Todd on the Kennedy Funeral


Readers have asked whether Todd has any thoughts about the Kennedy funeral. As it happens, Todd’s piece on the funeral is published here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11081757519772226348 Lindsay

    Bwa-ha (that was me cackling after even just the first sentence). What drivel. As gifted as you are father, I don't think that Todd himself could top that.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18298703459376168561 just evelyn

    I'm enlightened. I never knew that "the nation's most sacred shrine" was Arlington National Cemetery. I was at a restaurant during the funeral, with an anti-Catholic relative, at just the time that one of his brothers called Ted, "a devout Catholic." Yeah, if that's what he was, no wonder my relative doesn't want anything to do with the church.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18298703459376168561 just evelyn

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06618318192221168152 Mary333

    Todd's voice is truly unctuous in this piece. Here is what really got to me. When he spoke these words about Kennedy,"It was to give a voice to those who were not heard."Sadly, he failed in giving a voice to the most silent among us: the unborn.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11740482509910163332 Gail F

    HA HA!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14058286668713203201 servingblogger

    Hello: I've been away for a bit defending Queen and Country. And I've been catching up on a couple of weeks of the world according to Father Longenecker et al. And there's a lot.But, I'll stick with the current stuff. Especially the business about the late Ted Kennedy, his death, his funeral, the eulogies etc.Evidently, Ted Kennedy is someone who is esteemed in your country. Your President, and past Presidents, were all at his funeral. The country gave him military honours. They evidently think a lot of him.The Cardinal from Boston was there, I notice, too, and he was given the Catholic rites. So, why all this mean griping about Ted Kennedy from these pages ? Why all the mean spirited and offensive stuff, about someone who may not have been perfect, but the balance of whose life is judged by many in your country to have been good and to the benefit of many ? Even to the official Catholic Church as represented by the Cardinal.I just find it so off putting that people in these pages, who call themselves Christian and probably Catholic, have to be so negative, mean and nasty about TK. Where is your generosity of heart ?Father D's satire stuff is clever, no doubt, but too clever for his own good. It just speaks of someone who has to have a go, bring people down, look for the imperfections that don't fit with his mould.Why not look for the good, the generous, the positive and rejoice in that instead. Surely you could find something of that to write about in a life and a service to country so rich as that of TK ?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12858120820470784593 Anneg

    Servingblogger, Perhaps you are not aware that Sen Kennedy was the Senator from Massachusetts, so the attendance of the Cardinal was completely appropriate, as part of the community there. There are many elements you apparently have not noticed. I will not belabor those points, but only say that Senator Kennedy was notorious and leave it at that. You can look up a balanced perspective of his life if you want. The press has been slobberingly positive, laudatory and has even declared the late senator the saint of liberal, secular causes. That's why the coverage here. There are many things to consider when looking at Kennedy's life. Many are unpleasant, sinful and certainly should not be emulated. Realistic assessment, not ad hominem attacks are appropriate even after one's death, especially if you don't want people to follow flawed examples. Just because somebody is popular in some circles does not mean everyone agrees. We are all praying for his eternal soul, which is the most charitable thing we can do. AnneG in NC

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15634235894433276073 Nan

    Servingblogger, the president and past presidents were there due to Sen. Kennedy's tenure in the Senate and the fact that he happened to be born into a wealthy and notorious family.Ted Kennedy was by no means a devout Catholic, though he played on on C-SPAN. He supported abortion and gay marriage, neither of which follows church tenets.You should google Mary Jo Kopechne if you want to know what Ted is really like.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06839882674758833524 David Lindsay

    I was pleasantly surprised by Ted Kennedy's funeral. I'd expected the Mission Church to be something like the Paulist Center attended by John Kerry. But it wasn't at all.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16141414361291882691 Augustine

    If "Obama's eulogy was the capstone of a funeral Mass that was classically Kennedy", I wonder if the "Mass" in the Kennedy church has something to do with the Catholic Mass, in particular the Latin Rite Mass. :-P

