Mary Jo Would be Seventy-Six

Wednesday, July 19, AD 2017




Yesterday was the forty-eighth anniversary of the Chappaquiddick incident, where Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo  Kopechne to die a slow death of asphyxiation in his submerged vehicle.

Here is Ted Kennedy’s non-mea culpa, notable for how little of the details of the incident he could recall, and an example of how to appear to take responsibility while not taking responsibility.

Any other American who failed to report a lethal accident such as this for such a lengthy period would probably have served some jail time, county or prison.  Any other politician would have had his career destroyed.  When Kennedy died he was referred to as “The Lion of the Senate” and Cardinal O’Malley presided over his canonization funeral mass.  I hope Ms. Kopechne received justice in the next world because she certainly received none in this.  I make the same statement in regard to Mr. Kennedy, who in later years liked to joke about Chappaquiddick.  I trust that in the world beyond he no longer finds those jokes quite as funny.


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17 Responses to Mary Jo Would be Seventy-Six

  • I hope Mary Jo got mercy in the next life. That of course will mean justice for Teddy. If he repented at the end of his life, then good. But he’s a Democrat and I expect that rare is the occasion when a Democrat would repent. Sorry, folks, only telling it the way I see it. Baby murdering. Negligent homicide. Adultery and fornication and drunkeness. That’s Teddy’s legacy.

  • ” . . and justice for all.”

  • The facts of this story are stunning. I constantly hear how things are so much more polarized now. Give me polarization any day if it means events like this aren’t simply allowed to be brushed aside. This is a compelling reason why the power of the MSM had to be broken. This site, among others, is the antidote to that power.

  • In the early 90’s, after the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent
    opening of their archives, a reporter for the London Times discovered
    documents proving Ted Kennedy colluded with the Soviets in attempt to
    undermine President Reagan and enhance Kennedy’s own ’84 run for the
    presidency. It’s no surprise that the Democrats were absolutely uninterested
    in investigating a Senator of their own party who had engaged in treason.
    As with Chappaquiddick, Kennedy again evaded justice in this case.

    Oh, how times have changed! For today, the Democrats are very much for
    investigating politicians who might have colluded with Russia, no matter
    how spurious the case might be. Yet I suspect it’s not because our Democrat
    politicians have somehow developed a newfound thirst for justice…

  • I agree this site and others can be part of the antidote. “Give me polarization any day if it means events like this aren’t simply allowed to be brushed aside.” Me too. A
    I hope the events surrounding, absolutely surrounding, the Clintons will not be simply allowed to be brushed aside.
    Also hopefully the revelation of so much rot in our church and our government will not sap our strength, but energize our faith.
    In some Faustian legends, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin saves even the sinners–true to Mother’s love.

  • Joseph P. Kennedy was a bad man. At least three of his sons were bad men. Some of those his children married were bad, wrecked, or implicated to varying degrees in the family badness. About 30% of his grandchildren have a history of scuzzy behavior (lucky for us the worst of them have been too inconsequential to do much damage outside their own households). Most of the bad actors were not lone wolves. They had a camarilla of enablers. The enablers have something for which to answer as well. A dear friend of mine (afilliated with New York’s garment unions) met Robert Kennedy in 1964 while he was campaigning for the Senate (a campaign on which my friend was employed). He said Robert Kennedy interacted with those around him in an appalling manner and when he ran for President my friend was pounding the pavement for Eugene McCarthy. People with well-ordered sensibilities did not need much time around these creatures to see them for what they were.

    One enabler who has a great deal to answer for (and, IIRC, has publicly confessed) was the prosecutor in Barnstable County, Massachusetts who did not secure an indictment for vehicular manslaughter. Others who have much to answer for are the creatures in the Massachusetts political establishment who were working the phones leaning on this man. Others include the reporters and editors treating this travesty as if it were merely an embarrassment (And did you catch the revolting commentary Adam Clymer offered in his biography of Fredo Kennedy?). I do not think the Kopechnes did all they could, either.

  • The Kennedys have often been cretins. As pointed out they have had an army of enablers to assist them and the Catholic Church in Massachusetts is no exception.

  • I knew someone who worked for the Kennedys, said that the only ones who were nice were Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband Sargent.

  • In some Faustian legends, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin saves even the sinners–true to Mother’s love.

    I pray that it is successful.

    I know it sets off a lot of folks’ heresy buttons, but I really, really hope that in the end– not a single person is in hell.

    Don’t think it’s probable, but hey: I can hope.

  • Part of dear Teddy’s last letter to P Benedict XVI had to include the comment (verbatim) that seemed to excuse himself for doing things ‘his way’ (“I’ve always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness. And though I have fallen short through human failings I’ve never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith.”) Rather, as a teacher of mine once used to observe, “So, you’ve honored the rules ‘in the breach'”?

    Ted could never be expected but to fully and amply forgive himself for whatever he had done. Or not done. In his wretched bellowing life.

    Text of the letter is here:

    I don’t see repentance in Ted’s final public words, and I do not want to be in a “heaven” where unrepentant thugs and kingpins once again rule the next life like the brigands and caudillos have done, and done so much damage, in this life. No, thank you.

  • “Robert Kennedy interacted with those around him in an appalling manner and when he ran for President my friend was pounding the pavement for Eugene McCarthy. People with well-ordered sensibilities did not need much time around these creatures to see them for what they were.”

    Looks like RFK’s son Chris isn’t doing much better at this point in his run for governor of Illinois:

  • I doubt he’s cut out for public life and do no know why (at the age of 54) he’s doing this. His cousin Edward Jr. elected a p/t position in the Connecticut legislature, which seems more appropriate. Edward and Christopher are (by all appearances) the most capable of the Kennedy grandchildren and neither has been a source of scandal. Christopher Kennedy also undertook one small act that few college trustees of any description would undertake: he persuaded the University of Illinois to deny the honorific ’emeritus’ to Wm. Ayers. I’m disinclined to cut the man up for clumsy campaign appearances.

  • Steve Phoenix 🙂 of course you don’t think there could be thugs and kingpins still plying their trade in Heaven! God nor heaven will change, rounding down to suit us– it’s the cleansing process the purgation that could only make it possible for me to be there to meet you someday.

  • Anzlyne, I am pretty sure I know what you think about “heaven”, and I am pretty sure, based on what the Catholic Church informed me, at least in its teachings up to 1962, about what heaven is comprised of and what obligations are ours to cooperate with God’s grace in obtaining it—but I just don’t think people like Ted Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Hilliary Clinton or Barack Obama, and many other political thugs and kingpins, can possibly conceive of a “heaven” that hasn’t already reserved a space enthroning them in its highest pantheon, there, as here in this life. Cant conceive of it at all.

    That “heaven”, like Atahualpa the Incan chief reputedly rejecting the Christian Faith because Pizarro affirmed that he, Pizarro, would be “heaven”, I shall defer if those 😈 are there.

  • Prior to the funeral, I had thought Cdl. O’Malley to be a man of some integrity. When he had the chance to make a powerful statement of behalf of the Church by insisting on a private funeral for Sen. Kennedy (as provided for by canon law in the matter of public sinners), he bailed. I rather imagine he has some contemplation to do regarding his actions.

  • Prior to the funeral, I had thought Cdl. O’Malley to be a man of some integrity.

    In 2004, a disaffected Traditionalist priest of my acquaintance had this to say about the episcopacy, “It’s like the Masons. You don’t rise in the organization unless you commit a crime.” Crazy remark, I know, but I really don’t blame him anymore.

Mary Jo Would Be Seventy-Three Now

Friday, July 18, AD 2014




Today is the forty-fifth anniversary of the Chappaquiddick incident, where Ted Kennedy left Mary Jo  Kopechne to die a slow death of asphyxiation in his submerged vehicle.

Here is Ted Kennedy’s non-mea culpa, notable for how little of the details of the incident he could recall, and an example of how to appear to take responsibility while not taking responsibility.

Any other American who failed to report a lethal accident such as this for such a lengthy period would probably have served some jail time, county or prison.  Any other politician would have had his career destroyed.  When Kennedy died he was referred to as “The Lion of the Senate” and Cardinal O’Malley presided over his canonization funeral mass.  I hope Ms. Kopechne received justice in the next world because she certainly received none in this.  I make the same statement in regard to Mr. Kennedy, who in later years liked to joke about Chappaquiddick.  I trust that in the world beyond he no longer finds those jokes quite as funny.


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7 Responses to Mary Jo Would Be Seventy-Three Now

  • The Democrat Party is organized crime. It has been since the Depression. Joe Kennedy was a crook and was a Nazi sympathizer in the 1930s while he was the US ambassador to Great Britain. The incredibly stupid people of Massachusetts reelected Ted Kennedy over and over and over again. they bear some of the blame for Kennedy’s term in office.

    Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, DC city government, et., etc. Places Democrats run end up stinking like sewage treatment plants and they have to buy votes from minorities and import minorities to get themselves elected.

  • I was 11 years old when this happened. Ted Kennedy did to Mary Jo what most Democrats want to be done to babies.

  • “The party that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.” George Bernard Shaw

  • Penguins Fan:
    The term Kennedy Country was used after the organization’s importing and ensuing transformation began. Tonight’s local news was big on the possibility of Westover Air Force Base being used in a federal plan to place undocumented children to relieve the buzzword ‘humanitarian crisis’ with politicians saying that these children will remain on base in a federal program, not to be enrolled in the public schools to alleviate fears of what ? – disease or violence etc. maybe. Cardinal O’Malley was recognized as he was clapping at the news conference.

  • Wasn’t it reported that Mary Jo Kopechne was two months pregnant? What about DNA?

  • Oh lots of idiot things were reported. Since Kopechne’s parents refused an autopsy, any speculation that Kopechne was pregnant is based on thin air.

  • From B/G Thomas F.Meagher court statement upon his sentencing to be hanged for his role in the Young Ireland Movement, 1848. THe sentence was commuted to transportation to the prison colony in Australia.

