Ted Kennedy and the "A Word"

Ted Kennedy Abortion Letter

 

Hattip to the ever alert Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia.   Michael Sean Winters at the Jesuit publication America launched a diatribe at Patrick Madrid for his response to Sister Maureen Fiedler’s lament on the death of Senator Kennedy at National Catholic Reporter, He Made Me Proud to Be Catholic, in which Madrid pointed out the obvious:  Kennedy was a total pro-abort.  Poor Mr. Winters!  He didn’t realize he was about to enter the fisk machine of Father Z!  You may read the results here.  Here is Madrid’s response.  Note to liberal Catholics:  if you are going to lionize a person like Kennedy, who was ever deaf to the cries of the unborn since his switch on the issue, see above letter,  back in the early seventies, there are plenty of other Catholics who are going to point out this very unpleasant fact.

47 Responses to Ted Kennedy and the "A Word"

  • e. says:

    Mr. McClarey:

    Did not Christ teach us not to judge???

    For shame!

    Who are you to do thus, especially when Christ taught us, his very followers, that we are not to judge our fellow man!

    Besides, who gives a squat about the screams of millions of babies being severed within their own mother’s wombs — good riddance to the innocent; they deserve to be heinously murdered.

    Kennedy was nothing more than a misunderstood wreck who was actually a good man.

    The killing of millions of children he was actually responsible for is merely a small blemish that we shouldn’t even consider.

  • E forgets that verse of Scripture which says, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

    Kennedy openly and publicly opposed Church teaching on every non-negotionable issue.

    What is even sadder is that the people of Massachusetts preferred a raging active alcoholic who killed Mary Jo Kopechne represent them in the Senate than a sober person who actually valued human life.

    As Thomas Jefferson said, “The people deserve the government they get.”

    It’s 1st Samuel chapter 8 all over again. It’s not God’s Prophet we reject, but God Himself.

    And that my friends is the hallmark of the putrid sickening disease known as liberal-ISM: I, Self and Me.

    There’s more here:

    What’s Wrong with Liberal Catholics
    http://commentarius-ioannis.blogspot.com/2009/08/whats-wrong-with-liberal-catholics.html

  • From the link in the last comment: “yes, if the Russians had ever attacked the U.S. and I got ordered “to push the button” (extremely unlikely since I was a reactor operator, not a torpedo man), then I would have pushed the button without a second thought”.

    There you have it — a man who professes proudly that he would commit an intrinsically evil act, all the while lambasting his fellow Catholics for not doing enough to fight another intrinsically evil act. This cognitive dissonance sums up exactly what is wrong with the noisy form of American Catholicism that seems to be over-represented in the blogosphere.

    And by the way, Donald, you are a “liberal Catholic” yourself. Your radical individualism on everything from the economy to gun ownership gives you away as a pure child of the Enlightenment, especially in its Scottish form. Embrace it!

  • I’m trying to think if MM is aware that he’s just made several arguments that all boil down to, “Oh yeah, well you’re just as bad as me, so nya!” and if so, if he thinks this is actually a good argument, even if true — which in the case of his aspersions against Donald it clearly isn’t. (Which is not to presume guilt against Paul, I just haven’t looked into MM’s claim.)

    Honestly, Winters and Minion are clearly in an untenable position in regards to Kennedy. On the one hand, they desperately want to lionize him as a great Catholic legislator of a certain era — on the other Sen. Kennedy himself, while he was eager to stand up for those elements of Church teaching which he considered to be conveniently aligned with the agenda of the party he was already a member of, never chose to buck the liberal consensus on a single major Church moral issue to which his party was opposed: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, gay marriage, etc.

    I think it’s appropriate not to make a big deal of this right now, as Kennedy’s family and friends are in mourning (and contrary to the example which, as I recall, MM himself set in viciously attacking William F. Buckley on the day he died) but that doesn’t mean it’s time to whiten the sepulcher.

