Bishop Gracida: Sensus Fidelium

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

Bishop Rene Gracida

Over on his blog, Abyssus Abyssum InvocatBishop Rene Gracida, retired bishop of Corpus Christi, explains why he thinks it is the duty of the laity to speak out against the Kennedy Funeral:


some of what I had written about the scandal of the Ted Kennedy funeral was reproduced and posted on that Blog.
One person, Drew Black, sent in a comment to that Blog:

“Drew Black

Thank-you, Excellency for the courage to speak out, to put the truth into print. May I ask why it is the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of  Boston?     It would seem that the most efficacious means of correction would come from the top. Authority in the church lies with its leaders. You must stand up publicly to one another. Please. We pray for you in this year of the priest.?Mary help you.

Thinking that others might be asking themselves the similar question “why did Bishop Gracida consider it the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of Boston?” I decided to send an answer to Drew Black on that same Blog.  Here was my answer:

September 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm


Drew Black,

You ask “why is it the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of Boston?”?In response I would refer you to the Historical Tracts written by the Servant of God, John Henry Cardinal Newman, in which he describes the situation in the Fourth Century when, he says, practically all of the Church’s bishops were tainted either with Arianism or Semi-Arianism, all except for the Pope and Saint Athanasius. The “sensus fidelium” of the laity saved the Church because they would not follow the lead of their bishops. The Pope and Saint Athanasius, relying on that “sensus fidelium” were able to carry the day at the Council of Nicea. Sometimes, history does repeat itself.

My point in referring to what Cardinal Newman wrote was that there are times in the life of the Church when the laity needs to make known to the Church’s hierarchy exactly what the sensus fidelium is with regard to whatever burning issue is affecting the unity of the Church at that moment.”

Bravo Bishop!  It is all too easy for we laity to sit back and leave protecting the teaching of the Church to the clergy.  Rubbish!  The teachings of Christ apply to the laity and the clergy both, and the laity cannot shirk the duty to point out when events are taking place within the Church that are in flat contradiction to that teaching.  The Church, the Bride of Christ, is no less precious to the laity, and when the clergy neglect their duty, that is no excuse for faithful members of the laity to forget theirs.

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4 Responses to Bishop Gracida: Sensus Fidelium

  • If I may correct something. Athanasius carried the day AFTER the Council of Nicea. He was only an elder, not a bishop, during Nicea, so he wasn’t one of the participants. (He was appointed bishop in 328, 3 years after Nicea.) It was afterward, during the decades of battle over Nicea, that Athanasius won the day against the Arians.

    As _The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers_, 2nd series, vol. 4, quoting another author, put it: “[Athanasius] was molded by the Nicene Creed, did not mold it himself.”

    Of course, in the process of winning the battle, the Athanasian Creed ( was created–whether or not it was actually written by Athanasius–which is different from what the Nicene Creed teaches. (Nicene Creed: One God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus Christ; Athanasian Creed: One God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we can make an awful good argument that Nicea was “semi-Arian”)

    Also, I haven’t found anywhere that the “pope” is even mentioned concerning the Council of Nicea. In fact he wasn’t there, sending presbyters in his place. (NPNF says it was because of his age that he did not come.)

    In fact, it’s of note, in my opinion, that the only mention made of him is that the bishop of Rome is said in Canon 6 to have a similar authority (not a greater one) to that of the bishop of Alexandria.

  • In regard to Saint Athanasius you are correct. He led the fight against Arianism after Nicea. In regard to the pope, the popes of the fourth century and the Church in the West in general were the bulwark against Arianism which was very strong in the East, which made the fight of Saint Athanasius in Egypt such an uphill struggle.

  • I love the notion of the sensus fidelium. It is very much in the spirit of Vatican II, the affirmation that the Holy Spirit is working through all the faithful. Of course, that would mean that artificial contraception is permissible and monogamous homosexual relationships are also in play. I like this idea.

  • It’s “sense of the faithful” Kevin, not the “sense of in-name-only-Catholics”.

Bishop Gracida on the Kennedy Funeral

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

Bishop Rene Gracida

Hattip to the ever vigilant Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia, who I really should put on retainer for the number of blogging ideas I steal, that is borrow, from him each month.