    “I shall go, I think, with a light heart before a higher tribunal – a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as infinite justice, will preside, and where many of the judgments of this world will be reversed.”

    Sen. Kennedy has long since faced that infinite justice.

The Left and Morality

Tuesday, July 30, AD 2013



Dennis Prager has an intriguing post about the interaction among liberals of morality as a laundry list of public political positions combined with wretched personal behavior:

I first thought about this when I saw how the left-wing students at my graduate school, Columbia University, behaved. Aside from their closing down classes, taking over office buildings, and ransacking professors’ offices, I saw the way in which many of them conducted themselves in their personal lives. Most of them had little sense of personal decency, and lived lives of narcissistic hedonism. Women who were involved with leftist groups have told of how poorly they were treated. And one suspects that they would have been treated far better by conservative, let alone religious, men on campus.

My sense was that the radicals’ commitment to “humanity,” to “peace,” and to “love” gave them license to feel good about themselves without having to lead a good life. Their vocal opposition to war and to racism provided them with all the moral self-esteem they wanted.

Consider the example of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had been expelled from college for paying someone to take his exams. His role in the death of a woman with whom he spent an evening would have sent almost anyone without his family name to prison — or would have at least resulted in prosecution for negligent homicide. And he spent decades using so many women in so public a way that stories about his sex life were routinely told in Washington. Read the 9,000-word 1990 article in GQ by Michael Kelly, who a few years later became the editor of the New Republic.

When this unimpressive man started espousing liberal positions, speaking passionately about the downtrodden in society, it recalled the unimpressive students who marched on behalf of civil rights, peace and love.

It is quite likely that Ted Kennedy came to believe in the positions that he took. But I also suspect that he found espousing those positions invaluable to his self-image and to his public image: “Look at what a moral man I am after all.” And liberal positions were all that mattered to the left and to the liberal media that largely ignored such lecherous behavior as the “waitress sandwich” he made in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with another prominent liberal, former Senator Chris Dodd.

In addition to knowing that liberal positions provide moral cover for immoral personal behavior, liberals know that their immoral behavior will be given more of pass than exactly the same behavior would if done by a conservative.

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21 Responses to The Left and Morality

  • I fear that there’s a strain of libertarianism that wants the same license, for the same reason. It hasn’t entered the political sphere yet – actually, I was going to say that, but how did Packwood hang on for so long? And wasn’t Schwarzenegger given a pass for a lot of things? Not that they were ideologically libertarian, but they were socially liberal and perceived as fiscally more conservative.

  • Religion and its moral guidelines, Ten in number plus a Book, give those, who progress from cheating, lying, and stealing during school years to supporting death of innocents and degradation of human life, an excuse to find fault with and scoff at others trying to follow what is good, not bad.

  • Pinky, that’s not libertarian. That’s libertine, and it’s the common thread they have with liberals. It’s why you haven’t seen it in ideological fom yet – it’s a personal trait. True libertarians know that liberty depends upon a moral, educated population that zealously guards its heritage. The left has little use for any of those.

  • “but how did Packwood hang on for so long?”

    Packwood was a pro-abort and got the same pass that Kennedy did until the very end of his career. Packwood had sponsored a bill in the Senate to legalize abortion two years prior to Roe. He was a pro-abort pioneer. By the time the scandals broke that ended his career the Democrat party was well on its way to becoming the party of abortion and Packwood was no longer needed by the pro-aborts.

    Schwarzenegger always had scandals dogging him. He was bullet proof due to his Kennedy connection and because he was a pro-abort. Once Maria got fed up with him it was time for Arnold to go and not to come back.

  • Schwarzenegger always had scandals dogging him. He was bullet proof due to his Kennedy connection and because he was a pro-abort.

    Arnold did, however, invest a lot of political capital backing a parental consent ballot initiative that, unfortunately, failed rather miserably. After that, he basically hid under his desk for the remainder of his time in office.

  • The only moral liberal I ever saw was dead.

  • Remember Arthur C. Brooks’ Syracuse University study from back in ’07? He
    compared the charitable giving of conservatives and liberals. While self-
    described liberal households reported an average of 6% more in annual income,
    the self-described conservative households claimed 30% more in charitable
    giving in their tax returns.

    The tax returns of some of our liberal elites are less than edifying. In the entire
    10 years combined before he became Vice President, Joe Biden and his wife
    gave a total of $3,690. To put that in perspective, that’s about 1/10th of the
    average charitable contributions of families in their tax bracket.

    In 1995, John Kerry– probably the richest man in the Senate today– reported
    $0 in charitable contributions. In ’93, he gave $175. In ’93 I was a broke
    college student and I still managed to give more than that!

    A comparison of the reported charitable contributions of the Obamas v. George
    W. Bush is also interesting. The Bushes have consistently reported charitable
    contributions of about 10%+ of their annual income. In the years 2000-2008,
    the Obamas averaged about 3.5%, on a combined annual income that was
    about 2 to 3 times more than Bush’s. In the years since becoming president,
    Obama has beefed up his contributions to slightly less than 6% of his annual
    reported income.

  • Ach. Just recalled that John Kerry is now our Secretary of State. Still, he’s
    a piker.

  • I think a better description of Packwood would be ‘capitol hill careerist’, and was known for warm relations with the folks from Gucci gulch. The sad business was, by the close of his time in Congress he had ruined his marriage (telling his wife he wanted a divorce on the birthday of one of his children), had only faint ties to people in Oregon (his voting address was a trailer on his uncle’s property, which I suppose improves on Richard Lugar’s voting address), and went into the lobbying business after leaving the Senate just ahead of the heave-ho posse.

  • Hegel, who is usually tediously wrong, has rare flashes of pure genius, and none better than his description of the Politics of Virtue:

    “Virtue is here a simple abstract principle and distinguishes the citizens into two classes only—those who are favourably disposed and those who are not. But disposition can only be recognized and judged of by disposition. Suspicion therefore is in the ascendant; but virtue, as soon as it becomes liable to suspicion, is already condemned . . . . Robespierre set up the principle of virtue as supreme, and it may be said that with this man virtue was an earnest matter. Virtue and Terror are the order of the day; for Subjective Virtue, whose sway is based on disposition only, brings with it the most fearful tyranny. It exercises its power without legal formalities, and the punishment it inflicts is equally simple—Death.”

    Thus, Robespierre, in a speech that reads like self-parody, “One wants [on veut] to make you fear abuses of power, of the national power you have exercised…One wants to make us fear that the people will fall victim to the Committees … One fears that the prisoners are being oppressed… I say that anyone who trembles at this moment is guilty; for innocence never fears public scrutiny.”

    What guarantee does the man of virtue, the republican citizen, have that he is really acting for the public good? What are the guarantees against self-delusion and hypocrisy? The only standard that the man of virtue can provide of his own moral goodness turned out ultimately to be his own self-certainty or sincerity.

  • PJ O’Rourke summed up the Kennedys with devastating accuracy:

    “Old Joseph P Kennedy was a liar and a greedy thief, an ignoramus, adulterer, vile anti-Semite, coward and pompous ass. His wife Rose was a frigid martinet, unashamed to suckle at the teat of shabby lucre, awash in pietism and tartuffery, filled with the letter of Catholicism and empty of its spirit. They raised their nine whelps in an atmosphere of brutal pride and stupid competition. When the hapless Rosemary turned out to be retarded they had her lobotomized and parked her with the nuns. The remaining eight turned out to be foolhardy, arrogant, unprincipled, and wholly lacking in sense of consequences. This last trait caused Joe Jr and Kathleen to die in airplane crashes and allowed Jack to get his PT boat T-boned by a Japanese destroyer. (A tale of heroism was manufactured from that incident. The family wasn’t so lucky with Teddy’s Chappaquiddick skin-diving efforts three decades later).

    The Kennedys, however, continued to wax. Elections, individuals and press adulation were purchased. One family member rose , briefly, to great political power and almost unlimited sexual excess. Some others nearly achieved the same results. Two were shot but under the most romantic circumstances and not, as might have been hoped, after due process of law.”

  • O’Rourke is generally engaging and insightful. In the interests of precision:

    1. Retrospective assessments of Rosemary Kennedy indicate her demonstrated skills in arithmetic were consistent with someone of subpar intelligence, not mental defect. Joseph Kennedy submitted her to the quackish care of Dr. Walter Freeman’s novel psychosurgery because of her erratic and temperamental behavior.

    2. As far as I am aware, no one in the Shriver clan (other than son-in-law Ahnold) has been implicated in any scandals. Patricia Lawford separated herself from her disspated husband in 1966, but I do not think she has ever been implicated in anything notably gross. Jean Smith’s son is repellant (and her late husband supposedly a flunky), but I do not think she has ever been implicated in anything either.

    3. About half of Robert Kennedy’s children have been scandalous, and one each of the Lawford, Smith, and Ted Kennedy broods. That would be 8 out of the 28 grandchildren have been the source of considerable embarrassment. Sad to say, that might be about average for families in this country.

  • I do not know whether Bobbie and Jack (a high-level US civilain official gave the OK) approved murders of the Diem brothers in Saigon. We know both met similar demises.

    And that propaganda regarding PT 109 . . . The worst calamity a naval officer can incur is to lose his ship: even in glorious action. Jack got his scow run over . . . Providentially, the Scotch went down with the boat . . .

  • I’m inclined to cut anyone slack in matters of psychiatry (and quackery) that took place a while ago. It’s an emerging field. Surgery 100 years ago, talking therapy 30 years ago, massive doses of chemicals today…I wonder how embarrassed by our current approach people will be in 50 years? (Of course, as Catholics, we understand the moral dimension of behaviour in a way that the secular field of psychiatry can’t, but that’s just an aside.)

  • The heydey of pscyhosurgery was during the period between 1935 and 1955, not a century ago. It was unusual after the introduction of psychotropics in 1955 and I think may have disappeared entirely by about 1980. Walter Freeman completed his residency around about 1924 and he was a working psychiatrist for about a decade before he developed the lobotomy. There was not much in the way of controlled studies at that time and medical journals were filled with case reports (a phenomenon which aided the dissemination of largely useless talk therapies as well). By some accounts, professional courtesy at the time prevented one physician or surgeon from criticizing another bar behind closed doors, so Freeman was not receiving the resistance he should have. I am not sure why he was not chewed to pieces by personal injury lawyers.