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Christ angrily called the Pharisees "hypocrites", and "whited sepulcres full of dead men's bones," among other not-very-nice things, servingblogger. By your measure, he was mean-spirited, offensive, off-putting. But true Caritas can exist only in Veritates; hypocrisy, however, can exist anywhere–and does. And by your measure, because the President, and past presidents, attended Kennedy's funeral, we should praise him? That's sufficient cause for adoration? My goodness, what cheap love you have. Criticism from some people is preferable to their approval….I know it's a very popular misconception–among some Protestants but particularly among non-Christians–but Christ is not really a cuddly teddy bear.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15634235894433276073 Nan

    Estiel! I'm shocked! That's supposed to be a secret!/sarc off

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14531024393615051496 veritas

    When my father and my mother in law, who know very little about American politics, heard of Kennedy's death and the fuss being made over him, their only comments were: "What about that girl who died at Chappaquiddick? If an ordinary person had done what he did they would not have got away with it."Oh how quickly we forget. For myself, I see a man who actively supported abortion and ignored the Church's marriage laws.

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ romishgraffiti

    I won't tell you how to run your blog Father, but I propose a rule that when one thinks that either the author or the commentors hear are being uncharitable, that they identify who was being uncharitable, provide a quotation of the objectionable thing said and most importantly, at least sketch a reason of why what was said was uncharitable as opposed to merely disliking what was said. These vague, unsubstantiated, ad hominem charges of mean-spiritedness are becoming tiresome.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07932665331766567610 jedesto

    The moment I enter eternity, if I find myself among Ted Kennedy's erstwhile (a)critics, or (b)admirers, [choose a or b], where will I be…?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Romish,I've discovered that most of this stuff comes from people who troll Catholic blogs for just this purpose. It's usually from the Gay/Lesbian/Transexual Task Force (or whatever it is–can't keep acronyms straight–pardon the pun). Seriously. One of my students who is a homosexual radical described such trolling as "an evening's amusement when bored."What's interesting to me is that they know where the Catholic underbelly is: guilt. The worst thing most Catholics can think of is being "uncharitable."This post and these comments are not about homosexuality, so whatshisname must have been really bored….

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ romishgraffiti

    What's interesting to me is that they know where the Catholic underbelly is: guilt. The worst thing most Catholics can think of is being "uncharitable."Aye. Calling someone uncharitable is a serious charge against a Christian and should require serious substantiation and accountablity on the part of the one making the charge. Instead, it is routinely and trivially played like a Christian version of the race card for the purpose of gagging discussion and dousing hard teachings in a freezing, antiseptic bucket of Nicespeak.Scott Waddell

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17456455324663696182 T

    You know, I have often thought what Our Lord had in mind when he noted that the Pharisees were like white washed sepulchres. I note that they all prayed, and floowed the traditions of their times, even extraoridinarily else they would not be elevated to lofty positions. Liek me and the late Ted Kennedy, our actions do mean something as far as others are concerned, and our practicing our religion plays much in our daily approaches. However, I do believe that our Lord had inmind the intentions in our hearts when we all approach the Altar of Forgiveness and Mercy. Our judgment before our Devine Mercy will also include our intentions behind the closed doors of our hearts, and yes, forgiveness and mercy can be witheld from the imposters. Only our Lord, myself and anyone else, like the Late Edward Kennedy know what is on our hearts when we approach the Fountains of Devine Mercy. May his sould rest in peace.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    It is precisely because we cannot know men's hearts that our Lord told us, "By their fruits, ye shall know them."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14058286668713203201 servingblogger

