Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, August 31, 2009

What to make of Ted Kennedy?

Right up front, I'll get to some disclosures about the late Sen. Kennedy.

1) I never met him.
2) On the basis of ideology, I really, really disagreed with him on pretty much everything.
3) He seems to have been a man with a lot of demons. (I'm guessing being Joe Kennedy Sr.'s son couldn't have such a treat.)
4) The panegyrics to him drive me up the wall, far more than he did in life.
5) I prayed for his soul.

I'm one of those people who believed that, in spite of his aggressive and unrelenting support of abortion rights during his career, the fact he seems to have made a Sacramental Confession at his deathbed would allow for a Catholic funeral for him. I would like to believe he repented of his support for abortion and same sex unions and embryonic stem-cell research, etc.

But... somebody somewhere should have made sure his funeral Mass was not the crypto-partisan debacle it turned into.

At some point -- I'm thinking the homily -- it might have been time to highlight the fact his support of these cast a serious pall on his legacy.

I'll set aside other strictly ideological issues (not that adherents of appeasement and redistribution a specific approach to "peace and justice" are doing same) and for the purposes of discussion grant that Sen. Kennedy was, in fact doing what he thought was best to help the downtrodden and so forth.

That still doesn't address a lot of other areas where Sen. Kennedy might have acted out of sync with Catholic teaching. The HuffPo (emphases mine):
"Obama praised Ted for modeling how to struggle intensely against your opponents, but never stooping to demonize or denounce them. Be loud. Be Raucous. Be militant. But be civil."
How that squares with:
"Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy."
It's one thing for a faithful Catholic to agree with much of what Sen. Kennedy stood for, but quite another to gloss over or minimize his flaws and the consequences of those flaws.

It's supremely ironic that it was Barack Obama who reminded everyone that Ted Kennedy's soul needs prayer*. Because it does, regardless of the paeans and homages.



* As does mine, maybe even more than his.


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