  • Watching the video again of Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick, I wonder if it would have been less damaging had he told the truth, namely that he and Kopechne had left the party intending to park up and have sex, but on being spotted by an off-duty policeman he had panicked and told her to drive back alone, the only explanation that seems remotely plausible. He would not have had to perjure himself and two others, would not have faced criminal charges (which could have included manslaughter), and would have saved himself a lot of money in bribes and legal fees (not that money was in short supply). I hope he was able to make a full confession before he died.

  • “Watching the video again of Ted Kennedy after Chappaquiddick, I wonder if it would have been less damaging had he told the truth”

    He would still have had to have explained why he did not report the accident until the next morning. The reason he did not, I assume, is because he was worried about the impact on his career. That mattered far, far more than Kopechne’s life. Afterwards he would tell Chappaquiddick jokes:

    Ted Kennedy wasn’t worthy to be spat upon.

  • The position of Mary Jo Kopechne’s body in the car makes it unlikely she would have been in the passenger seat. The diver (who took only ten minutes to retrieve the body) also said she died from suffocation, not drowning as she found an air bubble which kept her alive for up to four hours. Kennedy would have gone back to the party assuming that she had driven back to the motel, and did not report the accident because he was unaware it had happened.

    Kennedy’s lawyers managed to get the inquest held in camera and (astoundingly) there was no autopsy.

  • “Kennedy would have gone back to the party assuming that she had driven back to the motel, and did not report the accident because he was unaware it had happened.”

    Which makes absolutely no sense. It would have been better then for him to simply tell what happened. People were going, and did, to suspect an affair no matter what happened. His making up a story about trying to rescue her and then mysteriously not telling the authorities about it until morning makes absolutely no sense unless that part of the story was true. It would make him look worse than he was if your theory was correct to make up his driving off the bridge and what followed.

    There was an attempt to exhume Kopechne’s body for examination but her parents successfully opposed the request.

  • On tax statement charity claims– just because something isn’t claimed doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    I don’t think it’s PROBABLE that all these politicians are hiding their charity, but it’s possible. I’m rather glad that our income is low enough we take the default deduction….

  • Don, it all comes back to O’Rourke’s point about the Kennedys being “wholly lacking in sense of consequences”. Once you start constructing an edifice of lies, you’ve got to stick with it, even if coming clean might be less damaging. The argument that “it’s so implausible, it must be true” can be made to work in your favour. The fact that Mary Jo left her purse and room keys behind would lead any reasonable person to infer that she intended to return to the party after having had sex with Teddy in the Oldsmobile. With the Kennedys it would only have lasted five minutes at most.

    Bill Clinton would have nonchalantly admitted to it and taken the consequences, but the moral climate in 1969 was different.

If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

There is a undercurrent in American society that somehow believes that if the mafia ran things, the country would be better off. There was one city (Newark, New Jersey) where the mafia once controlled much of the city. When their grip on power was done, the city was in tatters. The same could be said for liberals running religion.

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40 Responses to If You Want The Political Left To Run Governments, Look At What The Religious Left Has Done To Religion (Left It In Tatters)

Massachusetts Predictions

Tuesday, January 19, AD 2010

Go here to see the last polls on the Senate race in Massachusetts.  The seat that is up has been in the hands of the Kennedy family since 1953, four years before my birth.   The last time the Republicans won a Federal senate race in Massachusetts was in 1972 when I was 15 years old.  Against all the odds Scott Brown has engineered the political upset of this century.  In November he trailed Martha Coakley by 30 points.  He has run a superb campaign and she has run an abysmal one, but the key issue has been his opposition to ObamaCare.  If ObamaCare is  a losing issue in Massachusetts, in what State in the Union can it be a winning issue?  Brown 52;  Coakley 47;  Kennedy 1.  That is my prediction.   What is yours?

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18 Responses to Massachusetts Predictions

Now This, This Would be a Sign of the Apocalypse!

Wednesday, January 13, AD 2010

A Republican may be elected to serve out Ted Kennedy’s unexpired term?  It could happen! Public Policy Polling, a Democrat leaning polling outfit shows the election a toss up between the Democrat Coakley and the Republican Brown.  Scott Rasmussen, the best political pollster in the business in my opinion, shows Coakley up by two.  Last week he showed her up by nine.  On Monday Brown raised over a million dollars in one day in internet donations.

If Brown wins the Senate race in the Peoples’ Republic of Massachusetts, it will send a political shock wave across this country the like of which hasn’t been seen in many a year.  If Ted Kennedy’s senate seat isn’t safe, what seat is safe for the Democrats?  Oh, I don’t believe that I should call it Ted Kennedy’s seat per Mr. Brown.

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13 Responses to Now This, This Would be a Sign of the Apocalypse!

  • From where I sit, I do not think there is any chance Scott Brown will be elected. Massachusetts politics are too corrupt.

  • It is an uphill climb Zach, no doubt about that. It is interesting however that Massachusetts does have a history of electing Republican governors fairly recently, so the idea of a Republican winning statewide is certainly not impossible.

  • I don’t expect Brown to win, but then, I didn’t expect Corzine to lose in deep blue NJ either. If Brown comes within a couple of points of Coakley, Dems should still be very nervous. Coakley ran a dreadful campaign, because she expected it would be a waltz. She thought she wouldn’t have to fight for “the Kennedy seat” (ah, Massachusetts – or should I say Massachusettes, like the cool kidz do – once upon a time you rebelled against royalty). The fact that she does, in fact, have a battle on her hands is unnerving her.

    If Brown manages to pull it off, I shall develop a strange new respect for Massachusetts voters.

  • Eric

    It seems “you can’t vote for or support a pro-choice candidate” because “they are baby killers” and “supporting baby killers should get you excommunicated” might be countered with “He’s a Republican” and that’s good enough for some. It also suggests that much of that rhetoric is just political rhetoric, and not indicative of belief when there are these cheers for a pro-choice candidate. So you are right to point this out. Shows quite a few things all in one.

  • From what I can tell thus far, Brown is indeed, essentially, pro-choice.

    His support for minor pro-life initiatives notwithstanding, in my mind, a minimal pro-life position includes opposition to RvW.

    However, his opponent is also pro-choice, and apparently has a voting record more favorable to the abortion industry.

    In this case should Catholics vote for a “lesser evil” or abstain altogether? The ‘Catholic Answers’ voting guide says:

    “In some political races, each candidate takes a wrong position on one or more issues involving non-negotiable moral principles. In such a case you may vote for the candidate who takes the fewest such positions or who seems least likely to be able to advance immoral legislation, or you may choose to vote for no one.”

    “Not voting may sometimes be the only moral course of action, but we must consider whether not voting actually promotes good and limits evil in a specific instance.”

    Tough call. Voting for the Democrat is clearly out. Voting for Brown? I wouldn’t. I would abstain. But by this criteria anyway, one might vote for Brown.

  • The Catholic Answers voting guide fails to meet Catholic moral standards. On the other hand, I thought people said you could never “vote for a pro-baby killer, even if it is the least of evils.” Now when you start reasoning “least of evil” allows prudential decision as to who one should vote for, then people who saw no practical difference between Obama and McCain were fine with voting Obama and not to be condemned as being “pro-death.” I say this not as one who voted for Obama, since I didn’t. I am just pointing out how it is always convenient there are always excuses given for Republicans. But if one “can never bend” then it would seem supporting a pro-choicer is a no-go, and one should either abstain from voting or vote for someone who is going to lose.

    Again, all this shows is the double-standards, nothing else.

  • Coakley is attacking Brown for being pro-life, which he is not:

    Coakley is in favor of partial birth abortions which Brown is against. If I were in Massachusetts I would vote for Brown, although my vote would actually be against Coakley.

    Here is a story exploring the abortion positions of Coakley and Brown.

  • Coakley thinks that if you are a faithful Catholic you shouldn’t work in emergeny rooms because of emergency “contraception”.

    “Ken Pittman: Right, if you are a Catholic, and believe what the Pope teaches that any form of birth control is a sin. ah you don’t want to do that.
    Martha Coakley: No we have a seperation of church and state Ken, lets be clear.

    Ken Pittman: In the emergency room you still have your religious freedom.

    Martha Coakley: (…stammering) The law says that people are allowed to have that. You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

    Man, if I were in Massachusetts I would crawl over broken glass to vote against this bigot.

  • “The Catholic Answers voting guide fails to meet Catholic moral standards.”

    Then which voter guide does meet them? I’m open to suggestions. How do Catholics – who care about the teaching of the Church, that is – in Europe or other countries where all of the candidates support abortion rights vote? Do they vote? If so, what is their criteria?

    “I thought people said you could never “vote for a pro-baby killer, even if it is the least of evils.”

    What “people” are you referring to?

    “But if one “can never bend””

    If one is obliged to vote, and all the candidates are pro-choice, then it can’t be “bending.” Some Catholics believe they have a moral obligation to vote for SOMEONE – some take it further and say there is an obligation to vote for someone who is likely to win, ruling out third party candidates who have no shot.

    I am not so certain about that. There are times when Acts 5:29 trumps Romans 13:1. This is possibly one of those times – to withdraw from the political process altogether.

    If there is a clear Church teaching on what one is to do in a situation where all of the candidates support an intrinsic evil, I would like to see it. I believe the CA voter guide was based on what JP II said in Evangelium Viate:

    ” In a case like the one just mentioned, when it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects.”

    My guess is that they believe this would apply to voters as well.

  • The Catholic Answers voting guide, I think, is based on a false understanding of how to apply natural law principles to specific situations and circumstances. It more or less sets up a proportionalist trap. In my view, it is no more logical than the voting strategy set up by Catholics United that does not understand the hierachy of values.