    Oh, another evening of boredom, randomly trolling the Catholic blog sites in order to cause some mischief, ho hum……Listen people, get real. You want to read your own posts and sniff out the vindictive, nasty, unChristian tones that leak through. As well as judgemental, self-righteous comments about people and things.The thing about Ted Kennedy RIP is that you are not his judge. God will be his judge. And unlike you He will be able to put in to balance all of TK's life and actions, the good and the bad. You just want to see the bad.And for all your undiluted Catholicism, I wonder if you are in true step with the Church ? How come TK was given a Christian Catholic funeral with clergy and Cardinal in attendance, if he was so far removed from the Catholic Church and its teachings ? I suspect that the wise and compassionate leadership of the Catholic Church in the US / Boston is closer to the real teachings of Christ and the Gospel than your take on this and most other matters.Oh, and LGT (lesbian gay transgender) comments – really ? When you can't think of any other reason why someone takes a different stance on matters. it's just too easy to dismiss them as LGT caucus.And if I were gay, lesbian or transgendered, why should that be such an awful thing ?Yes, and I do know that this post will unleash a wave of homophobic tirade – all backed up with biblical quotes, no doubt ! You just won't be able to resist.Ah, now that was good mischief, wasn't it ? I wouldn't want to disappoint you all !

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12858120820470784593 Anneg

    Servingblogger, just wondering where you derive your monicher from. AnneG in NC

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ romishgraffiti

    No one has said or even implied that TK should have been denied a Catholic funeral. The reason we don't say that is because we can take on good faith that his ministers recognized sufficient repentance on his part. It is silly to assume that a Catholic funeral represents formal approval by the Church of everything the deceased did.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Servingblogger,There is so much in your comment that it can't all be addressed, but a couple of basic things may extend to the other things:First, Catholic funerals are different from those you may be familiar with. They are, literally, prayers for the dead. Eulogies have no place at a Catholic funeral. Because Protestants don't believe in prayers for the dead, this kind of service is alien to them. The organizers of the Kennedy funeral said they planned "a celebration of his life." This kind of service has become popular in recent years because it offers an alternative for those who are not religious, or not affiliated with a church, synagogue, or mosque. It has, however, eeked its way into religious funerals. Obviously, it has no place at a service which is, exclusively, prayer for the dead. Some Catholics hold separate memorial services of this type while keeping to the Church's teaching for a requiem Mass.Even before the funeral, its organizers were criticized for not holding a private Mass for members of the family, instead of the media event–and sacrilege–that occurred. That very public flaunting of Church teaching would be embarrassing enough, but, given Kennedy's decades of total disregard for the Church's teaching on the sanctity of life and the sacrament of marriage, the priests and cardinals who participated in this event cause pain for Catholics that goes beyond mere embarrassment.Members of the priesthood and Church hierarchy who have a greater concern for public opinion than they have for the Church–even for the safety of the souls who depend on their shepherding–commit a betrayal of trust of such magnitude that only God can deal with them. For us, the flock, all that is left is pain and grief.The post and the comments were expressions of that pain and grief. They were motivated by a love for the Church and a reverence for her teaching authority. I leave it to you to inquire into your own motives for your posts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09546147760294719266 GulagPisatel

