grave scandal this weekend. As was the case in the priestly abuse crisis, it was centered in Boston. If you are a Catholic and did not feel distressed and scandalized watching Senator Kennedy’s funeral at Mother of Perpetual Help Church in Boston Saturday, I have to ask in all frankness: why not?

The scandal has nothing to do with his personal sins. I hope he confessed them and was forgiven, as I hope myself to be forgiven. The Church is always generous to sinners who make even the slightest gesture of repentance. In that, she shows that she is not a merely human society bound by certain rules, but the living communion of saints and the presence in this world of the merciful heart of God.

The scandal likewise has nothing to do with partisan politics. If you think it does, as some of the Commentors on Brad Miner’s gentlemanly Friday column believe, you should compare Brad with the New York Times obituary, which felt obliged to record that Ted’s shoulders were “sometimes too narrow” for the task he inherited. And that, contrary to the eulogies, he could be savagely unjust and demagogic, as even some followers admitted (e.g., in the Bork hearings), tarring mere opponents as racists, sexists, and elitists. All such shenanigans are an unfortunate feature of partisan passions, but only of passing importance.

The distress – and the scandal – arise from only one thing: the Church’s failure to show the slightest reservation about the man who, more than any Catholic and perhaps more than any American political figure, has led the pro-abortion forces in Washington. Even worse, his longstanding pro-abortion leadership gave political cover to other Catholic politicians and confused simple lay people. That’s what scandal (in the theological sense) does: it becomes a stumbling block for the faithful about the very truths of the faith.

The American bishops have been admirably clear that the defense of life is not like their other concerns about the poor and social justice. Defense of life occupies a different level. It is the basis for everything else.

Yet most people watching the Kennedy funeral have never heard a word of our bishops’ teachings, except that Catholics are “not single issue voters.” They might with justification believe that you can be a notorious pro-abortion Catholic and still be publicly honored by the Catholic Church. No one mentioned the issue, let alone took steps to make it clear that the Church means business about life.

Some have argued that now is not the time to criticize Edward Kennedy. There will be time enough later. But this is not a matter of criticism. This involves a widespread public misperception of Catholicism – or is it a true perception now? Television coverage of the Mass has spread the image of the Church honoring a well-known Catholic, passionately disrespectful of life. The damage may be irreversible.

If you think human respect should govern this moment, de mortuis and all that, you have a right to your opinion. But the scandal is not about respect towards Ted Kennedy. It’s about the Church’s own self-respect. As Benedict XVI recently reminded us, real charity exists where we respect truth. Some Catholics have argued Kennedy should have been denied Christian burial. That is wrong, even though he never publicly recanted a grave public sin. But could the Church have commended him to God in a way that paid respect to the 50 million aborted souls who were not here to watch the spectacle? She could have, and it’s a tragedy for the Church and America that she did not.

I sympathize with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, a good and holy man. If he had tried to limit the Kennedy funeral to a private Mass, he would have had a widespread revolt among both clergy and laity. And the Church would have paid a price at the hands of Massachusetts pols. But maybe the controversy would have been a “teachable” moment as the Catholic professors say.

The Vatican issued very subdued condolences, a signal to those who follow such things, that Rome, for once, was worried how its words would be interpreted. Some also see the small number of bishops and priests at the Mass as an indirect statement of some kind. For the ordinary person, however, the Cardinal was present and Placido Domingo sang Panis angelicus, just as if it were a papal Mass. And Cardinal McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington (who honored Kennedy a few years ago the very week he helped block aid to D.C. Catholic schools) said the graveside prayers.

During one of the television specials about Kennedy’s life, I heard a telling story. A man recounted how the senator arranged for a U. S. Coast Guard cutter to show up in Boston Harbor at his son’s birthday party. It’s the kind of anecdote often told about the much loved senator, yet another example of his delight in kids and gift for knowing how to make them – and many other people – feel good. These stories touch me deeply, as does this whole unfortunate situation, because growing up in New England I had an equally large-hearted Irish uncle of the older Democratic type, who died not long ago.