Bishop Rene Gracida is the retired bishop of Corpus Christi.  He has a blog called Abyssus Abyssum Invocat.   During World War II he was a tail gunner with the 303rd Hell’s Angels B-17 bomb group.  Why does that come as absolutely no surprise to me?  When it comes to speaking out in regard to the Kennedy funeral, I suppose it requires little courage for a Bishop who faced the skies of WW2 Europe.  The Bishop minces no words:


There was so much wrong with the funeral liturgy celebrated in Boston last Saturday for Senator Edward Moore Kennedy that I hardly know where to begin.  Aside from the impropriety of such a grandiose celebration for one of the country’s most notorious dissident Catholics, the ‘celebration’ was filled with liturgical errors and transgressions against the General Instruction of the Roman Missal which governs every celebration of the Church’s liturgy.  I am afraid that if I, a bishop, were to go into the details of the scandal it would only add to the scandal and so I will let the laity speak to it.”

The Bishop then places on his blog critical articles about the funeral from many sources.  Go here to read the articles at his blog and then place the Bishop’s blog under your “Favorites” list.  It is definitely a blog to check in at on a regular basis.

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Analyzing Bishop Morlinos Chastizement of Catholics Critical of the Funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy

Thursday, September 10, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 1:08pm CDT on AD 9-10-2009]

Michael Voris, S.T.B., breaks down Bishop Morlino’s chastizement of those Catholics that were scandalized by Ted Kennedy’s funeral Mass. has the following commentary by Patrick B. Craine and John-Henry Westen concerning the very same issue of Bishop Morlino chastizing Catholics critical of the pomp and ceremony bestowed upon the abortion advocate Ted Kennedy during the funeral Mass.

Bishop of Madison, Robert C. Morlino, expressed his support for the Kennedy funeral in a column last Thursday, basing his approval on the claim that the funeral was celebrated “in a subdued fashion,” and that this “low key” approach was appropriate due to the Senator’s support for abortion and other issues.

. . .

“All of this is leading me up to the expression of my contentment with how our Church, in a subdued fashion, celebrated the Rites of Christian Burial for Senator Kennedy,” he said. “The proclamation of God’s Mercy was powerful, the prayer for forgiveness of his past sins was clearly offered, and all of this in a subdued way because of his long-standing and public holding of pro-abortion and other stances which have been a scandal in the literal sense.”

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27 Responses to Analyzing Bishop Morlinos Chastizement of Catholics Critical of the Funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy

  • Well, It’s a good thing the Pope appointed Raymond Arroyo and LifeSiteNews to critique the bishops! What would we do without lay people to evaluate episcopal decisions?

  • Also, why do you spell his name “Morlino” (correctly) sometimes and “Marlino” other times?

  • Zak, are you willing to admit there were problems with the funeral service?

    I don’t have a problem with him being given a funeral Mass, but it’s pretty obvious Bishop Morlino has a nigh-unto-unique definition of the word “subdued.”

  • I don’t know Dale. I’m expecting a couple of Cardinals to attend my funeral and internment. 🙂

  • Things were not as I would have done them, but I agree with Morlino’s writing about the conduct of many who are criticizing. I would also note that Morlino is among the most outspoken bishops in the country on pro-life and other bioethical issues. I think we laypeople should focus more on how we can transform the world through our faith, and less on ecclesial matters like how liturgies are conducted or who should receive communion, though I am quite conservative in my liturgical preferences. Leave such matters for bishops and canon lawyers.

  • Fine, but just for hypothetical reasons, why did a Cardinal need to preside at the funeral and internment?

  • I think Carl Olson provides some perspective on the selective outrage aimed at those who were scandalized as opposed to those who caused the scandal:

    Within a week of Kennedy’s funeral, those making offensive and inappropriate statements of his eternal destination are being called on the carpet for their objectively sinful actions. Fair enough. My question is this: how long after Ted Kennedy made it known in the 1970s that he was going to publicly support abortion (and, later, other evils), was he called on the carpet by bishops or priests for his objectively sinful actions? How often throughout his public career was he publicly confronted and chastised for his support of abortion, contraceptives, “same-sex marriage,” embryonic stem cell research, and so forth? And why does Bishop Morlino only use the word “sin/sinful” regarding those comments, but never in referring to Kennedy’s many public actions and positions? Is it really so hard to call a spade a spade?