    If anything, there is a radical modern misunderstanding of the virtue of prudence, which is founded upon the edifice, which Pope John Paul II himself often referred to, of “right reason.” Since Machiavelli wrote The Prince, both virtue and prudence (which is a virtue, obviously) have been radically misunderstood.

    Nevertheless, Catholic Answers’ Voting Guide for “Serious” Catholics is not a magisterial document, which is evident, I think, in the defiencies in its philosophical presumptions and I personally don’t feel obligated to vote in accord with it. The pope’s encylical might have inspired the voting guide, but that doesn’t make it void of errors–not that you suggested anything to the contrary.

    Moreover, I see this growing trend of Senate Republicans with this view — Hutchison, Snowe, Collins. Moreover, I am more appalled that pro-life organizations such as the one in Massachusetts (endorsing Brown) might endorse such candidates in their races if the other person is “more pro-choice.” I would think it better not to compromise your principles and not endorse the less-than-stellar “pro-life” candidate and rather just emphasize how bad the pro-choice candidate’s record is. It really boils down to proportionalist tendencies, which in some respects is inevitable.

    I seriously am very sympathetic to the argument which due to current circumstances makes it “non-negotiable” for voting Catholics to vote Republican, but in effect, it turns the pro-life vote into what African Americans have become to Democrats — a bloc of “sure” votes where Republicans win office and by and large govern as if the very issues we voted for them on are non-issues. The next election they throw us the same old rhetoric and “renew” their committment, but nothing goes differently. The Republican strategist can measure that the most strident pro-life Americans will not vote for a Democrat and even if a nominal pro-life Republican is running, we will judge that it “better than nothing” and vote for the Republican anyway to stop the “worse policies” of the Democrat. This trend seems spiraling and self reinforcing, which I don’t see how we can upset the status quo or change the indifference of some, or even, many Republican elected officials without their losing, or electing those who will upset the status quo — but how can you tell? It’s very difficult.

    I am sure there is a lot of this, in which, you and I probably have acute agreement. My greatest issue, or rather my cynicism, is unlike with slavery or other issues in the past, is that contemporary politics has found comfort in the status quo on all sides of the contemporary moral issues to the chagrin of those who are powerfully convicted, one way or another, on such issues. In other words, with say, slavery, you know that your opponent will try to craft the law in conformity with their views on slavery — either total legality or total illegality. There was no “reducing the number of slaves” rhetoric or strategic incremental methods for bringing about its illegality. This is most obvious to me in the fact that the Republicans have replaced the majority of the post-Roe court or the less-than-desirable amount of pro-life legislation coming off of Republican-controlled committees in Republican-dominated Congresses and so forth. From a practical order, considering current political trends, practices, and circumstances, I don’t buy the Catholic Answers argument for reasons other my philosophical issues with it — it seems to me to just preserve the status quo. Nothing I’ve said means vote Democratic. It does unveil we’ve got a lot of work to do.

    The other difficulty I have — and this is personal — is that by my prudential calculation which I am obliged in conscience to follow is that a pro-choice Republican should not receive my vote, being such a worldview is, more or less, my political antithesis and following my views, a detriment to the common good. Does that mean vote for the pro-choice Democrat? Not necessarily.

    I am also very fascinated by the fact that for many Republicans his abortion stance is virtually a non-issue and they are advocating that he win to block the health care bill — largely a consequentialist line of reasoning, regardless of one’s views on the health care reform efforts. This is especially true when one considers the line of thinking that amounted to counter-efforts against the pro-choice Republican candidate running for the House in New York that met party opposition for being a “RINO.”

  • Eric,

    “Catholic Answers’ Voting Guide for “Serious” Catholics is not a magisterial document”

    No one, least of all myself, claimed that it was. The problem is that there does not appear to be a magisterial document that addresses this issue. We face a similar dilemma with torture, though in that case, I think it is more clear if one really bothers to look and reflect on all that has been said.

    “which is evident, I think, in the defiencies in its philosophical presumptions”

    It isn’t evident. That is the problem. Perhaps you could explain it again? That such a document would not be “void of errors” is practically a given – I only used it as an example. It is one of the more well-considered examples, too, so I shudder to think what some of the other voter guides looked like.

    “There was no “reducing the number of slaves” rhetoric or strategic incremental methods for bringing about its illegality.”

    Ha! I agree, but tell it to the neo-Confederate historians, whom a surprising number of Catholic conservative intellectuals appear to agree with. On this point I simply know the history too well – it was all or nothing for the South.

  • dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

    Great line, but I doubt the sequel will be any good:


The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

Sunday, November 22, AD 2009

The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.”  Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs.  These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.

The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.

It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas  imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries.

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6 Responses to The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church

  • I appreciate your message of hope.

    Your title is way, way too long!

  • The Church, the holy bishops and priests, the laiety, and the Holy Father certainly have Satan running scared!

  • I have been told by some evangelicals that there belief that eventually all orthodox christians will be under the care and protection of the Catholic Church. Even though there is disagreement among them. I tend to agree with there reasoning and from the signs we are seeing. I pray that the holy spirit comes to all those that need the help to come home.

  • As usual Dave, you tell like it is. Although some did not like Bishop Tobin’s public response to Patrick Kennedy, who found out quickly that his ilk will no longer be tolerated in his actions against the tenets of the Church, I belive more and more Bishops have come to the realization, that speaking out after conferring with these so called “catholics” has strenghtened the laity. Take care and God Bless.

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  • Splendid column as usual, Dave. No doubt the damage wrought by Luther will be repaired and unity restored, thanks to the secularists whose relentless assault have recently spurred the Christians to draw a line in the sand with the Manhattan Declaration to show that they will not render to Caesar what is God’s.

Pro-Abort Catholic Politicians and the Church

Wednesday, September 9, AD 2009

Pro-abort Catholic PolsFather Roger J. Landry concludes here that the strategy of the Church to privately persuade Catholic pro-abort pols of the errors of their ways has been a flat failure.

“Let us take an honest look at the numbers. When we survey the long list of pro-choice Catholic politicians from both parties — Kennedy, Kerry, Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, Daschle, Dodd, Durbin, Leahy, Mikulski, Pelosi, Delahunt, Capuano, Markey, McGovern, Meehan, Granholm, Sebelius, Pataki, Richardson, Cellucci, Cuomo, and Biden to name just a handful — is it possible to say that the strategy has worked with any of them? Over the last three and a half decades, can we point to even one success story?

Another way to assess the results of the education-alone strategy is to measure the direction that pro-choice Catholic politicians have moved over the years. Even if they haven’t experienced a total conversion, have they moved closer toward limiting abortions or toward making abortions easier to access? The facts show that the vast majority of personally opposed, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators have become far less personally opposed and far more publicly in favor over the duration of the strategy.

In the initial years after Roe versus Wade, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators generally whispered their support for abortion. They displayed a palpable sense of shame, letting their abortion position out just enough so that it wouldn’t cost them the votes of abortion supporters. That discomfort began to dissipate after Governor Mario Cuomo’s 1984 pro-choice defense at Notre Dame. We’ve now come to a situation when pro-choice Catholic legislators vigorously curry the favor of Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Emily’s List;  scores of Catholics in Congress have the chutzpah to co-sponsor the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate almost every abortion restriction ever passed at the federal or state level; and 16 out of 25 Catholic Senators vote against conscience protections to prevent their fellow Catholics in the medical field from being forced to participate in abortions and sterilizations.”

Father Landry ends by suggesting a new approach, perhaps we might call it the “more than hot air” approach:

“Jesus spoke of a different way in the Gospel (Mt 18:15-18). It involves not merely general educational statements that we hope offenders will apply to themselves in conscience, but the type of one-on-one instruction traditionally called fraternal correction. If that fails, and fails repeatedly, Jesus enjoined us to regard the offender as someone who no longer belongs to the community, who is no longer a member in good standing. This may seem harsh, but we should remember that Jesus always seeks nothing but the best for his Church and for individual sinners, even obstinate sinners. Implied in Jesus’ strategy is that education involves not just information, but formation, and that you can’t form disciples without discipline. This is a lesson that, after four decades of the undeniable failure of another approach, we need to consider anew.”

Hattip to my friend the ever vigilant Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia,  and please go here to read his comments on Father Landry’s argument.

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17 Responses to Pro-Abort Catholic Politicians and the Church

  • Finally, someone has the courage to state what must be done.


  • Yes, I agree with the idea of not considering them part of the community anymore but I think we need to voice that more. We need to let our congregation, the nation and the world know that we do not tolerate abortion support….and that Catholics who support and advocate it are excommunicated. We need to literally stand up and state what our Catechism says:

    “Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,” “by the very commission of the offense,” and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.”

  • Well stated Simon. I was disappointed that Caroline Kennedy was pro-choice, repulsive, it’s incompatible with Catholic beliefs. Isn’t their someone in the Kennedy clan who bolts from this philosophy and ideology? Isn’t it good to know, of course, that Alveda King, Martin Luther King’s niece is pro-life.

    I have never wavered being pro-life though I have considered the question in full when younger, I respect an argument. Now, I consider how central and pivotal of an idea is it for the Church to be pushing.

    It was an interesting editorial in the UK, by a spokesman for the Tories I believe in the Daily Telegraph that grilled Ted Kennedy for voting for the partial birth abortions. England, can’t speak for the total UK because abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland like the Republic of Ireland, but one would think England is a bit like the USA in this regard. However, many in England find our “partial birth” abortions very evil. Okay, I would find fault with all abortions but I have met others from England who do not accept the late terms abortions that occur in the USA even though they are pro-choice. The Tories by the way in the above articles did not want Ted Kennedy to get Knighthood since basically, he’s had long term ties to supporting the IRA or something of this nature. I apologize for any of this being offtopic.

  • Don:

    Totally agree with your post and the comments of Jay Anderson and the good Father. People forget that there were even limits to Christ’s spirit of charity and inclusiveness such as when he tossed the money changers out of the temple.