But it only takes a moment’s thought to realize that the U.S. Coast Guard should not be at anyone’s personal disposal, even in a good cause. Any other rich and influential politician using a public service for a private purpose would have been looked at very differently.

Kennedy had a similar relationship with the Church. He didn’t have much respect for the Church’s proper institutional functions either, but he claimed Catholic privileges when they served his personal projects.

It was an outrage that the Coast Guard allowed itself to be used in this fashion. It is a scandal, one that sadly will have multiple bad consequences, that the Church did the same.

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West.

© 2009 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info at thecatholicthing dot org

The Catholic Thing
is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

  • Liz Kayne

    Thank you Robert Royal. For a while there I thought I was the only one in the world outraged by this – and if you want further outrage, read what Mr. Kennedy has written to the pope – about what great Catholic he was. I would like to think he repented in his final moments. I would like to think the priest who was at his bedside & with him the past few weeks was sincere when he stated Kennedy had made right with God. I seriously doubt it. It is not my place to judge – only to pray for him.

  • Rob Kaiser

    Church Time
    “The damage may be irreversible.” – No. Nothing is irreversible. We must think in the time of the Church – hundreds of yeas – 20 centuries in fact. This will pass, and the truth will remain – because the truth isn’t a political idea. It is a person and all things will be reconciled. That is the view we must take.

  • Dixie

    Ted Kennedy
    All the Commentaries. All the Words. Does not explain why God Allowed this Evil to occur. Why? Why, Did God Allow this Evil Occur? To Draw a Greater Good, from it!

  • Willie

    Lamentabili !
    Ah! Professor do not worry just another shot of ecclesial schizophrenia for the faithful to deal with. What was the reason for this holy adulation? Was Mr Kennedy a great politician, a great contributor or just an exemplary Catholic? Is the Church fearful of criticism? Your guess is as good as mine. Yes, an antacid may be in order this morning. What comes to mind is a coment to the Laodicians(Rev). “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

  • Jennifer Livingston

    Weekend Angst
    My entire weekend was filled by an internal angst watching this man honored in such way knowing his rabid support for abortion. Seeing him honored w/the presence of a Cardinal at his funeral caused me to think twice about this Church of which I am a member. A crisis of faith is rising w/in me.

  • MariGold

    Unintended Good Effects
    The excellent article by Robert Royal leaves little room for any response beyond the sincere desire to “get past” the Kennedy funerarial games, with all their insincere pomp. But it was TV’s coverage of John Kennedy’s funeral that was the beginning of my Catholic journey. I was only 12 years old when Kennedy died and was ignorant of both the dark issues in America and the Catholic Thing. But I saw the beauty of the Catholic tradition and ten years later, I embraced it and became 100% pro-life

  • Laura V.

    Sadly sickened
    Although we can hope for a private repentance and forgiveness at the time of death, the end of a life lived in public , openly defying Catholic teachings, must include a public repudiation of the sin(s) committed. The Church has allowed herself to be used again and I am sickened by it. Of course the Truth will remain, but what has been the cost–this funeral sent the wrong message to all Catholics, especially Catholic politicians.

  • Donna P

    lf Ted met Rosemary
    Rosemary, a sweet friend of mine, died last week too. She was a feisty, outspoken defender of life. Musing upon the two deaths, I imagined a poetic eternal justice: if there were such a thing as a “heavenly waiting room” would it not be ironic if Rosemary were seated next to Ted. I envision her turning to glance at her seat partner, realizing who he was, and gloming onto him like kids on a pile of Smarties. Poor man wouldn’t have stood a chance.

    As for his funeral: should have been private

  • William

    Not of the First Rank
    Cardinal O’Malley pretty much had to be there which, of course, means as senior Churchman, he “presided.” Notice, however, that he was in “choir” dress, and not in any way vested for Mass. Notice also that no bishop’s miter or bishop’s crosier was anywhere to be seen!! No, this was not a Catholic funeral of the first rank. Still, it was Holy Mass and should not have been used to advance the agenda of the pro-abortion Democrat Party. Yes, I was scandalized.