    One beautiful thing about death is that it is the great equalizer. The worldly stratification of family name, degrees earned, titles held, hands shaken, etc.—all this detritus—means nothing once that threshold is crossed, it means nothing to God.I can’t guess the ultimate fate of Ted Kennedy’s soul any better than the next guy. But I do know that Christ probably doesn’t put much stock in who signed the guest list or who spoke at the service or what the talking heads have to say about it. After all, not many people cared too much when He died.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00098504849466846551 Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    @servingblogger: Thank you for your service to Queen and country. Sen. Kennedy is known by his friends and his enemies. When you understand who they are, you much better understand him.His friends were socialists, abortion providers, homosexual advocacy activists, and the like. His enemies were those who believe in limited government, fiscal restraint, natural marriage, and the absolute, God-given value and dignity of every human life. Whether one admires him or not, and whether one wishes for others to emulate him, largely depends on one's stand regarding those issues.As has been said elsewhere, we do not judge his soul. But surely we should judge his actions, and say whether they should be emulated or rejected. As for why the Catholic heirarchy behaved as they did — I have read that Kennedy has the canonical right to a funeral. Beyond that, I strongly suspect that the heirarchy in the Archdiocese of Boston cares more for the opinion of the world than they would readily acknowledge. They can claim that they wish to avoid schism (which is in fact a very serious responsibility of all bishops), or that they fear they will be punished by the laity at offertory (which should not be so much of a concern, if they truly trust God to provide, as I think they should), or they may actually share his unChristian views re: sex, family, and under what circumstances we should allow the strong to kill the weak (after all, every member of the Catholic Church's clergy is a sinner).If God loves us, then the infallibility of Catholic doctrine more or less becomes a logical necessity: http://arkanabar.blogspot.com/2007/10/regarding-doctrine.html At that point, congruence with the Catechism of the Catholic Church ( http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_INDEX.HTM ) is what defines closeness to Christ and His teachings, and nothing else.Suffering with same-sex attraction or transgenderism is a trial, and of itself not evil. Giving in to them, particularly in regards to self-mutilation (so-called "gender reassignment surgery) and immoral sexual behavior, is.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00098504849466846551 Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    Much better, and more in-depth analysis on the nature of the Kennedy funeral (particularly the Catholic aspects thereof) have already been posted here: getreligion.org

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ romishgraffiti

    I like Dale Price's 3 cents on TK:Cent number 1: In our house, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is going to be pointed to as the model of how a Catholic public figure should behave.Cent number 2: It's not Ted, it's his hagiographers. First one's free, eh, Ms. Oates?Cent number 3: May God grant him the mercy I beg for myself.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01803809505312769984 Rene’e

    As a Catholic, I am quite surprised by the comments posted here.Granted, Senator Kennedy was not the poster boy of a 'Perfect Catholic' or man, husband,uncle and father in many ways for that matter, but what about forgiveness, what about God's mercy, what about the thief on the cross and most of all what about the Sacrament of Reconciliation?Is there a Catholic here who knows for certain that Senator Kennedy at the very moment of his death died in mortal sin? The Priest at his funeral specifically stated that at the end of his life, the Senators faith overshadowed his politics. Is it possible that Senator Kennedy may have repented of his sins and received the Sacrament of Penance before his death? If…..if he did…then who are we to be his final judge and jury? Are we perfect sinless Catholics? Do we have perfect sinless Catholic friends only? Do we believe we can repent and receive forgiveness for our sins or not? Is it for us to judge the sincerity of a mans confession to his Priest and God?We (Catholics) who feel that Senator Kennedy should be punished and pay consequences for the sins he committed in his life that are known to God and some of the sins which are known to us the public may do well to read the Prodigal Son while focusing our attention to the brother never strayed from his fathers graces.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01803809505312769984 Rene’e

    If I may add just one more thought to clarify my position.I love my Catholic Church, I will staunchly defend my Catholic Church and Faith and I do my best to be a good 'striving for perfect always failing' example of my Catholic Faith.But….as Catholics are we not taught that our eternal life is more important than our earthly life? The Catholic Church is for precisely for people like Senator Kennedy. She is the hospital for the sick and most sinful of the sinners,especially those on deaths door..for it is they who seek to repent of their sins before death who need her the most.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12520325224585096747 Éstiel

    Rene, it's clear that (a) you haven't read all the comments here and/or (b)you haven't read the original post to which they refer (It was satire), or finally (c) you haven't read the remarks on other Catholic blogs.Don't be so quick to condemn your fellow Catholics, unless, of course, you are a saint, in which case your attitude would be one of compassion toward people in pain, rather than criticism of them. You may, of course, be on a mission from God, someone sent to punish other people for what you disapprove of. Can't think of any other good reason…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01803809505312769984 Rene’e
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18298703459376168561 just evelyn