    That being said how can one justify actions by other “Catholic” laity and politicians in promoting other activity that runs contrary to Catholic teaching, i.e. torture, pre-emptive war, the death penalty, divorce? How can one be a “Catholic” divorce lawyer? How can one be a “Catholic” judge or prosecutor that encourages or enforces the death penalty? How can one be a “Catholic” public official that allows or attempts to justify torture and pre-emptive war?

  • Like most things in life awakaman you deal with each issue on its own merits. The Church has spoken with one voice on abortion since the time of Christ.

    On the issue of preemptive war on the other hand, well, I assume some of the popes have had interesting discussions on that topic in the next life. For example John Paul II and Urban II on the First Crusade. I would love, and I mean that sincerely, to listen to that discussion.

    On divorce John Paul II seemed at one point not to want Catholic attorneys involved in them, but then in a clarification said that Catholic attorneys could be involved if their aim was to secure a good custody outcome for any minor children involved. That is one area where I personally would like some clarification since, although it makes up a miniscule portion of my practice, like most small town attorneys I am confronted with these cases from time to time.

    In regard to the death penalty we have the problem of Church teaching basically being reversed on that question under John Paul II, with a great deal of confusion now as to when the death penalty is licit and when it is not.

    I have no problem with holding the feet of Catholic pols to the fire on any number of issues, but I believe that Church teaching is the clearest on abortion, it is the issue that involves the greatest death toll each year for the innocent, and for me, as it has been since 1973, abortion will always be the overriding moral issue of our time.

  • Don:

    In regards to the 1st Crusade it is debatable as to whether it truly was pre-emptive war. First, it went beyond its initial objective of defending the Byzantine Empire and the West from the expansion of Islam and became more of a war of aggression with the reconquest of Jerusalem. Secondly, saying the 1st Crusade was fought by those exclusinvely seeking to protect Christainity is like saying the Civil War was fought exclusively over the issue of Slavery – total nonsense. It was extremely interesting that Jerusalem was a major trading center as well as an important city to Christians – just as it was an amazing coincidence that Iraq happened to have a lot of oil as well as a nasty dictator. Finally, even if we regard it as a pre-emptive war to prevent the spread of Islam given the current status of Islam in the middle east (and Europe) I would hardly say that it speaks well for pre-emptive war.

    In regard to the Death penalty did church teaching on the death penalty reverse or did it develop as a result of the growth or evolution of the modern prison system? Your argument reminds me of those offered by the Church of Christ as to why they do not have instrumental music at their services – because the early Christians did not – of course they didn’t have air conditioning or heating either. As prisons have become relatively “escape proof” and we have developed systems of rehabilitation (as I assume you agree that it is our Christian duty to do) the death penalty has become less necessary unless you want to engage in pure retribution. I know, I know . . . the deterance argument . . . but given that countries and states without the death penalty generally have less crime then those with the death penalty this is not a very good argument.

    Finally, given that JPII was rather adament in his denunciation of Catholic lawyers being involved in divorces “Roman Catholic lawyers should refuse to handle divorce cases, Pope John Paul has said.
    He said divorce was ‘spreading like a plague’ through society, and lawyers should refuse to be part of the ‘evil’.”

    Yes, one can engage in some self rationalization such as one is doing some good such as getting children into a good custody situation, but isn’t that the type of rationalization used by pro-choice politicians and those who vote for them, i.e. ignoring the great evil you are doing by pointing ut the small amount of good that may result.

  • well, we as catholics are so stupid. If you work, for example for Pepsi, but you don’t like Pepsi, and talk the whole day about the wonders of Coke, and try to sell Coke at every chance you have … what would your boss do? Fire you!!

    Off course, if you were coherent and a normal and rational person, you would leave Pepsi and move to Coke asap.

    This is how ratio works, this how the world is, this is how everybody in this planet feels. And what does the hierarchy do, not only in the States but anywhere else, without some honorable exceptions? They are SCARED, because the sheeps will leave the flock.. so WHAT?

    It is better to be fewer but real,rather than have many who disturb, who don’t leave us do the work of our Heavenly Father!

  • I believe the Catechism [2383] expresses well the Church’s position. Separation [divorce] is not immoral. Indeed it may be for the benefit of both parties.

    It is remarriage which is wrong.

  • Exactly, Gabriel. No off the cuff statement, even by a pope, even by a saint, can change that.

  • TomSVDP,
    The late Eunice Kennedy Shriver was notable for her pro-life advocacy within the Democratic party and her activism outside it. Her passing several weeks ago was noted on this blog and elsewhere, though there was little mention of her pro-life associations outside pro-life sources.

  • Awakaman in regard to divorce cases and Catholic lawyers this is where the ambiguity enters in:

    “Lawyers, as independent professionals, should always decline the use of their profession for an end that is contrary to justice, as is divorce. They can only cooperate in this kind of activity when, in the intention of the client, it is not directed to the break-up of the marriage, but to the securing of other legitimate effects that can only be obtained through such a judicial process in the established legal order (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2383). In this way, with their work of assisting and reconciling persons who are going through a marital crises, lawyers truly serve the rights of the person and avoid becoming mere technicians at the service of any interest whatever.”

    In this area I wouldn’t mind at all if the Pope told me that I could never take such a case again as it would give me an excellent reason not to do so when clients press me for my services in these types of matters. These cases are time consuming, emotionally draining, and, as I noted in my earlier comment a miniscule portion of my practice, and the only reason I get involved with them now is when a client convinces me that the kids would be better off with them, or they are being denied visitation, or they want an increase in child support, or they wish to attempt to change custody because the kids are begging to live with the client, etc. I would cheer a papal ban as giving me a good conscience deafness to their pleas, but I do not think the Pope has done that yet.

    More on your other points in a day or so when I am no longer shackled to my desk in my law office.

  • But how can civil divorce really be “contrary to justice” in cases where an innocent spouse is merely trying to remove herself or himself and any children from a situation that gravely endangers their physical, mental, or spiritual health or safety?

    I don’t think even JPII would have argued that it was “evil” for a woman to divorce a husband who was beating her or molesting their children, or a man to divorce a wife who was shooting up drugs and prostituting herself to get the money for them, or had taken up witchcraft or Satan worship, etc.

  • On the other hand, if it’s just a case of a man or woman having fallen in “love” with someone else and wanting to divorce their spouse to marry their partner in adultery, that’s another story, and a case in which I would think no observant Catholic lawyer would want to get involved.

  • You can also add into the complexity mix Elaine that clients are often less than forthcoming in this area of the law, and will frequently tell their attorney all about the misdeeds, real or imagined, of their spouse while not mentioning their own. Not infrequently this is being done in a high state of emotion, especially when the custody of children is at stake, and quick decisions often have to be made by the attorney. In hotly contested custody cases sex abuse allegations regarding the kids not infrequently enter into the case, and often the attorney has no way of knowing if the allegations are true. This is a difficult area of the law for an attorney concerned about following a moral path, and, unfortunately, not difficult at all for an attorney completely unconcerned with the morality of what is going on.

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  • Elaine,

    I don’t think even JPII would have argued that it was “evil” for a woman to divorce a husband who was beating her or molesting their children, or a man to divorce a wife who was shooting up drugs and prostituting herself to get the money for them, or had taken up witchcraft or Satan worship, etc.

    divorce is still an “evil”, but it is the guilty party who is culpable. In the same sense, war is an “evil”, and the unjust aggressor is culpable.

  • And what of Catholic priests and bishops who encourage divorces when they know that one of the parties is opposed to the divorce and they, the Catholic priests and bishops, flatly refuse to listen to them as they plead for action to support their marriage? What when this goes on for twenty years and the Holy see has completely ignored the same please?

    Some of us have seen this and have chosen to leave the Catholic Church over this. Why is there no support among “rank and file” Catholics for the plight of abandoned spouses who have to defend their marriage against both civil courts and marriage tribunals? And why, when one has defended one’s marriage before the highest courts in the Catholic Church, and watched those courts uphold that marriage, is their no action on the part of priests, bishops and the Roman Curia to canonically hold to account a spouse who has abandoned, wrongly, a faithful spouse, when the evidence is clear and in the possession of the Catholic Church(and has been for twenty years) that the marriage was usurped with the full cooperation of priests(to this day) and bishops(to this day)with mostly complete disregard for the valid, sacramental marriage?

    I think the politicians should receive a bye on this divorce/annulment issue while the Catholic Church tends to the clergy whose actions are far more harmful in this regard. Only after the Catholic Church has tended to its own, in house, facilitators of adultery and all the crimes that unjust divorce entails should it take the time to attempt to call to order catholic politicians. the house should be in order before that house attempts to call others to order.

    Just my two cents.

Cardinal O'Malley: Apologia Pro Sua Teddy

Friday, September 4, AD 2009

Cardinal O'Malley

Cardinal O’Malley of Boston defends his participation at the funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy here.  Erin Manning at her blog and sometimes tea, gives his remarks a fisking to be remembered here.  The master of the fisk, Father Z, also puts the Cardinal’s remarks through his patented fisk machine here.

The simple truth of the matter of course is that Ted Kennedy, in so many ways, was a disgrace to the Catholic Church in this country.  As a Catholic who received the Last Rites, it was right to give him a funeral Mass.  It was wrong to allow that Mass to be transformed into a “Tribute for Teddy” and a Democrat Party infomercial.  Archbishop O’Malley sat there and allowed this to take place and now he has the audacity to defend his nonfeasance.  One would have thought that silence would have been a wiser course rather than attempting to defend the indefensible.