  • Ron

    Other Misperceptions
    “Passionately disrespectful of life” not when Ted Kennedy defended the immigrant, spread education for the ignorant, sponsored healing opportunities for the sick, shelter for the homeless, jobs for the unemployed and the means to sustenence for the hungry. We were never asked to be the Church of the Unborn Alone. “Life” is a broader concept than the obstetric which may be why the Vatican does not always do as some Anericans may wish.

  • Marge

    I was very disappointed that although the Senator may have made his peace with the Lord via a final confession, etc. I would have had respect for him if he had expressed his sorrow in backing abortion and gay marriage in a public statement. May he rest in peace.

  • Robert Royal

    Ron: The Vatican and our bishops have repeatedly said that being “good” on other issues does not make up for being bad on abortion. Look it up. You are repeating something false that many would like to be true. William, all you say seems true, and Cardinal McCarrick is the retired not current archbishop of Washington. But the Church might as well have issued a statement in Latin. No one but a select few noticed these details. The great public scandal still stands. But Dr. Dennis, God rules.

  • Ed

    INNOCENT human life.
    Sadly, you made a common mistake with regard to the Church’s position on abortion. Its about the defense of INNOCENT human life. This is what differentiates the Church’s official position with its official position on capital punishment which has to do with individuals who are GUILTY of murder. Abortion is absolutely indefensible while capital punishment can be justified. Cardinal Dulles some years ago spoke eloquently on the subject.

  • Ray Lizotte

    Thank you for conferming
    Amen! Why does it have to be this way. we don’t hear it from the church when we are suppose to hear it. but thanks for your editorial.. it is a comfort.
    but again it should have come from the church…. It is a scandal….

  • M. T. Pompei

    Thanks so much for this article. Like yourself, I love my Church and I’ve been so sad and disappointed after watching her leaders acting in a way that tells everyone that it’s acceptable to say that you love your faith and your Church while your actions say the opposite and that when you die never retracting your positions, the Church will allow a big, Catholic, solemn funeral for you. It’s been very, very sad, to say the least. THANK YOU FOR SAYING IT SO WELL.

  • Timothy O’Donnell

    Reconsider your position,
    The promotion of institutionalized murder of innocent human life is paramount. Turning your argument around, let’s assume Kennedy was instead pro-life, i.e. staunchly protecting the unborn, but promoted the indiscriminate murder of all illegal aliens or killing toddlers for fun. Would you see him in the same light? Your statement presupposes human beings in the earliest stages of development are less valuable or invaluable. I suggest reading Evangelium Vitae for enlightenment.

  • Charlotte

    No Misrepresentation
    He was indeed “passionately disrespectful of life”. He did not defend the immigrant, spread education. or help heal the sick. He advocated a political agenda he hoped would have those effects. Another political path might have accomplished those goals more effectively. But even if his social programs were 100% effective, the Church’s social teachings are not to be used as a free pass by those who pursue violence against the unborn.

  • Lauren Moore

    Ted Kennedy’s funeral
    how deceitful the media is to promote the “positive” things Ted Kennedy did while ignoring the murder of Mary Jo Kopechne and his cheating while at Harvard as well as his grandiose Senate persona . His “aura of goodness’ is a fraud on the people of this country. He missed many opportunities to actually promote Catholic ideals such as the dignity of life. Where has truth gone?

  • Larry Brooks

    I am not scandalized at the Catholic Funeral of Sen. Kennedy. I have read Canon Law and clearly the Senator displayed signs being penitant at the time of his death adn even before. The entire family was present and praying with and for Mr. Kennedy according to the priest who attended his last hours. His letter to the Holy Father adn the Holy Father’s response reflect what Canon 1184 speaks of regarding a public sin. Card. O’Malley, his bishop gave final approval. THE CHURCH HAS SPOKEN. AMEN

  • Jacob

    How come Catholic Things commentators take such a special joy in insulting the opinions of their readers?

    Do they think that TCT is actually delivering so much that it merits pompousness? The writing is not extraordinary and they’re written as opinion pieces without a whole heck of a lot of independent sources to back them up (just like the media you look down on).