    Once again, it’s interesting how easy it is to chastise pro-life Catholic bloggers for being “vicious” and “bullying” and “sowing seeds of hatred” and being “agents of destruction and violence”, but how hard it is to state the facts about Sen. Kennedy’s public record. I suppose it was Kennedy’s good fortune that he was never a pro-life Catholic blogger, otherwise he might have had to face public criticism from Catholic clergy.

  • “Things were not as I would have done them”–OK. A bit too de gustibus, but fine. Which things?

    Philip: Yeah, I’m just hoping my parish priest isn’t too ticked off, myself. 😉

    In all seriousness, I don’t have a problem with Cardinal O’Malley presiding, either. What sticks in my craw was that it turned into a de facto canonization process–in my less charitable moments, and yes, I have many, Tedapalooza. Instead of a celebration of the hope of Christian resurrection, we had a celebration of the deceased–a man who lived at very public odds with the Church, to boot. The clerical plaudits for the man should stir universal unease in Catholics regardless of political loyalties.

    The failure of both Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Morlino and those in the same camp to admit to the serious scandal caused by the way the funeral *was handled* (as opposed to *the granting* of a Catholic funeral to the deceased) is telling and doesn’t bode well for the future.

    Not only do we have the right to protest how the Mass was handled, we have a duty to do so. Charitably, and Bishop Morlino is right to call for that. But no less a duty for that.

  • I might take a somewhat different approach. Zack notes that liturgy is for clerics. Fine. It is. So let them make their choices. But politics is for the laity. And a “canonization” carries political implications. And those implications we can critique as laity.

  • Zak,

    The typos are simply that, typos.

    I like Bishop Morlino, but he certainly did whale into scandalized Catholics a bit much for my taste.

  • I don’t think there’s any chance of a literal canonization of Ted Kennedy. The point that he had fundamental character flaws and that he dissented from essential church teachings for Catholics in the public sphere and that in doing so he was supportive of and complicit in the abortions that have taken place is clear and can be made without the internecine attacks on prelates we’ve seen. They play into an anti-clerical culture that further undermines the hierarchy’s authority, marginalizing its voice further while lamenting the fact that it hasn’t managed to change our pro-abortion legal regime.

    I also think Bishop Morlino has been one of the more outspoken bishops in criticizing pro-choice politicians. Ted Kennedy and other pro-choice politicians have been criticized repeatedly by bishops through the years. It’s very selective of Mr. Olsen to suggest otherwise.

  • Zak,

    Have you ever considered the fact that many bishops in this country have de facto been derelict in their duties?

    And because of a lack of leadership, character, and charity among our many bishops the laity have been scandalized to the point that their respect for our prelates have dropped precipitously? Especially after the homosexual pedophile scandals and committing the sin of omission one too many times when it comes to the most preeminent issue of our lifetime?

  • Zak:

    While I can well have empathy with some of the remarks you’ve made concerning the anti-clerical nature that might underlie many of the criticisms made by those of the Catholic faithful themselves which these may indeed play into some undermining of the Catholic heirarchy; I believe you might yourself be losing sight of the fact that not every instance of criticism is actually anti-ecclesial pers se or do even undermine the heirarchy.

    If you were to survey many of the lives and corresponding works of the great Saints of the Church, you would find criticisms that saints such as these held and subsequently even expressed concerning clergy they sought to correct during their lifetime.

    Take for instance, Catherine of Sienna (a mere tertiary) who dared criticize even the Pope for that matter or even Thomas More (a mere layman) who did so concerning the corrupt nature of a certain of the English Catholic clergy in his days.

    Perhaps what might be more proper to discuss here is how such criticisms should be accordingly laid out, such that they do not, as you say, visciously undermine the hierarchy (especially in the public arena where anything and everything becomes twisted for the sake of mob media), but more importantly cause unjust scandal to the Church and, thereby, detracts and even deters from (or, worst, destroys) the Work that Christ is attempting to accomplish through her for the sake of the Salvation of many.

  • Tito,
    Certainly it is true that bishops have made mistakes, been negligent, or even actively done wrong at various times, particularly in relation to abusive priests. Criticizing specific acts, in those cases, is certainly permissible. Criticisms should nevertheless be voiced in a charitable manner, not with the vitriol we see spewed at people like Cardinal O’Malley, who has been unfailing in his his pro-life advocacy and who, having done so much good in restoring multiple dioceses torn apart by the scandalous episcopal behavior you decry (regarding priestly pedophilia) ought not to be attacked on that issue.