  • Jay Anderson says:

    Yes, if I recall correctly, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley – who by any objective measure was arguably the equal in stature on the American right as Sen. Kennedy was on the American left – was deemed to be “not a great man” and “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”.

    And what, praytell, was the reason Mr. Buckley was dressed down, while his body was still warm, as not great and insufficiently Catholic? Because he allegedly coined a phrase that he never actually coined (“Mater si, magister no”) as a cover story that was never actually a cover story, and was a proponent of free markets. For that, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley was held up as an example of a “cafeteria Catholic” unworthy of being honored.

    Meanwhile, we are told that we are “boors” if we don’t gloss over Sen. Kennedy’s despicable record as one of the most vocal advocates for unrestricted abortion on Capitol Hill, who used his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose any effort at resticting abortion via legislative means (yes, even the PBA ban) and to oppose (even resorting to slander and innuendo) any federal judge who might even think about overturning Roe v. Wade. And that’s not even covering his record on issues such as ESCR, same-sex “marriage”, etc.

    No, we simply MUST NOT consider Sen. Kennedy to be, like Mr. Buckley, “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”; rather, we are to agree with Sr. Fiedler that Sen. Kennedy was the very model of a modern Catholic in the public square (despite the clear problems Sen. Kennedy’s stance on abortion – a lead that was soon followed by a great many other Catholic politicans – has caused the Bishops), lest we be deemed “callous”, “inhumane”, and “indecent” by some blogger at America with his own partisan axe to grind.

  • I am grateful that Sen. Kennedy wrote this letter, and I hope it will be a good witness for him at the Judgment despite his fall. RIP.

    e. writes: “The killing of millions of children he was actually responsible for is merely a small blemish that we shouldn’t even consider.”

    Given Kennedy’s philandering, he was likely personally responsible for several dozen abortions. We should remember that many vocally pro-choice men and women have procured abortions themselves.

    We should remember this both out of compassion for their consciences and out of interest in evaluating the political and moral debate.

    On a different note, to repeat a comment I’ve posted at Mark Shea’s:

    I recently talked to a pro-life Democratic veteran of my city’s politics. He told me how much his political career has been hamstrung because he won’t go over to the pro-choice side.

    The conversation made me realize that Democrats who became pro-choice did not simply undergo a change of opinion. They became part of the political network which would otherwise suppress them. And they then aided in the suppression of their former comrades.

    Who was the last Massachusetts pro-life Democrat Sen. Kennedy threw his weight behind? Since his change of view, when has he supported a pro-life Democrat in a primary race against a pro-choice Democrat?

    I fear Kennedy helped strangle the careers of many pro-life Democrats in his state and his national party. Am I wrong?

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “And by the way, Donald, you are a “liberal Catholic” yourself. Your radical individualism on everything from the economy to gun ownership gives you away as a pure child of the Enlightenment, especially in its Scottish form.”

    No, Tony my political positions “give me away” as an American conservative in this century and a devotee of the Founding Fathers of this country. Of course one of my political positions is unyielding opposition to abortion, something that liberal Catholics like yourself find entirely dispensable when deciding who to vote for and who to lionize after death. Liberal Catholics in this country have a major problem in that most of them, with certain very honorable exceptions, support politicians who view abortion as a sacred right. This simply cannot be squared with Catholicism, and all the sophistry in the world will not do it.

  • Dale Price says:

    Jay:

    Yes, if I recall correctly, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley – who by any objective measure was arguably the equal in stature on the American right as Sen. Kennedy was on the American left – was deemed to be “not a great man” and “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”.

    And what, praytell, was the reason Mr. Buckley was dressed down, while his body was still warm, as not great and insufficiently Catholic?

    Well, my dear Watson, there are several possible answers:

    1. The proponent has no shame whatsoever;

    2. The proponent suffers from an incurable dualist world view that divides people along American political lines; or

    3. If irony were iron we’d all build our houses out of steel.

    You were saying something recently about self-parody…

  • S.B. says:

    MM himself set in viciously attacking William F. Buckley on the day he died

    Attacking with flagrant dishonesty, by praising G. Alkon for telling the truth about Buckley even after Alkon had admitted that he was wrong in every detail.