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9 Responses to Cardinal O'Malley: Apologia Pro Sua Teddy

  • I was surprised at Card. O’Malley defending the indefensible. Just as many defended awarding high honors to Obama at a Catholic University.Obama not only promotes relentlessly his pro abortion agenda but he also fought against the born alive infants act..he did not want to give a baby who had survived an abortion attempt any comfort or care. Kennedy fought publicly for abortion, including late term abortion, for embryonic stem cell research, for gay marriage…and yet he stated that he tried to follow the teachings of the Church. What folly! But I don’t blame Kennedy and I don’t blame Obama. I blame the Cardinals and Bishops who won’t stand up to them, who won’t guide their people clearly and consistently on life issues. I believe it’s time for the Vatican to speak out clearly and strongly on the matter of giving radically and publicly pro abortion ‘Catholic’ politicians the Eucharist. Tony Blair was received into the Catholic Church despite the fact that he never renounced his support for abortion and continues to this day to go against the teachings of the Church, as does his ‘Catholic’ wife…there is something wrong in the hierarchy of the Church which is spilling down into the flock…and those Shepherds will have to answer for the damage they are doing, and for the millions and millions of human babies being exterminated because they are afraid to confront this horrendous evil! Shame!

  • I propose that there’s plenty of blame to go around… sometimes solid Catholic laity act as if they are powerless to transform the culture, as if they need the blessing of their priests & bishops to proceed.


    It’s obviously best when one has the public & fervent support of one’s ordinary in advancing the civilization of love, but it’s hardly necessary. I propose that we stop trying to figure out who screwed up and get to work doing what we can to fix things. That’s all that we are called to do, after all.

  • Did the Cardinal or any of the priests ministering to Senator Kennedy in his last days urge or even insist that he issue a public repudiation of his very public sins? I don’t see how issuing even a public demand for such an act of repentance would have been inappropriate in this case. As has been pointed out by others, Senator Kennedy didn’t merely fail to uphold Church teaching on abortion, he vigorously promoted the contrary position and emboldened many, more timid politicians to do the same by his example. The damage resulting from his efforts is incalculable.

  • I remember reading a few years ago that Daniel Patrick Moynihan, shortly before his death, was ready to unequivocally condemn the Democratic party’s support for abortion. Unfortunately he allowed himself to be dissuaded from the course of action by a party hack who convinced him that it would hurt the Democrats in ensuing elections. I wonder if he regrets that decision now.

  • Chris,

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    If the ordinaries are incapable of leading, we can be led by the Holy Spirit and do the right thing.

  • RE: Moynihan…unfortunately, it isn’t only pro abortion politicians who try to convince Democrats who are pro life to switch their position…Ted Kennedy, I heard, was convinced by Jesuit Fr. Drinan and some ‘Catholic’ theologians to go pro,unless the high prelates of the Church unite and take a strong and consistent stand for life and refuse Holy Communion to those who publicly promote anit life positions, then the laity are not going to see and understand the grave moral evil of abortion. Lay people can, and do, stand together for life but since over 50% of Catholics voted for Obama, stating that they felt they had the approval of their Bishops, we aren’t going to convince them of how evil abortion is until the Bishops show them by telling them not to receive Communion. And doing this could also be a point of conversion for some…Archbishop Burke, who is not in Rome, has consistently proven that the Canon Law of the Church MANDATES that those who publicly support and promote abortion should not present themselves for Communion and if they do, they should be denied the Sacrament. This is not going to happen any time soon, so we, the laity, need to just keep on fighting for the life of the unborn child and its mother…for our society and our culture, in every way possible and encourage others to do so..and try to engage our Priests and write to our Bishops..and to Rome!!!

  • Amen.

    Those Jesuits are dastardly fellows.

  • I met Cardinal O’Malley 38 years ago. He appeared to be a decent man, but not a good moral church leader. His attitude of acceptance with respect to a non -repentant Ted Kennedy makes this manifest; it, also shows why it was so breathtakingly easy for English faithful to allow Henry 8 to continue sinning and break away from the Holy Church, which led thousands of English into serious mortal sin and lose their souls. The majority of clerics and men followed the earthly power of Henry the 8, then. Sadly, there were and are few men who like St. Thomas More,or Bishop John Fisher, preferred earthly death, to following the earthly tyrant in sin, and certain loss of the kingdom of heaven. The majority of churchmen 400 years ago and modern Catholic leaders are the hollow men, who like O’Malley, allow unrepentant evil men like Ted Kennedy who objected to prayer in the schools, approved of homosexual marriage, and touted late term abortion to be given a Christian burial.This politician led thousands to sin, and caused many Catholic women to kill their babies. At least in Massachusets the Catholic lite brand of Catholicism, not Roman Catholicism is practiced.How many abortions was Kennedy responsible for, perhaps millions. I recall Cardinal that in the war of Christians versus secular progressives-or Christ versus extremist liberals- I never saw any Kennedy -specially Ted- ever raise his voice, swimming prowess, or sword to defend Christ publicly. You prelates will have much to answer for. Is it any wonder Catholic Churches today are only 40 percent full on Sundays. Is it any wonder that many Catholics seek the moral teachings of Pius 12.

  • DoctorOrlando,

    I second what you said.

    The analogy of those Henry VIII Catholics that succumbed to the world and today’s politicians such as Ted Kennedy and Cardinal O’Malley is apropos.

    Let us pray for both of these fallen men.

Which Comes First, the Church or the Party?

Wednesday, September 2, AD 2009

Well, I’ve read and talked more than I ever cared to about Ted Kennedy recently, may he rest in peace. And Darwin has already ably responded to this defense of the late Senator Kennedy from Michael Sean Winters. But something about Mr. Winters response has been ringing in my ears, and I think it’s because it summarizes in a few sentences what I perceive to be the tragedy of Catholic Democrats in the U.S.: they could have taken a stand for unborn life but were unwilling. As a result, faithful Catholics have either been driven into the Republican Party, become independents, or become disconcertingly comfortable with the status quo on abortion. Currently I think both the first and last options are incompatible with Catholic thought – at least without substantial departure from party orthodoxies. Where familiarity (with both parties) should have breed contempt, it has instead yielded unconscionable familiarity and acceptance. And Mr. Winters’ post provides a clear illustration of this reality:

To dismiss his [Senator Kennedy’s] career because of his stance on abortion is to be ignorant of the complicated way the issue of abortion manifested itself in the early 1970s: I think Kennedy got it wrong but I do not find it difficult to understand why and how he got it wrong.

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5 Responses to Which Comes First, the Church or the Party?

  • Well said. I think your argument is strengthened by the fact that for over thirty years, Sen. Kennedy had ample opportunity to reevaluate his position in the light of advances in prenatal medicine. He had the opportunity to take firm stances against the pro-abortion absolutists’ increasingly irrational demands. He appears to have done very little in this way, though I will give him credit for his efforts on behalf of handicapped children.

    The tendency to appoint oneself theologian-in-chief is, sadly, far too common. Not only did Kennedy succumb to this failing, he seems at a critical decision point to have surrounded himself with members of the clergy suffering from the same disorder.

  • I appreciate the analysis but I wonder if we are creating an unjustified distinction in favor of Sen. Kennedy’s interpretation of social justice.

    It was, for me, far more than his stance on abortion that offended me. Sen. Kennedy evoked a viscoral reaction whenever I saw or heard him. The root cause was that the “social justice” that he spoke so eloquently for was coupled with an hypocracy and a complete disregard for the effects of social liberalism, as opposed to social justice, on American society in general and American Catholicism in particular.

    As to the hypocracy, it was far more than his lack of remorse about leaving someone to die, though I admit that his lifelong denial of substantive responsibility colors my perception of the rest. Plainly stated, he remained an unrepentant, vice-ridden person his whole public life and saw no responsibility to act as an example to others. Born into a life of privelege, power, and wealth, he made no continuous efforts to bolster charitable giving of time or talents. He could have championed causes of every stripe that involved individual charity and concern. Instead, he championed only government intervention. In my opinion, no Catholic can take credit for what the state compels him to do, however just or right, so this utter failure to call others to charity or to engage in its himself stacks strongly against him. The hypocracy comes from his unceasing lectures to others for their individualism and failure to support Statism.

    Finally, in a related vein, he advocated far more than abortion – even though abortion would be enough to show him as having excommunicated himself in my book. He drew heavily from Catholic roots and used that tie-in to preserve political power and to use it in advancing others who directly opposed Catholic values. To advance those who furthered gay marriage, abortion on demand, no-fault divorce, euthenasia, sex-ed sponsored by Planned Parenthood, and other causes directly opposed to our beliefs surely invalidates his claim to being a Catholic in other than name only.

    At the end of my analysis, I must conclude that his Catholicism was merely a cloak to hide grave evil. Whether he saw it that way or not is between him and God. However, that he was little more than a well-hidden cancer is not, to my mind, in doubt.

  • G-veg,

    I agree with your assesment of Kennedy’s viewpoint on social liberalism, and I agree that it is in error. I think we need to be cautious with other than black and white issues such as abortion and euthanasia. What I’m saying is, no matter how much I believe modern liberalism is completely opposed to the Church, the Church has not spoken such and so I merely “speculate”.

  • The problem with not being more explicit about what we, as Christians, oppose is that the other voices advocating for a better way of living, like the Mennonites, Hassid, and LDS, NEED all the support they can get.

    For example, school has started this week and the alley beside my house is a major thoroughfare for kids going to our public high school. Frankly, many of the girls are dressed like tramps and the boys’ behavior is atrocious: rude, unseemly, and unkind. We should be calling such behavior what it is – unChristian.

    I have been reading a lot about the early Church and am struck by the ability of so few to affect so many simply by living well and stating the truth loudly. It is more than their evangelization – though the power of seeking out the lost and inviting them to find community is a resounding lesson worth applying to a world so lost in the false claims of modernity – it is also the social norms that so impressed the heathen communities where they were established: standing apart from the rituals and sinfulness of the world around them.

    How can we call ourselves Catholic while sending our daughters out for Halloween dressed sexily? How can we call ourselves Christian while allowing our sons to taunt and abuse the weakest among them?

    More to the point of the post above, how can we allow public figures to call themselves Catholic and derive power from their warped association with the faith without calling them on it when they act in a distinctly un-Catholic way?

    Yes, Kennedy and Pelosi, among others, have probably excommunicated themselves and there is no need for the Church to take such formal actions. However, their crimes were and are well known and it creates confusion and scandal for our Bishops to ignore it in them and speak eloquently to the rest of us.

    By making oneself a public figure, you invite comment on your life and forgo the right to protest that your Christian identity is between you and God alone.