    My problem is that people think the bishops aren’t owed any respect, and they are, by virtue of their office. When someone attacks a bishop for not constantly talking abortion, as if they should all be Bishop Martino, one wonders whether they want to be members of the Catholic Church or the Anti-abortion Church. Certainly we are anti-abortion, but that isn’t the pre-eminent issue for bishops, because politics isn’t pre-eminent for bishops.

    And no group in the country has done more to advocate against abortion than the Catholic bishops. Even before Roe, no one was more outspoken. After Roe, virtually no other group in the public sphere spoke out loudly. Their leadership – in cooperation with Catholic lay people – has been tireless in establishing alternatives to abortion for pregnant women. To speak of sins of omission – it’s absurd. Even Cardinal Bernadin, faulted by so many for his ideas about the seamless garment, spoke out loudly against abortion. What the bishops did not do is embrace the notion that many right-inclined Catholics have that beyond abortion (and pay marriage and abortion), everything else is merely “prudential” and thus something where the Church has nothing to say (thankfully not a view of many of the principled Catholic conservative- and libertarian-inclined Catholics on the this site). And so they’re faulted for the scandal. The scandal is not that the bishops did not speak out. It’s that so many laypeople, both right and left, are willing to ignore them (or at least the difficult things they have to say) when they do.

  • Zak,

    not with the vitriol we see spewed at people like Cardinal O’Malley

    like Bishop Morlino, you are making unsupported, and non-specific accusations, thereby demonizing ALL of those who were critical of the Cardinal’s shameful actions in this matter.

    Be specific, what vitriol? Said by whom?

    Personally, the only vitriol I have heard is from the Cardinal and his apologizers.

    ps. Cardinal Sean (as he refers to himself) has been credibly implicated in attempting to allow Catholic healthcare institutions to be complicit in abortions…

  • e,
    What you say is true, and having a lot of reverence for St. Catherine of Sienna, I’ve puzzled about this issue a lot. I think when a bishop or priest does something explicitly and undeniably sinful, then its clear it can be criticized (Rembert Weakland’s inexcusable behavior, for example), but one should still be cautious not to adopt a pharisaical attitude. When Bishops make administrative decisions (not in the manner of faith and morals) these should be submitted to in the end, though arguments against them can be raised.

    In between those two poles, I’m not sure. I personally find much of the criticism I read (from both right and left, although with conservative sympathies, I’m more surprised and bothered by those from the right) bothersome.

    I remember when Donald wrote a piece attacking a Jesuit professor I’ve had. Now, I disagree with the Jesuit on a number of prudential matters, butI never heard him actually dissenting from Church teaching or saying anything unorthodox. The picture of him that accompanied the article in (the bad) NCR (where he had argued that a more conciliatory tone on abortion would achieve more) showed him not wearing clerical attire, which inspired a number of comments on his heterodoxy and need to be disciplined. Is this where laypeople should be focusing? Or is it a distraction from what we are truly called to? The schism St. Catherine was criticizing was indisputably a scandal and worthily condemned by her. A priest not wearing his collar, though?

    Maybe the problem is the Internet. When St. Catherine spoke out, it was in a society where she was clearly recognized as a holy woman and she thus had some authority (though not official). Here, I don’t know you from Adam. Maybe you’re similarly holy, and if I saw you speaking out on a subject, I would say, “here’s a modern day saint! I should listen as he criticizes our laxness in these days.” I lack the context in which to set people’s criticisms, so they can sound particularly harsh,because I think, “well,I’m no St. Catherine of Sienna (really, I’m not) so I won’t speak like that about a bishop.” At the same time, we feel free to say things on the Internet with a lack of charity we would rarely employ when speaking to someone’s face. St. Catherine of Sienna addressed the pope to his face. It was Martin Luther who put his criticism of the pope in the 16th century equivalent of a blog post. 🙂

  • Matt,
    I had an example where the Catholic League of Massachusetts said the funeral displayed “the corruption of the Catholic Church” or something like that, but my browser crashed when I tried to post it and I don’t feel like looking agin. There were also numerous comments throughout the blogosphere about how the Church in Boston (and O’Malley) suck up to the Kennedys for money and comparing bishops who don’t refuse communion to pro-choice politicians to Pontius Pilate. That’s far more vitriol than Bishop Morlino displays.