  • My admiration of Kennedy is based on his lifetime of fighting for healthcare reform and social and economic justice – things that don’t seem to be taken that serously around here. To define him based on his awful change of mind on abortion is a bit ridiculous. (On the other hand, Bush and Cheney WILL be defined by their war and torture policies, that being central to their legacy).

    So often, it seems to be that abortion is used as a respectable cloak to hide opinions that are not so respectable. I’ve noticed that many Catholics who oppose healthcare reform hammer on the abortion issue, but are also opposed on principles of free market liberalism. Let me ask this – if Kennedy had not changed his position on abortion, and did everything else the same, would you laud his lifetime of achievements?

    Oops, I’ve juts noticed who is commenting here. I’ll not stay here and debate when one who has threatened violence against me is in the room. Perhaps some other time.

  • Dale Price says:

    Another day, another lie, eh, Tony? It’s remarkable how easily it comes to you.

    By the way, I’m here *a lot*. Thus, it sounds like you won’t be. What a shame.

  • paul zummo says:

    debate when one who has threatened violence against me is in the room. Perhaps some other time.

    You know, you’re not really worth the time responding to, but when you change the topic of debate and then impugn the character of someone else in an effort to avoid talking about your own deficient understanding of Catholic teaching, then you need to be called out for your bs.

    First of all, he’s not just being called out for a change of heart on abortion, though the fact that you so easily dismiss this topic is very revealing about your own lack of concern about the unborn. Frankly you’ve never expressed any sort of feeling on the issue that demonstrates that your supposed pro-life stance is simply a respectable cloak to hide a true opinion that most Catholics would find not so respectable, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Getting back to Ted Kennedy, he was a womanizing alcoholic who let a woman asphyxiate under water while he slept it off, and then later evidently joked about the whole affair. He was a virulent supporter of abortion rights, and defamed a would-be Supreme Court Justice who certainly would have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, and did it by engaging in one of the most obscene demonstrations of demagoguery in the history of the US Senate. The fact that you can gloss over these aspects of his personal life and public persona again is more indicative of where your priorities lie. Evidently the death of a woman due to Kennedy’s negligence isn’t as important as the fact that he supported universal health care.

    And your dig at Dale is incredibly transparent. You mocked the man for relaying a personal experience, and then essentially lied about it and exaggerated it in future communications. Truly despicable, but it’s easy to be so callous when you know you are unlikely to run into Dale. You’re noticeably a little more deferential to those who you might actually have to encounter.

  • e. says:

    Paul Primavera:

    It seems you missed the irony in my comments that were actually a carry-over from a previous thread wherein I and all those critical of Kennedy were castigated for having criticized Kennedy for the evils he was actually responsible for.

    The last statement in my comments should’ve clued you in on that.

    In other words, to put it mildly, I regard the man with ill disrepute.

  • e. says:

    Kevin Jones:

    Kennedy in his official capacity as Senator affected policy, pure and simple, such that his actions carried with them severe repercussions, not therefore only limited to his personal “indiscretions” (for those like Mr. Primavera who might misconstrue this, I am of course merely employing a euphemism for outright murder), but to the vast populations of millions of United States citizens wherein he facilitated by legislative support and, thus, enabled the very murders of hundreds of other children.

    We cannot forget that those who hold such high responsibilities will also suffer the highest penalty, pursuant to Scripture, should they abuse their position of power for evil.

    And there is no greater evil, as we know from Our Lord Himself, than harming, let alone, purposely killing children!

  • Let me ask this – if Kennedy had not changed his position on abortion, and did everything else the same, would you laud his lifetime of achievements?