  • Ron

    Following Advice
    Mr Royal, As you suggested I have been looking it up: “The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good.” …Faithful Citizenship

  • Mac

    seems approproate that he was buried in the dark . . .

  • Max Howard

    All equal in eyes of God
    Ted kennedy was protrayed as a biigger than life politician, American, father and Catholic. I felt that The Church which I have a great love for was used and abused by the Kennedys and even in death manipulated to showcase the Kennedy name. In a regular Catholic Mass only a short talk by a person who knew the deceased is allowed to speak in reference to the deceased faith but three were allowed to speak. Ted who opposed the Church on abortion and many other issues was given special treatment

  • Anne Barbeau Gardiner

    spot on
    This column is spot on. It is indeed a colossal outrage that cardinals allowed themselves to be used to veil the rottenness of Kennedy’s career as prime advocate of the culture of death.

  • Fr. John Mary

    On Further Reflection
    Today as I was preparing to celebrate Holy Mass, I reflected upon something that is so essential and yet today, in our era of “private morality”, we are so accustomed to forget. It is one thing if someone sins “privately”, I say this with careful distinctions, becauae no sin is private (Pius XII). But when a public figure consistently and obstinately persists in a public manner to promote a “heinous crime”, such as abortion, the public has a right to know that they repented and have converted.

  • Robert Royal

    Ron: No one disputes that. Only fanatics do. The more relevant point for this discussion: “But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community” (Living the Gospel of Life,23).

  • steve binsfeld

    parishoner input
    should be advertised around the world

  • Charlie H

    It was only until after Mr. Royal’s column that I recognized the scandal. At first, I felt bad that I had not recognized it by myself. I was lucky enough to get a Catholic education and be educated on the faith. Shouldn’t this be enough to awaken a sense of the evil taking place? Unfortunately I think the confusion in American Catholic culture has been so overwhelming during my 23-yr lifetime that I have become desensitized. Thanks to Royal and other leadership for your keen eyes.

  • Richard A

    "great guy"
    I wasn’t as scandalized, because I didn’t watch it.
    As far as Ted Kennedy being a great legislator despite a few personal failings, I am reminded of a bit of folk wisdom offered by parents to daughters who are dating ‘nice guys’ – a nice guy who is mean to the waiter is not a nice guy.

  • Dennis Larkin

    Hesburgh too
    It was Ted Hesburgh who spent his 35 years as president of Notre Dame giving the gravest measure of intellectual cover to abortionist politicians, to the everlasting shame of ND. The graduation incident this year and Kennedy’s funeral are all of a piece. I vote Ted Hesburgh, and not Ted Kennedy, as the most destructive American Catholic of the past half century.

  • Bill Byrd

    I can only observe that the church is a constant anchor of opinion and practice..It is in interpretation that men err. I feel that the fear of public was stronger than the message of God & church.

  • CarolineW

    Thank you for writig this. It was eating at me all weekend. That Ted Kennedy shoud have been celebrated as a visible sign of Christ’s church is, indeed, a scandal.

  • debby

    thank you!
    i have emailed all my contacts to read Friday’s and today’s TCT posts.
    THANK YOU, Mr. Royal!
    my heart is sore over this, yet another leperous wound on the Faith in America. i hate to say it, but even as Cardinal O’Malley dressed down his role, FEW understood all of the missing items, and MOST see his and all those clerics present as a Nod of Approval from the Holy See. american catholics don’t know these nuances let alone the rest of the population.
    Jesus longs for us to be HOLY not popular!

  • Diane

    Kennedy funeral
    I read this commentary with some anger at the the omission of the “extra privileges” that Kennedy was given, i.e. private Masses in his living room that he and the family attended. How many of us Catholics have been given that privilege?

  • Fr. Benedict

    Thank You
    Thank you – this was the commentary I was waiting for – please see that it gets wide circulation. This a grave crisis and a moment of true scandal in the biblical sense.

  • h koczur

    Truth and Courage
    The cardinal was not courageous, and therefore let this entire funeral get out of hand. Why don’t we worry more about offending God, than the Kennedys and Washington politicians?