    Renee, nobody is condemning Ted Kennedy. What we're upset about is the spectacle of his funeral. a) That's not what Catholic funerals are supposed to look like, but b)anybody seeing that would be led to think that Kennedy was being honored by the Church, and that his life was therefore one to be emulated by Catholics. The Church is misunderstood enough in this country, and all these highly-visible, pro-abortion Catholics confuse people as to what the Church really stands for.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18298703459376168561 just evelyn

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01803809505312769984 Rene’e

    J. Evelyn,I understand there could be misconceptions of what Catholics truly stand for. It happens everyday.I think of Jesus. Was not Jesus judged by those whom he associated with? Did he care? Where is your Faith? Since when are we (Catholics) supposed to care about others opinions of us when we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, burying our brethren and praying for his soul and comforting his family, regardless of his past sins, whom I am quite certain he repented of. Should we have funeral Masses in secret for all Catholics who were not Saint's or shining examples of the Church as not to cause scandal or possibly lose converts? I am sorry. I do not agree with the shame, and scandal position. I trust God to take care of us and His Church and I know I am personally not worthy to partake in the Eucharist because of my past mortal sins and the people who know of them when I was a non-practicing Catholic, but Catholic none the less, but yet I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and I apologize to the Lord every Sunday and I get in line to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Am I causing scandal to the Catholic Church each Sunday? I do not know. Am I causing scandal right now by confessing of past mortal sins on a public forum? I do not know?But what I do know is that my past, present and future are in the Lord's hands and I pray for His mercy at my death and at my funeral Mass and it was the Holy Catholic Church, a wonderful Priest and her Sacraments who gave me hope for the first time in years.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00098504849466846551 Arkanabar T’verrick Ilarsadin

    Rene'e:Indeed, Jesus did not mind associating with sinners, particularly the repentant. Nor did he mind being associated with them. But He kept his distance from hypocritical people. And the person who says, "I'm a good Catholic" on one hand and "I cannot oppose 'Choice'" on the other, is most certainly a hypocrite.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18298703459376168561 just evelyn

    Rene'e, if Sen. Kennedy had had a regular Catholic funeral, I don't think anyone would take issue. It's that his funeral went waaay outside the rubrics, with the eulogies and the "intercessions," that made it a scandal. Shoot, even a "good" Catholic should not be having that kind of funeral Mass. It was a celebration of Ted Kennedy, when it should have been a celebration of God, and prayers for the senator's soul. All that celebratory stuff belongs at the wake the night before.It looked like the Church was lauding him, and that's not what a funeral Mass is for. I don't know anything about the eternal state of his soul, and it's not my place to judge that, but we can certainly discern that the funeral Mass was greatly misused.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01803809505312769984 Rene’e

    One last thought from me. Yes there very well may be people who will walk away from the Catholic Church because of Senator Kennedy's public funeral, but….there may be a few if not more fallen away Catholics and others who after witnessing the Senators public funeral, may think wow..if they can forgive him of all people, maybe they will take me back too or "I forgot Mass was so beautiful." God has a way of bringing good from the bad, right?Peace to all.

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ romishgraffiti

    God has a way of bringing good from the bad, right?Absolutely. I agree both with this as stated, and with the tacit admission that the TK circus-show was indeed bad.We need to be careful with the God-bringing-good-from-bad meme however. For instance, I recall a discussion in which someone defended contraception on the grounds that if God wants a couple to have a baby, He with His infinite power can overcome any contraceptive method they use. God bringing good from bad in a manner of speaking. It's a bad argument because it is logically identical to saying that I can point a loaded gun at an innocent person's chest, pull the trigger, and if God doesn't want me to kill him, He with His infinite power can cause the gun to jam. Even if He does cause the gun to jam, I'm still guilty of attempted murder. In other words, that God can bring good from bad means that we can salvage. It doesn't justify the bad.


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