    Actually, there’s a pretty clear example to look at here. If you look at the conservative Catholic reaction to the life achievements and death of Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan, it was significantly more positive than the reaction to Sen. Ted Kennedy. Moynihan was pro-choice as well, but at least he wasn’t as rabidly and unrepentantly so as Kennedy — and unlike Kennedy he opposed partial birth infanticide/abortion. Also unlike Kennedy, he actually cared about helping the poor rather than just demogauging them, and so he acknowledged the extent to which the Great Society programs which Kennedy had been a key proponent of had come to harm the very people they sought to help, and worked to mitigate those harms.

    Nor did he have all the unfortunate (to put it mildly) personal qualities which Kennedy embodied.

    The real question is: Why do partisan leftist Catholic like you and Winters not find a better target for your admiration?

  • jonathanjones02 says:

    Why do partisan leftist Catholic like you and Winters not find a better target for your admiration?

    Partisan is exactly right. This passing, like that of Sen. Wellstone, has turned into another absurd moment to preen by many on the left. (And for Catholics to lionize someone who was a strong advocate for abortion and was the direct and unrepretant cause of death of another person is distrubing – and no I am not calling for his demonization either.)

    Fortunately, the CBO and many less than politically engaged Americans are putting a big hurt on the attempts to ram through legislation, supposedly in his “honor.”

    This is also strange and sick, if true:

  • e. says:

    jonathanjones02:

    I take issue with your having generalized the disillusioned, if not, deluded body of mad admirers for such a murderer as he to encompass the general assembly of Catholics, as apparently indicated in your “and for Catholics to lionize”.

    It is not we “Catholics”; it is more so those who merely think they are “Catholic”.

    Clearly, those who would be so ignoble as to support the deliberate dismembering of an innocent baby in such a heinous manner, as in abortion, are not.

  • Zak says:

    Well, MM, among the Catholic crowd here, there’s almost universal admiration for Governor Casey, who was as far left as Kennedy on issues like the minimum wage and healthcare but didn’t vote like a card-carrying member of NARAL on abortion. That suggests that it is indeed abortion, and not left-wing economics, that people object to in Kennedy (who, anyway, on economic issues was much more willing to compromise or ignore left-wing orthodoxy–as when he supported transportation deregulation–than on bioethical issues)

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Agreed Zak. I have often lauded Bob Casey, Sr. who was a hero in the fight against abortion. I have voted for pro-life Democrats in the past, including Glenn Poshard when he ran against George Ryan for governor of Illinois. I would inquire of Tony as to whether he has ever voted for any pro-life Republican.

  • Jay Anderson says:

    Excellent point, Zak. I’d have voted for the late Bob Casey in a heartbeat.

    Another example is Sen. Kennedy’s sister, the late Eunice Shriver, and her husband Sargent Shriver, who, although old-time liberal Democrats, are universally admired by those who don’t hold Sen. Kennedy in very high esteem.

  • Moe says:

    It was reported that our Pope was “holding close to his heart Eunice as she is called home to eternal life” and that she be rewarded for her ardent faith and generous public service, particularly for those who are physically and mentally challenged. Have we heard anything from the Vatican regarding Senator Kennedy’s death?

  • e. says:

    Have we heard anything from the Vatican regarding Senator Kennedy’s death?

    The much beloved Pope might have just as well mouthed in sotto voce, “God is Good!”

  • e. says:

    Has there actually been any eminent example set by His Holiness, especially as concerning how we should in fact conduct ourselves when it comes to either genocidal or even infanticidal despots?

    One of the principle advantages that such men like Kennedy have over Hitler is that Hitler’s atrocities were done ostensibly right out in the open while the formers’ atrocities are done under the most innocuous veil: their mother.

    Perhaps such men will suffer an eternity of tormented screams from all the souls of those innocent babies, who though while still living, their bodies were in fact so terrifyingly dismembered, suffering a most excruciating death.

  • Paul: “your own deficient understanding of Catholic teaching”. Really? Care to elaborate? Or are you one of those who aligns Catholicism with the strand of right-wing American liberalism that calls itself conservatism?