  • Jim

    A lot at stake
    Peter Maurin’s biographer referred to him as a 20th century prophet. I think God raises up prophets because we need to hear what they are given to say. Maurin said that the Catholic Church was the last moral security in the world. In other words it was all that stood in the way of a descent into barbarism. He also called those who compromised the Church’s teachings to fit into an alien cuture “non-Catholic Catholics.

  • Jean

    I was outraged! While extremely eloquent, “Teddy Jr.” described his Dad as being a “devout Catholic”. I almost fell out of my chair! All I could think of through the whole thing was Mary Jo Kopechne. I am so very tired of people using our church for their own “feelly good”. Thanks for the GREAT article. I’ll send it to all my Catholic and some non-Catholic friends. Keep it coming!!!

  • David H. Lukenbill

    Constancy and the Center
    As a convert of five years, it took me awhile to learn that the true hierarchy of the Church—the Vatican in Rome—supersedes the local and national hierarchies, and thought the local and national hierarchies issue statements that I once thought were binding on me as a Catholic, I learned that it is only when those statements are congruent with the teaching from the center: the Holy Father and the teaching expressed in the universal catechism, the Vatican’s Catechism of the Catholic Church, that I am so bound, to remain in league with the Church.

    The actions of local and national Catholic leaders—whether clergy, theologians, or politicians—if followed without reference to the center, can often lead us astray, and that is what happened this weekend with the funeral mass you’ve written so eloquently about.

  • Bradley

    To correct William’s remark below: Cardinal O’Malley did indeed don his miter and cope for a prayer after communion, before which he publicly thanked the President for his presence and his eulogy. Which begs the question: Is it possible to be orthodox and gracious at the same time? Both the Pope and the Cardinal are crystal clear and uncompromising about abortion, yet have warmly and graciously greeted Obama in public. Indeed, perhaps Saturday was a “teachable” moment for us to ponder.

  • Achilles

    putting things in order
    This is all indeed a “teachable moment” but the willfully blind and deaf have missed the lesson completely. 2 Timothy 3 ” in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,…”
    And what is your concern? Courteous form?

  • PR from Philadelphia

    Typical Hypocris
    This comment is the type that shows how out of touch the Church is as it allows abortion to mindlessly trump other issues. You overlook how Sen. Kennedy tried to help the disadvantaged have some dignity through the provision of a decent meal and health care. More disturbing to me is how you will not direct the same vitriol towards another politician who wages war, executes criminals and presides over the uneven distribution of wealth — as long as THAT politician fights abortion.

  • Bradley

    To Achilles
    My concern is not courtesy. It is converting hearts so that the grave sin of abortion won’t happen. Given the opportunity to publicly shun Obama/Kennedy in a manner that would have generated major global headlines about the church’s abortion teaching, neither the Pope nor Cardinal O’Malley availed themselves of the opportunity. Quite the opposite. Any intelligent Catholic, righteously angry about abortion, should at least ask why and contemplate the example of these two prayerful men.

  • Frank J. Murray

    Episcopal Testosterone
    In regard to the Kennedy pomp and circumstance, I was once told on the last day, Resurection Day we would experience a thunderous, earsplitting noise and that noise would be the result of the Bishops being rejoined with their backbones. Isn’t this exactly what we are witnnessing here? Bishops who could probably discourse by the hour on the holy martyrs but are unwilling to expose themselves to the slightest risk for the preservation of the faith or for the salvation of souls? Woe to them.

  • Richard

    It WAS a teachable moment. I am now certain I can totally ignore the teachings of the Church, say what I want, do what I want, etc. and when I die, have a Mass offered for me.
    On second thought, that won’t happen-I’m not “special”.
    Another example of weak leadership in the hierarchy.

  • Paul Schultz

    Well said
    Well said, and a good point made.

  • Achilles

    Bradley, Thanks for your clarification. I must say for the record that you speak only for yourself. Your discriptions of the writers at tct and some of the posters are quite disconnected from reality or obvious intention. Your reductions are clever, but not wise. There is far too much to comment on, so adequate explanation will have to wait.
    I pray for Obama and the repose of TK’s soul, please pray for me.