    “To those to whom more is given…”

  • Finally! This is the first article that I believe was well, and thoughtfully written! I admit I am new to The American Catholic, so I haven’t seen many articles – I have mostly seen rants and blind partisanship in many of the posts – but this one actually gets to some important issues and even though I disagree with some of the opinions, this one at least gives a foundation for discussion that I think can be useful.

7 Responses to Ross Douthat on "a different kind of liberal"

  • An excellent column, well-researched and clearly, simply written. As I read the comments attached to it, always an exercise in frustration-building, it occurred to me that the clear cognitive dissonance that Douthat points to in positions on abortion–popular among many on the Left and even among social moderates–is something that they have learned to tune out completely in order to maintain their sanity. One of the commenters there, trotting out the oft-used logical fallacy “I find abortion abhorrent personally, but who am I to impose my views on others?”, upbraids Douthat for being “judgmental” and chiding him that only the Almighty God of judgment can judge us. Situational ethics at its worst and most illogical. No doubt those same people who wail and gnash their teeth over Douthat’s clear line of reasoning would have no trouble (nor should they, of course!) recognizing their hypocrisy if the issue at hand were slavery, as it was 150 years ago in this country.

    We have much work to do as pro-life Catholics, but the more I read the pablum that spews forth from the lips of the unthinking pro-choice crowd, the more I realize that nothing I say or do could change their minds; it is up to the grace of the Holy Spirit to change their hearts, and for that all I can do is pray.

  • It’s a perfectly fine column, but just says what we already knew about the late Mrs. Shriver and the late Senator Kennedy. And the comments tell us what we already knew about the few remaining pathetic readers of the NYT.

  • This was an excellent editorial. I am glad it is posted here.

  • Ross Douthat is the smartest young conservative writer out there, aside from Labash. Always worth a look.

  • Maybe. But something about Douthat rubs me the wrong way. Nevertheless, it’s a good piece.

    Mind you, he’s not saying anything that countless other Catholic commentators weren’t already saying. But I suppose it’s new to the readers of The New York Times, so Douthat has doubtless done a service by putting something they’d never otherwise read out there for them to see.

  • I’m with Jay – though I liked and linked to this particular article and think that Douthat puts out some nice work, I’m not fully on board with his program. I thought Party of Sam’s Club, on top of some policy disagreements, was a major disappointment. It just wasn’t a very good or really enlightening read. But he’s on the money here.

  • Of all the Kennedy siblings, perhaps Eunice was the one who really SHOULD have been the first Catholic president 😉

The Kennedy Mystique

Monday, August 31, AD 2009

The past week has given me pause for thought on the Kennedy Mystique and what it means in Catholic circles today. I’d intended to remain silent on the topic of Senator Edward Kennedy, he wasn’t someone I had much admiration for, but death is a great equalizer. While it certainly doesn’t put someone beyond criticism, it’s polite not to take the opportunity to attack someone while those who loved him are mourning. And yet, in the end I made some rather strong comments on the topic. Why?

Ted Kennedy isn’t himself the sort of figure one would expect to arouse more than normal political feelings — a sometimes boorish and boozy character, but a party loyalist able to bring a fair amount of rhetorical power to pushing his party’s line and able to bring a self effacing charm into play (when he tried) which softened his partisan edges. The the sort of person I’d tend to admire, but also not someone I’d feel called upon to rail against.

I think the issue is that the combination of the Kennedy name and the Democratic party-line positions holds a certain place in American Catholic history which causes strong reactions among various Catholics depending on how they reacted to that period in Catholic history in this country. JFK was elected at a point when it seemed Catholics had finally “arrived” in the US. They’d made it out of the ethnic ghettos, through college, and into mainstream American society. And while public schools were heavily Protestant, and Catholic “smells and bells” still looked very strange to WASP eyes, Catholicism had become a large and mainstream religion in the US complete with famous converts and Fulton Sheen as a major TV personality.

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4 Responses to The Kennedy Mystique

When did Senator Kennedy abandon his commitment to the unborn?

Monday, August 31, AD 2009

As has been pointed out, Senator Kennedy was pro-life at least until late 1971. Like Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and other prominent figures on the left, his stance changed as “abortion rights” became a major plank on the Democrat Party platform.

What happened?

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3 Responses to When did Senator Kennedy abandon his commitment to the unborn?

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  • I think it may be appropriate to compare Sen. Kennedy to the Senators and Congressmen of the 19th century who supported slavery, such as Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas.

    These men were significant figures in U.S. history, known for their political and oratorical skills, and were considered “lions of the Senate” in their own time. They considered themselves good Christians, did a lot of good things in their careers, and were admired by many people of all political persuasions. As far as I know they were personally nice, intelligent, well-mannered and trustworthy people. (Douglas, in fact, courted Mary Todd before she married Abraham Lincoln.)

    Yet, all the good they did cannot obscure the fact that on the number one moral issue of their era (slavery), they were wrong, and few if any people would even think of voting for someone with the same convictions today. Douglas, especially, is a prime example of someone who was “pro-choice” on slavery the same way many politicians are pro-choice on abortion today.

    Perhaps, by the grace of God and much prayer and sacrifice, the pro-abortion point of view will be just as unthinkable in the next century as the pro-slavery point of view is now.

    Here’s another analogy to consider. Suppose there had lived in the mid-19th century a famous politician who was a Quaker and came from a well-known Quaker family. Suppose this person claimed to be an observant Quaker, attended services regularly or attempted to, and made public statements about the value of his Quaker convictions and how they affected his votes on issues like war — but at the same time, he constantly defended the right of Southerners to own slaves, voted for the Fugitive Slave and Kansas Nebraska Acts, praised the Dred Scott decision, had a 100 percent favorable rating from pro-slavery lobbying groups, and repeatedly claimed there was no conflict between his Quaker convictions and embracing slavery.

    Now, how many Quakers do you think would have voted for such a man, and how would the press of the time have regarded him — as a sterling example of “progressive” Quaker thinking, or as a despicable hypocrite?

  • Those of that kind, not singling out Ted Kennedy, seem to serve special interest groups, Planned Parenthood, Unions.

Where Are You Saint Ambrose?

Monday, August 31, AD 2009

Ted Kennedy Cardinal O'Malley pic

During a crisis within the Roman Empire, Emperor Theodosius I slaughtered 7,000 of his own citizens in 390 AD.  Shortly after this massacre Emperor Theodosius arrived in Milan where Saint Ambrose resided as bishop.  Upon hearing of the emperors arrival Saint Ambrose refused to meet nor offer the Holy Sacrifice to him.  Instead he castigated the emperor and demanded he repent for his sins.

Emperor Theodosius quickly obeyed [emphasis mine],

“and, being laid hold of by the discipline of the Church, did penance in such a way that the sight of his imperial loftiness prostrated made the people who were interceding for him weep more than the consciousness of offence had made them fear it when enraged”. “Stripping himself of every emblem of royalty”, says Ambrose in his funeral oration, “he publicly in church bewailed his sin. That public penance, which private individuals shrink from, an Emperor was not ashamed to perform; nor was there afterwards a day on which he did not grieve for his mistake.”[1]

Ted Kennedy was the leading proponent of abortion on demand.

Millions of innocent humans died due to the policies that Ted Kennedy championed.

Ted Kennedy passed away without repenting nor showing remorse for his direct actions in the death of millions.

Instead of performing his duty as Archbishop of Boston and teaching Ted Kennedy the errors of his ways, Cardinal O’Malley does absolutely nothing and then presides at his funeral.

Saint Ambrose, ora pro nobis!


(photo from WPIX)

[1] Loughlin, J. (1907). St. Ambrose. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved August 30, 2009 from New Advent:

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8 Responses to Where Are You Saint Ambrose?

  • At the time, Catholics in America regarded the election of JFK to the presidency as one of the best things that ever happened to them and an historic advancement of their cause. In retrospect, however, I am beginning to think it was one of the WORST things ever to happen to Catholicism in America.

    Without JFK’s election and subsequent assassination the myth of “Camelot” would never have been created, and the Kennedys would likely have remained a regional political dynasty similar to the Daleys in Chicago. The damage they have done to genuine Catholic social teaching and to the image of the Church would probably have been more contained, and their insufferable sense of entitlement to public office would not have been as pronounced.

  • Actually the Cardinal did not preside over the funeral. In fact an argument can be made by what he was doing he was making a subtle point. Perhaps it should have not been subtle but a point neverthe less

    Get Relgion discusses this today at

    Rites, wrongs and a letter from Rome

  • JH,

    Getreligion is not a Catholic website.

    Cardinal O’Malley was presiding. He didn’t celebrate, but he was presiding. I was careful in how I worded it.

  • JH,

    I finished reading the getRelgion blog and it’s open to interpretation.

    This may well be a learning experience, so if anyone can locate the GIRM regarding this I would appreciate it!

  • A priest once noted that the senior ranking cleric present presides at the liturgical function even if another cleric actually leads.

  • “Ted Kennedy passed away without repenting nor showing remorse for his direct actions in the death of millions.”

    Thank God somebody actually had the cajones to make this remark.

    Unlike Ed Peters who previously stated:

    Unless, that is, “they gave some sign of repentance before death.” And there is at least some evidence that Ted Kennedy did just that.

    Mark Leibovich of the New York Times notes that, among things, “The Rev. Mark Hession, the priest at the Kennedys’ parish on the Cape, made regular visits to the Kennedy home this summer and held a private family Mass in the living room every Sunday. Even in his final days, Mr. Kennedy led the family in prayer after the death of his sister Eunice . . . [and when] the senator’s condition took a turn Tuesday night a priest, the Rev. Patrick Tarrant of Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville, was called to his bedside.”

    So, the man simply being visited by clergy and attending Mass at home is a sign of repentance?

    Come on!

    All throughout his life, he continued to attend Mass (and what not) all the while supporting the dispicable dismemberment of babies within their mothers’ wombs; how could he virtually doing the very same while deposed at home could possibly be a sign that he regretted his support for murdering babies and rightly repented for it?

