One Kennedy Legacy; Tribal Warfare

As my Auntie Lillie would sing when the tribe got started, “O, the Catholics are a-fighting, alive, alive O, alive, alive O”

I always took her to mean that while the Catholics might be fighting among themselves (describes the family, of course) it meant they were still alive.

I don’t know what Auntie Lillie actually meant by it, but that’s my take. I bring it up thinking you might be interested in reading about the donnybrook taking place in the Catholic intertubes, concerning -what else- the death and funeral of Ted Kennedy. And of course, yer girl barges into it:

Since no one has yet declared this a private fight with Marquis of Queensbury rules, it is difficult to resist joining in the fray. Here is [America Magazine’s Michael Sean] Winters, again:

To say that Sen. Kennedy was flawed is to say that he was a human being. To dismiss his 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.

Winters, do tell. What is your take on the difficulties of the 1970’s and how they “understandably” influenced Kennedy, albeit wrongly? I ask in good faith because—although I come from a Kennedy-loving, blue-collar, Democrat family—I never thought of Kennedy’s stance on abortion (or Mario Cuomo’s for that matter) as anything but a political expediency; abortion created political difficulties, so our political class learned to do an intellectual (and cowardly) dance around a moral absolute. Spinning like rhetorical James Browns, Kennedy and Cuomo and others defined death down, in a manner that directly impacts our current debates on healthcare, “aid-in-dying,” rationing, embryonic destruction, and all life issues.

With all due respect to Winters, it appears his sentimentality is being allowed to overrule simple truth, here; we Catholics, having been warned about the “dictatorship of relativism” by a bishop of Rome, have a responsibility to make sure we are serving the truth even as we endeavor—as we absolutely must for the sake of Christ—to serve compassion.

You can read the whole thing, here

I’d submitted the essay before reading Ross Douthat’s excellent piece on Ted Kennedy and Eunice Shriver, or I’d have worked it in, although I don’t know if Douthat would have wanted to be dragged into the fray.

Really, it’s getting so hot that Deacon Greg has closed on the topic with very wise words and is done writing about Kennedy, because he doesn’t like mayhem on his site. Nor do I, actually, but I’ve always been foolish about what doors I open.

Mark Shea is also saying he’s done writing on Kennedy

Deal Hudson and Dave Gibson are taking a larger view, by considering the Kennedy funeral and Bishop Martino’s resignation. They see not just battle but out-and-out war. So do Kathryn Jean Lopez and Bookworm, who isn’t actually Catholic but seems like a girl who likes a good fight.

Meanwhile, in unrelated news, a Vietnamese blogger has been arrested for challenging media distortions of the Pope’s speech. Vietnamese Catholics have been under siege for a while, and that tiny put-upon country is getting less focus than it deserves. Pray for them, they’re fighting for both the faith and their lives.

Ted Kennedy, Healthcare and Purgatory

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