  • Zak,

    exactly my point. Don’t poste generalizations and characterizations, just post what was said. Please don’t bother with mentioning comments on the blogosphere, we’re talking about prominent critics not just some schmo on the internet.

    ps. If the Church in Boston (and O’Malley) aren’t sucking up for money, why exactly are they sucking up?

  • But with all due respect, we’re not just talking about prominent people – we are schmos on the Internet. We’re the people who shouldn’t be wasting our time judging whether bishops’ decisions are good or bad.

    “Shameful” “sucking up” – that language sounds self-righteous to me, and it’s exactly the tone I think should be avoided.

  • Zak,

    But with all due respect, we’re not just talking about prominent people – we are schmos on the Internet. We’re the people who shouldn’t be wasting our time judging whether bishops’ decisions are good or bad

    With all due respect (speaking of self-righteous). We are not the ones that the bishop and his apologists are attempting to demonize by their generalizations. Frankly none of the schmos on this blog or anywhere else I’ve seen have suggested he should have been denied a Catholic funeral which is the primary charge being leveled by the Cardinal et al. It’s precisely this misdirection which is so contemptible, especially when it’s used in a attempt to cover ones own shameful actions (sorry, no PC from me, I call it as I see it).

    Here is the quote you’re referring to from the “Catholic Action League” of Massechusets:
    “No rational person can reasonably be expected to take seriously Catholic opposition to abortion when a champion of the Culture of Death, who repeatedly betrayed the Faith of his baptism, is lauded and extolled by priests and prelates in a Marian basilica. This morning’s spectacle is evidence of the corruption which pervades the Catholic Church in the United States. The right to life will never be recognized by secular society if it is not first vindicated and consistently upheld within the institutions of the Church itself.”

    It seems to me that you are not denying any of my assertions or the one from CAL, just whether or not they should be asserted, is that accurate?

  • “Ted Kennedy and other pro-choice politicians have been criticized repeatedly by bishops through the years. It’s very selective of Mr. Olsen to suggest otherwise.”

    Really? In the same “sin/sinful”, “divisive”, “lacking in mercy”, etc. terms as Kennedy’s detractors were described? I’d like to see a cite for that. I’m guessing you’d be hard-pressed to find a single instance – much less “repeatedly” – of a Bishop (outside of perhaps now-retired Bishop Martino and maybe Bishop Bruskewitz) ever using similar terms to criticize Kennedy or any other “pro-choice” politician.

    And, with all due respect to Bishop Morlino, it is difficult for me to take some of those arguments the Bishop made on Kennedy’s behalf (especially (1) describing Kennedy as a “pro-life leader”, (2) about Kennedy’s meeting with dissident theologians to discuss how to fudge abortion as showing his “seriousness” as a Catholic, and (3) the comment about the “subdued” nature of his funerally) as anything other than spin.

    Bishop Morlino gives Kennedy every benefit of the doubt, while assuming the absolute worst about the pro-lifers who were scandalized by Kennedy’s pro-abortion advocacy.

  • Zak:

    I can see where you are coming from, in spite of certain particulars that I would happen to disagree with.

    For instance, I feel that on the one hand, you make a valid point concerning how malicious certain criticisms of various ecclesiastics can be so as to ultimately undermine their very authority as such and even that of the Church itself.

    However, on the other, there are certain matters so pressing (such as those that carry with them not only rightful ecclesial responsibility but also Christian moral duty as well) that should any such member of the Church be found derelict in their duty, both as clergy as well as fellow Catholic, then criticism as concerning their failure to live up to these in such matters is most likely well deserved and, indeed, even necessary.

    Yet, I can feel for what you’re saying.

    I believe, likewise, that there is also a responsibility on the part of the critic himself wherein they should do so in such appropriate measure so as to not undermine not only the authority that clergy (mind you, the distinction being the authority that person carries with him as opposed to the person himself) but, more significantly, the Church itself.

    To put the matter more plainly, we should not be in the business of supplying our enemies with ammunition that they can use against us.

    Unfortunately, as even Sir Thomas More himself would learn later in life:

    et inimici hominis domestici eius.” — Mt 10:36

  • My with “all due respect” was facetious, because I was calling both of us schmos. It was not self righteous.