    Being a visible figure, and given he was senator, he would have to have shown a public display of his great regret for this most abominable sin and endorse all efforts to undo the negative repercussions of his heinous Pro-abort stance, including an apology for the many deaths of so many innocents who died as a result thereof in his Culture of Death crusade!

  • e.,

    Cut Dr. Edward Peters some slack, he may have been referring to his many indiscretions such as womanizing, drinking, etc, and indirectly inferring his stance on abortion.

    Only God knows.

Two Letters.

Sunday, August 30, AD 2009

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 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’ll 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.

Excerpt, Letter of Senator Edward Kennedy to Pope Benedict XVI, which President Obama delivered to the Pontiff in July, 2009.

* * *

While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old. […]

I share in the confidence of those who feel that America is willing to care for its unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves. I also share the opinions of those who do not accept abortion as a response to our society’s problems — an inadequate welfare system, unsatisfactory job training programs, and insufficient financial support for all its citizens.

When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.

Excerpt, Letter of Senator Edward Kennedy to Thomas E. Denelly, August 1971.

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7 Responses to Two Letters.

  • 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.

    When I read this earlier today, I thought it must be someone’s idea of a parody. Why would a dying man brag to the POPE about his accomplishments??? What a massive ego! Cardinal McCarrick found this “moving.” The pope’s response, however, was more . . . measured.

  • What struck me was simply the fact that an entire segment of humanity — one which the Senator himself referred to previously as “[America’s] unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves” — was omitted from his current list of those he had fought to save.

  • What a complete political hack Kennedy was. He was facing death and decides to use this transparent ploy to drum up support for ObamaCare among Catholics and to use the Pope as a bit player in the effort. Of course not a word in his letter about his massive efforts to defeat the teaching of the Church on abortion. I pray that Kennedy was in a better spiritual state of mind when he made his last confession than when he penned this piece of tripe. His letter to the Pope should have consisted of three words: “Forgive me Father.”.

  • … and here I was hoping that he would have quietly asked for forgiveness for what he knew was a complete contradiction of both faith and reason… disappointing to say the least.

  • I admit the first thing that came to my mind on reading Kennedy’s letter was Luke 18:9-14.

  • Kennedy says that he believes in conscience protection for Catholics in the health field, but what has he done to ensure it?

    If Kennedy was in a better spiritual state of mind when he made his last confession, he would have refuted this letter and written another, better one.

    Let’s face it, faith meant nothing to Kennedy. He used it to claim the moral high-ground when it suited him. He shed it when it meant political damage. The sheople ate it up. Shame on all of them.

  • Well, I wonder if anyone here has been with their Father when he is receiving the last Sacrament, that one would say it is bragging. My Dad related a story, in which he took men to Mass during WWII and that there were more men when fears were higher, of being attacked by the Japanese … when he was near to death. It is something that Ted Kennedy believed showed his deep Catholic Faith, just like Dad. Lighten up folks! It was rather wise that it was read then, and, if it was Ted’s wishes, more the better. Big issue, very current, very Catholic. Perhaps his family can speak more eloquently, but, it is important for all of those who loved him and love the Church. Pope Benedict, it seems, gave a response that wasn’t from having known the Senator personally, that’s all. I don’t think that the Pope would favor anyone. Even saintly folk need proofs.

Doug Kmiec on the Death of Kennedy

Sunday, August 30, AD 2009

Doug Kmiec, betrayer of the pro-life cause, future ambassador to Malta and spiritual descendant of Richard Rich,  the subject of few posts on this blog, see here, has taken the opportunity of the death of Ted Kennedy to engage in some predictable spaniel like fawning over Obama and ObamaCare.  The ever cogent Erin Manning at her ever readable blog and sometimes tea, fisks the resulting mess here, so you don’t have to.

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10 Responses to Doug Kmiec on the Death of Kennedy

  • I see Cardinal McCarrick has even shared with the world the late senator’s deathbed letter to Pope Benedict–the one that begins with a tribute to Obama’s “deep faith” and ends with a pitch for government health care. The cardinal describes this bit of self-serving political propaganda as “deeply moving.” Richard Rich had almost all the bishops of England on his side; I suspect Doug Kmiec may have the majority of our bishops with him.

  • Ambassador Kmiec is a deeply confused man with the ability to do either great good or great harm to the Church and its values by virtue of his God-given intellect. It’s terribly sad that he has chosen, of late, to turn that intellect against crystal clear teachings related to social issues ranging from abortion to same-sex marriage. We must pray for his re-conversion and may he publicly refute his errors and the damage they have caused to this nation and most especially to the souls of those he has helped lead astray.

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  • Cardinal McCarrick brings to mind one of the most intriguing quotes from the Council of Nicaea when debating the Arian heresy.

    Saint Athanasius was quoted as saying, “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

  • This scene from ‘A Man For All Seasons’ is one of my most favorite.

    It’s interesting that Richard Rich doesn’t blink an eye when Sir Thomas quotes the Bible in reference to his Medal-of-Office.

  • I actually thought he seemed rather hesitant throughout the scene Tito. Note that the bailiff had to remind him “So help you God, Sir Richard”. I thought John Hurt played well the role of a man who has subdued his conscience, but still feels faint pangs of shame.

  • I agree that he played the role very well. He could’ve have been grappling within himself and only later realized the gravity of what he had done.

  • I hope both you gentlemen are well aware of the fact that hagiography was not really the intention of the Scriptwriter; indeed, the man himself was actually an atheist.

    I admit that the movie remains top on my list of favourite films; yet, I’d place more historical accuracy in Roper’s own account of More’s life than this, however poetically it depicts More.

  • Actually e, Bolt was an agnostic. He wrote plays and screenplays about characters in conflict with their society. Although he did not share the Faith of More, he obviously greatly admired him and that shines through the play.

The Kennedy Funeral

Sunday, August 30, AD 2009


Canon Lawyer Ed Peters has some thoughts here on the Ted Kennedy funeral.  Distressingly the funeral had on full display the tendency of modern Catholic funerals to have eulogies that “canonize” the deceased.  I prefer the traditional Catholic practice of banning eulogies and merely requesting prayers for the soul of the deceased.  There are other venues to praise the deceased.  The funeral Mass is not for praise, but rather for the sacrifice of the Mass and for prayers.  A good post on the subject is here.

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5 Responses to The Kennedy Funeral

  • I watched the funeral on Fox and was shocked and saddened that the intercessory prayers would be used by the Kennedy’s for political purposes. I wanted to watch the funeral as a Catholic in respect for the family and Senator Kennedy’s service to our country. I grieve with them for their family loss and wanted to offer up prayers for their family. But I was very disappointed as a Catholic that the focus wasn’t on the Sacrifice of the Mass in commeration of Jesus’ Sacrifice for us and prayers for Senator Kennedy, the deceased as he journeys home to his heavenly Father. The Mass for deceased is beautiful and unites us here on earth with the deceased and the hope one day we will all be together with our heavenly Father.
    May Senator Kennedy rest in peace.

  • It’s an all too common abuse of the purpose of funerals — and I think a particularly unfortunate one in that when people assure themselves prematurely the deceased is “in heaven now”, I can only assume that far fewer prayers are actually offered for the soul of the deceased.

    One of my father’s absolute directives was that there be no eulogies at his funeral and no presumption that he was already in heaven. (He’d wanted to hold out for black vestments too, but there were none to be had.)

  • Was it a funeral or a beatification?

    Watching Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press, I couldn’t help but notice that, at least in the eyes of Kathleen Kennedy Townshend, yesterday’s proceedings have transformed an understandable hope into a concrete certainty:

    MR. GREGORY: […] Kathleen, the imperfect part of his being was something that was very public, from Chappaquiddick to the incident in Florida in 1991 to other struggles.
    MS. TOWNSEND: Right.
    MR. GREGORY: How did he make–take stock of that in the end?
    MS. TOWNSEND: Well, that’s what–I mean, I have to say, I think that’s one of the great, important parts of the Catholic faith. We used to joke we were the church of sinners rather than the church of saints, and therefore you–we’re all sinners. And you can pray to God and say, “I–are you going to believe that I can make, make something better of my life?” rather than if you sin, you can never come back. And that is really what I think the Catholic faith is. And you saw that yesterday when the, the cardinals were there, the priests were there. There–they were saying, “This man is going to heaven, because he was there for the least among us.”

  • And you saw that yesterday when the, the cardinals were there, the priests were there. There–they were saying, “This man is going to heaven, because he was there for the least among us.

    Wow, just wow. I agree with the Ed Peters post that Donald cited earlier. But what a case this makes for denying Kennedy a Catholic funeral, or at least limiting the clergy to the celebrating priest. I’m afraid that KKT is not alone in her false connections and assumptions and that these actually serve to cause scandal. How many sensible and decent people of other faiths watching that broadcast walked away with a false sense of Catholic theology and may never consider the Truths of the faith because of that? It seems to reinforce the misconception of many Protestants about the Catholic faith concerning sin and forgiveness and the role of clergy.

    Mark Shea says sin makes you stupid, apparently leftist ideology makes you blind to sin and stupidity.

  • If I remember correctly, Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark in 2003 issued an edict explicitly banning eulogies at funeral Masses — save for one relative or friend who can speak for no more than 5 minutes. The ban was prompted by clergy complaints that eulogies were getting “out of control,” including incidents such as impromptu piano performances and Osama bin Laden jokes. I know people want to share memories of the deceased, but isn’t that what the wake is for?

    As Rick points out, if Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s remarks don’t provide proof positive that public scandal was indeed caused by the way this funeral was conducted, I don’t know what would. Perhaps people have forgotten what “scandal” really means — it doesn’t mean causing people to be shocked or outraged; rather, it means giving them the impression that something is morally acceptable when it really isn’t.

    Could the archdiocese in this instance have limited the number of clergy involved, or forbidden or severely limited media coverage of the funeral itself? There’s nothing stopping the Kennedys from having a big public memorial event or tribute on some other occasion.