    Paul: “Getting back to Ted Kennedy, he was a womanizing alcoholic who let a woman asphyxiate under water while he slept it off”

    I find it absolutely disgusting that you bring that up. This is something that Kennedy had to live with his whole life. I know somebody who (when swerving to avoid a deer) ran head into an oncoming car, and killed the driver. Let me tell you that this guy has been seriously screwed up since that day, and will never be the same again. I pray to God that neither you nor I ever have to live with such a burden. And however negligent he was in this accident (you seem to liken it to homicide), we all know that his sin has been forgiven in confession.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for any recognition from you that Bush and Cheney were complicit in the death of innocent people — both people who were tortured to death based on policies they laid down, and civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I even remember Bush making fun of people he executed in Texas. Are they truly repentent, I wonder? I doubt it.

    Let’s take this a bit further shall, we? Both Bush and Kennedy come from wealthy, priviliged backgrounds, from families with a clear sense of entitlement. Both made some pretty bad choices when they were young, and both reformed. But Kennedy devoted his life to helping the poor and the underprivilged, while Bush devoted his public career to rewarding his rich friends and starting wars. And yet Bush is the pro-life one????

  • MM,

    I find it absolutely disgusting that you bring that up. This is something that Kennedy had to live with his whole life.

    Some might find it rather disgusting that seem to care so little for the woman killed, and for the facts. The reason Kennedy is blamed for his part in this is not that he had an accident, as anyone might. He’s blamed because his account of it is clearly at least partly a lie, because it’s quite evident part of the reason he drove off the bridge is that he was drunk at the time, and because he failed to report the accident to authorities for nearly ten hours, despite numerous opportunities to do so — which according to the rescuers might even have resulted in the victim being saved in time. What makes this gross negligence particularly galling is that for all your sympathies that “Kennedy had to live with this”, any order in citizen who behaved that way would have had to live with it from the confines of jail with a manslaughter or reckless endangerment conviction. The utter corruption of his state and family mean that Kennedy merely had his license suspended a couple months.

    Seriously, have you no shame?

    Both Bush and Kennedy come from wealthy, priviliged backgrounds, from families with a clear sense of entitlement. Both made some pretty bad choices when they were young, and both reformed. But Kennedy devoted his life to helping the poor and the underprivilged, while Bush devoted his public career to rewarding his rich friends and starting wars.

    The other differences have to do with the fact that Kennedy never reformed, but continued his carousing and womanizing thorughout his life, that he anandoned his wife for one of his numerous adulturous relationships, and that his “helping” of the poor and underpriviled involved being one of the key forces in the legal regime of mass slaugher which is “pro-choice America” — a slaughter which, of course, was heavily inflicted upon the poor and minorities. Indeed Kennedy abandoned moral principles any time it was pleasurable to him personally or convenient for his career. Some help and devotion.

    Kennedy was a loud and effective foot soldier for your party of choice, and for that you are welcome to miss him, but please do not assualt reason with claims he was any sort of Catholic hero. From a Catholic point of view he was a deeply, deeply flawed politician. Perhaps one of the worst examples of a Catholic in public life in this country in the last forty years.

  • e. says:

    Morning Minion:

    Your blatant hypocrisy, not to mention, your natural facility for equivocation is not only disconcertingly alarming as it is repugnant.

    For one thing, you hold Bush and Cheney to be complicit for their purportedly Churchillian belligerence when it came to foreign affairs; yet, you hold Kennedy guileless in his own mindfully deliberate pro-abortion affairs which have led to the murdering of countless innocent children!

    Just why exactly you consider your platform, let alone, yourself “Catholic” is simply beyond me!

  • Art Deco says:

    Mr. Bush was a heavy drinker between 196? and 1986. He was arrested for drunk driving once; a local copper in Maine discovered his inebriation after pulling him over for driving too slowly. It is a reasonable inference he may have used LSD at one time or another between 1964 and 1974. Mr. Bush has been married just once; he has no known history of sexual misconduct. Just what is it that indicates he suffers from a pathological ‘sense of entitlement’?