  • Bob Bobic

    Deathbed conversion
    I understand that Ted Kennedy made a deathbed conversion to Catholicism.

  • Bradley

    To Achilles
    I never claim to speak for anyone other than myself. You are correct that my observations (and, in fact temperament) often differ from TCT, but a healthy debate is good, and my comments are within the bounds of orthodoxy. Such is the beauty of RCC. If there is any disagreement with TCT columnists (eg, Mr. Marlin last Friday), it is fleeting and not personal. With respect to my comments here, I am concerned that unchecked anger can be both dangerous and counterproductive. I pray 4U. pax

  • Achilles

    To Bradley
    Thanks for even more clarification.
    I too love a good debate and strive for orthodoxy. It is my greatest wish that we find our common ground in Orthodoxy itself.
    On your final point we agree brother! Pax et Bonum.

  • Ron

    To PR from Philly
    I agree with everything but your first sentiment. The Church is not mindlessly trumping other issues with abortion, some bloggers are. Last weeks resignation of Bishop Martino confirms this. The message is clear. The conservative clique attempting to override the majority of Bishops has gone too far. The venomous attacks and concurrent violence in the abortion debate surging during the Presidential campaigns has undermined civil discourse and threatens Church and State.

  • Austin Ruse

    Ron, The church teaches that abortion is the most important issue of social just and human rights in our time.
    About Bishop Martino. Perhaps you can offer some kind of proof that he retired for other than health reasons.

  • phyllis meister

    great commentary…….thank you

  • John Kasaian

    What I found ofensive about Kennedy’s funeral was the behavior of Cardinal McCarrick. If the Coast Guard was used and abused by Kennedy, wouldn’t it also stand to reason that Cardinal McCarrick’s misrepresentaion of the Benedict 16 “note” at the graveside service was an abuse of the Holy See which Ted mocked in life? What about the Prayers of the Faithful, where political agendas hostile to the Church were presented in a Basilica, no less? In the presence of a Cardinal?

  • Dust

    Unholy smoke
    This and other actions by members of the Church, some in high places, brings to mind the statement made by Pope Paul VI:” the smoke of Satan has entered the Church.”

  • denise dunn

    how about the fact he was divorced and remarried, I bet they did not give him a hard time but I know people who were turned away because of that,
    not fair.

  • Dennis

    Justice vs Mercy
    Bishop Martino makes me proud to be a catholic and his flock were not deserving of him. Senator Kennedy made me ashamed to belong to the same faith as he did. The clergy involved with the funeral were more political than holy but to not second guess them I suppose we can all hope that what they did was to give Ted the benefit of not judging him here on earth, knowing that God is about to introduce him to the murdered babies.

  • alan

    Your article is another example of how the America of Hannity, O’Reilly, and Limbaugh has divided all Americans into 2 camps. If you do not agree with me you are the enemy to be despised. “My way or the highway” is not what built America. America was built on compassion for others, and most of all at the hour of our death. My hat is off to O’Malley and all the clergy that burried this much loved and repentent Catholic. Down with bigots and intolerance!

  • Austin Ruse

    Actually Hannity and O’Relly are just as unfaithful Catholics as Kennedy

  • Thomas Mckirdy

    Royal is wrong
    Mr. Royal you sir are a wing nut. There are many Catholics that are pro-choice will you deny them a right to a christian burial.

  • Ron

    C.O’MalleyOn Funeral
    We must show those who do not share our belief about life that we care about them. We will stop the practice of abortion by changing the law, and we will be successful in changing the law if we change people’s hearts. We will not change hearts by turning away from people in their time of need and when they are experiencing grief and loss.

    At times, even in the Church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the Church.

  • Ed

    Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church has never let principles get in the way of money and politics.

  • Robert Royal

    Mr. McKirdy: You have to read more carefully. In the column, I say explicitly that it would have been WRONG to deny Kennedy a Catholic funeral. I don’t know how to make it any clearer. But he was a prominent public figure and the failure to indicate by some sign not merely his disagreement with Church teaching, but passionate leadership of abortion forces is a scandal in theological terms.