    I do deny that Kennedy’s funeral suggests that the church is corrupt. I deny that the silly aspects of it like the prayers of the faithful suggest that. I deny that O’Malley’s presence at it suggests that. I deny that anyone can credibly claim that the Church doesn’t care abortion because Ted Kennedy got a funeral.

    Morlino was one of the loudest bishops in criticizing Biden and Pelosi last year. He doesn’t assume the worst about pro-lifers. He says that those who would wish Kennedy in hell, and those who spend their time owrrying about whether he’s there, are sinning. It’s a pastoral caution. Just as when he wrote that Catholics who voted against conscience protections in a Wisconsin law on emergency contraception were sinning.

  • Zak,

    My with “all due respect” was facetious, because I was calling both of us schmos. It was not self righteous.

    Sorry for missing that. I will accept the mantle of “schmo”.

    I do deny that Kennedy’s funeral suggests that the church is corrupt. I deny that the silly aspects of it like the prayers of the faithful suggest that. I deny that O’Malley’s presence at it suggests that.

    If those don’t suggest corruption, do they suggest health??? Deny all you want, it changes nothing.

    1. the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt.
    2. moral perversion; depravity.
    3. perversion of integrity.
    4. corrupt or dishonest proceedings.
    5. bribery.
    6. debasement or alteration, as of language or a text.

    7. a debased form of a word.
    8. putrefactive decay; rottenness.
    9. any corrupting influence or agency.

    I think the definitions highlighted could be reasonably applied to the American Church as an institution, especially if we look at it’s official body the USCCB, and many of the diocesan organizations and clergy.

    I think we could not say that it is wholly corrupt, as there are a substantial minority of shining lights.

    I deny that anyone can credibly claim that the Church doesn’t care abortion because Ted Kennedy got a funeral.

    I’ll say this louder, because you missed it earlier. NOBODY IS SAYING GIVING HIM A FUNERAL IS THE PROBLEM, IT’S THE NATURE OF THE FUNERAL. That said, none of the Catholic critics are saying that the Church doesn’t care about abortion, we’re saying that the actions of the American Church SUGGEST that. I believe the truth is that much of the American hierarchy (lay and clerical) cares less about abortion than they do about certain leftist issues, and that appears to include the Cardinal of Boston, and the retired Cardinal of DC.

    Morlino was one of the loudest bishops in criticizing Biden and Pelosi last year. He doesn’t assume the worst about pro-lifers. He says that those who would wish Kennedy in hell, and those who spend their time owrrying about whether he’s there, are sinning. It’s a pastoral caution. Just as when he wrote that Catholics who voted against conscience protections in a Wisconsin law on emergency contraception were sinning.

    Good for him last year, but now he’s circling the wagons with his brother bishop, thus lending credibility to the shameful action, and furthermore by his generalized criticism (quite clearly not pastoral) he is slandering the legitimate objectors.

  • There are two points to make here.
    1) The Bishops pick and choose what parts of our doctrine certain people will get to follow.
    This is consistent through the Church Crisis these past few years in how they have “pastorally reached out” to these sinners.
    2) By Baptism alone this man has a right to be buried a catholic. He will have his day of judgement. I can’t place myself in the place of God.
    What I can say is this: The US Catholic church is having an even greater crisis within itself. We allow these people to receive the blessed sacrament. We allow our institutions of higher learning to give face time to our children at graduation. We allow what ever is non confrontational.
    May God have mercy on us all.

  • This guy has great hair! He’s much pretty than Bishop Morlino, too.

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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.

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.

Day 2: Reaction To The Passing Away Of Ted Kennedy Around The Catholic World

Thursday, August 27, AD 2009

Ted Kennedy young

Day II of what Catholics are saying on the passing away of Edward Moore Kennedy around the web (will be continuously updated until tonight at 7:00 pm CST):

A Catholic Funeral for Ted Kennedy by Dr. Edward Peters of Canon Law

A Catholic Funeral for Ted? It’s a Lie, a Sham, a Scandal, a Pretense, an Insult to faithful Catholics by Robert Kumpel of St. John’s Valdosta Blog

Dissident Catholic America magazine doesn’t want to talk about Ted Kennedy’s stance on abortion and trashes Patrick Madrid by Father John Zuhlsdorf of What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Who can have a Catholic Funeral & more by Elizabeth Scalia of The Anchoress via First Thoughts

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