    Ted Kennedy has had a number of things hanging over his head for some time; he also beat a vehicular manslaughter rap, courtesy connections. Allowing a women to suffocate while you shamble back to your cabin to brainstorm with your aides (and pass by proximate opportunities to call for help) is a rather more deliberate act than having a collision while avoiding a deer.

    It was a crime to go to war in Afghanistan? Since when has the Holy See concocted and imposed upon the whole Church an obligation to pacifism?

  • Rick Lugari says:

    Kennedy devoted his life to helping the poor and the underprivilged…

    Problem is, some of us consider the unborn and the infirm as poor and underprivileged. We may or may not think raising the minimum wage a quarter will help many people or that it may hurt more than help. But we do consider it an obligation to guarantee that those people can be born and not killed. That they can live long enough to have to worry about making a living wage.

  • Art Deco says:

    My admiration of Kennedy is based on his lifetime of fighting for healthcare reform and social and economic justice – things that don’t seem to be taken that serously around here.

    Just out of curiosity, how are you defining ‘social and economic justice’?

  • paul zummo says:

    I find it absolutely disgusting that you bring that up.

    To echo what others have said, I find it disgusting that you are more concerned about his advocacy for socialized medicine than that he basically killed a woman. Again, your priorities are sad.

  • Art Deco says:

    I even remember Bush making fun of people he executed in Texas.

    He made a sneering reference to a statement by one Karla Faye Tucker during an interview she gave on Larry King Live (Tucker had murdered a woman by plunging a pick axe into her again, and again, and again).

  • jonathanjones02 says:

    What is “absolutely disgusting” is how tribal political preferences, pathetic name-calling, disdain, and a persistent insistence to assume the worst of others poisons discourse.

    That a public figure of your religion agrees with your political preferences is no basis for emulation. Kennedy both personally endured was personally responsible for a lot of heartache. He should be at the end of any list for Catholics in positions of public responsibility to emulate, regardless of one’s policy positions. Any figure that refuses to advocate for the most vulnerable of our society does not deserve praise. We must instead loudly, comprehensively, and respectfully demand a change of position. Had Kennedy listened to his Church on those matters, the country would be significantly better off.

  • Rick Lugari says:

    To define him based on his awful change of mind on abortion is a bit ridiculous.

    Actually, the man made this one of his defining attributes. He embraced it, proclaimed it, campaigned on it, filled his coffers on it, and he fought for it. He made it a virtue and hallmark of what he was about and he tore down those who were opposed to it.

  • Well, MM, among the Catholic crowd here, there’s almost universal admiration for Governor Casey, who was as far left as Kennedy on issues like the minimum wage and healthcare but didn’t vote like a card-carrying member of NARAL on abortion.

    Kennedy could not possibly measure up to Bob Casey, nor even to his conservative, pro-choice successor Tom Ridge.

    Any figure that refuses to advocate for the most vulnerable of our society does not deserve praise.

    I have not been able to find out any information of Kennedy’s charitable works. Did he found any charitable foundations with his millions? Did he serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless in Boston?

    He made a sneering reference to a statement by one Karla Faye Tucker during an interview she gave on Larry King Live (Tucker had murdered a woman by plunging a pick axe into her again, and again, and again).

    His sneering reference was justified, as Tucker was a nithing.

    Since when has the Holy See concocted and imposed upon the whole Church an obligation to pacifism?

    Such an obligation to pacifism did not exist in the eleventh century.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for any recognition from you that Bush and Cheney were complicit in the death of innocent people — both people who were tortured to death based on policies they laid down, and civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Who were these innocent people tortured to death?

    . I have voted for pro-life Democrats in the past, including Glenn Poshard when he ran against George Ryan for governor of Illinois.

    He brought up the “licenses for bribes” scandal back in the 1998 campaign.

    n the other hand, Bush and Cheney WILL be defined by their war and torture policies, that being central to their legacy

    Who were these torture victims?

    And since when was torture against Catholic teaching? You have heard of the Inquisition, right ?

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