  • Alice

    Lighten Up Royal!
    I am a non-cathloic and watched the Kennedy funeral with great interest and was deeply moved by the man and the service.
    I called other people and asked them to watch history unfold.
    It was a Great Thing, that the funeral was allowed and we could be seen as civilised and good humored people, with a strong sense of coutry and religion.
    It is odious to me to think that the God I was so impressed with at the funeral
    the other evening is represented by you.
    That is what is great about the US.

  • Robert Royal

    Alice, I’m happy you found some inspiration in the Catholic Mass. But some of us could not forget the 50 million children who were never born because of some of the people in that church. It’s a good thing to lighten up if you are being too uptight. But it’s also a good thing to tighten up when you are taking very grave matters much too lightly.

  • [none given]

    Thank you for writting this artical. I live in NH and have never understood the devotion from Catholics to this man and his politics concerning abortion. He has added so much to the confution in the Church, I heard a woman on the news the other night saying she was a pro-choice Catholic? Can there be such a thing? I for one just don’t get it and have all but lost hope for the Bishops in this country. I still pray for them but I feel their faith has lost out to the $. What then?

  • June Vendetti

    Doing The Right Thing
    It seems to me that if someone is opposed to the Church’s teachings in any way, they should not expect accolades from the Church. You are right in saying that the the Church could have used this as a “teachable moment.” How sad that it didn’t! We know that Jesus did not mince words when they were making a market place out of His Father’s House. When it comes to a man who was a staunch supporter of abortion, the Church should have cried out emphatically, “Let there be no more killing of infants!”

  • maureen

    just don’t get it!
    Would this happen with ANY other Religion …no it wouldn’t! We as Catholics are push overs afraid of what people will think! It’s about time Catholics take the road as the martyrs…STAND UP FOR YOUR BELIEFS!

  • mike diese

    Judge Not!
    In the very presence of death, Jesus absolved a repentant thief destined to die from his sins and welcomed him in Paradise.

  • Bob Terry

    Kennedy Funeral
    Just after Mr Kennedy’s death it was reported that the family was having a private Mass said on Wednesday before the public funeral on Saturday. I have heard nothing about this since and I wonder why no one is bringing this up. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that that would have been The Mass of Christian Burial and that the Saturday extravaganza was a public memorial service. Much of the controversy is around the concept of whether or not Mr Kennedy should have been given a Catholic funeral.

  • Paddy Dennehy

    Too Late
    The time to address the issues of an Irish Catholic politician who has thumbed his nose at Catholic beliefs is when he was alive. If the bishops and priests allowed him to mistakenly represent Catholics without any opposition, then they really can’t attack him once he is dead. The reason he is a hero is that some gutless clergy played politics. There are several other “Catholic” politicians who also thumb their nose at Catholic beliefs. now is the time to address them, don’t wait until death.

  • eileen

    off the rails
    The unfaithful hierarchy must be cleansed from the church. Catholics must rise up and close their billfolds to these weak, equivocating bishops. By nature we are obedient and respectful, but obeying and respecting those who drag mother church into the swamp is folly. Pray and raise hell about it, then send your donations to a faithful diocese like Lincoln or Denver. Out with the double talking destroyers of the faith.

  • James Kennedy

    who so ever
    The silence by the catholic clergy, has resulted in the destruction of life not only for our lost children but all the men and woman who have been destroyed mentaly and spiritually from the lack of CHRIST centered guidance. In today’s gospel OUR GOD, THE LORD JESUS commands us to pick up our cross,and follow him.Our church is stuck with politically correct self indulgent leaders, pick up your cross? With hands full of the world’s stuff and no works to exibit true faith..WE all fall short.

  • Dermott Mullin

    Kennedy inkstains
    I am often critical of things American, some American values, a seeming difficulty sometimes to include the rest of the world in your idea of the world. But heavens! At times you can put your finger on things, and you have done so here.
    I could forgive Senator Kennedy the Coast Guard cutter (just about), I would have more difficulty with the blocking of Catholic education aid. But I do not, cannot, forgive his resolute leadership in the taking of unborn life. It is the Kennedys’ true inkstain.