Ferraro's Funeral – UPDATES!

I’ve had a few emails asking me why I haven’t yet commented about the death of Geraldine Ferraro and fact that she will be laid to rest this Thursday after a funeral Mass.

Frankly, I haven’t thought much about it. She battled blood cancer for over a decade, and it seems to me she bore that cross with a good deal of grace and discretion; many people did not even know she was struggling, and she did not seem to seek out sympathy. That’s an instructive thing to ponder in Lent, at least I think it is. Perhaps the notion that people can disagree on important issues yet still instruct each other in other matters is a lesson in itself.

My feelings about Ferraro’s Catholic funeral are pretty much what they were regarding Ted Kennedy:

He and other Catholic politicians made America dizzy with the oddball notion that one could be “personally opposed” to abortion but too broad-minded to “impose my views on others.” That sounded so reasonable and tolerant that it simplified the abortion debate for people who did not care to consider how nonsensical it was. Being “personally opposed” to the death penalty, would Kennedy have tried not to “impose those views” on states, had he the chance? Had he been “personally opposed” to slavery 150 years ago, would he not certainly have tried to “impose” his views on others?

In terms of perception, Kennedy’s public positions did and do make life difficult for priests and bishops, but scandal is not at issue, here. Catholics find myriad ways to bring scandal to the Bride of Christ, every day. [...]

“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) Ted Kennedy was an imperfect Catholic who—no one can doubt—loved his faith, even as he lived in conflict with much of it. The state of his crown is unknown at present. [. . .]
But the handling, withholding, or polishing of Ted Kennedy’s crown is entirely the province of the Almighty. Our job is to be compassionate, and clear-eyed about the totality of the man, and then kiss it all up to God, in something approximating peace and charity. . .

Ferraro, like Kennedy, has “now stood before the Truth—not the subjective truth, not the relative truth, but the All-in-All, Alpha-and-Omega, Truth— and knows more at this hour than she did, more, indeed than any of us still stepping through this vale of tears. Maybe she simply hopes that the lot of us will henceforth try to serve what is wholly true—without excuses, and without euphemisms—our humanness left sufficiently intact to end a day’s bickering with a bracing single-malt salute amid brothers-in-Christ, our voices joined in a better song.”

I’ve always felt that when it comes down to life-death issues, whether they be debates on capital punishment or end-of-life care, we should, if we must err, err on the side of life.

And with each other, perhaps, if we will err, we should err on the side of mercy. We’ll all need it, in the end.

And, like Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that.

Patrick Madrid has a story
on Catholic Senator Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who says she will “shut down the government before cutting a penny of abortion funding”.

So, I guess, just file this for when she dies.

Little Miss Attila doesn’t fully agree
: I live in California, which feeds, clothes, and cares for Charles Manson. And if it had executed him back when I was a child, I do not think I would be grieving over it.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://www.thomaspringle.com T Pringle

    Well said! If all Catholics were given the scrutiny that Ferraro is receiving, none of us would be given a “Catholic funeral.” All of us are imperfect and inclined towards sin. We must be merciful and compassionate to one another because, as you say, “We’ll all need it, in the end.”

  • http://www.thomaspringle.com T Pringle

    Well said! If all Catholics were given the scrutiny that Ferraro is receiving, none of us would be given a “Catholic funeral.” All of us are imperfect and inclined towards sin. We must be merciful and compassionate to one another because, as you say, “We’ll all need it, in the end.”

  • Katherine

    “If we must err, err on the side of life”

    Too true. There is an element to abortion debate I’ve never really seen illuminated. If God has called forth life, doesn’t it take a tremendous amount of hubris to insert oneself in between that call and say, “No.”


  • DeLynn

    “if we must err, err on the side of life.”
    My husband is an Obstetrician. These are his exact words when speaking of the ethical issues in his field.

  • Lazypadawan

    The fact of the matter is the U.S. church has looked the other way on what powerful, rich Catholics did so long as the money, power, and access kept coming. I’m expected to live under one set of rules while the Kennedys and Pelosis can live under another so long as they give a bundle, involve the church bigwigs in their koffee klatches, make a show of coming to Mass, and promise to bring in more illegal immigrants to pack the pews. The truth is the truth. It’s not waived when you pass another set of welfare state laws “for the poor.”

    I don’t have an issue with Ferraro so much despite her pro-choice stance. I think public officials have much greater responsibility and therefore culpability than your average citizen. Having a wrong opinion is one thing. Creating laws that make it easier for abortion to happen is another. Ditto for accepting PAC dough from NARAL, NOW, Emily’s List, etc., much of which comes from the wealth accumulated by hacking up the unborn. But in her case, she’s been out of public office for years and we don’t know what she has repented for or not. Like you said, in case of doubt, better to err on the side of mercy.

  • jeff

    Is Murkowski for real? is she that married to abortion on demand.

    It’s beyond creepy.

  • francesca

    I agree, Anchoress, that a funeral Mass is not giving public scandal. Funeral Masses do not canonize people or stand in the place of God as judge.

    And I also agree that we should err on the side of life.

    In an earlier era, well-meaning people may not have predicted what would come to pass in this country, and most likely if they had been able to see into the future and the results, they very well might have made different choices. It’s hard to know in hindsight. Some have given prophetic witness, and others did the best they could with what they had. We can disagree with the choices made and of course still say a prayer.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, it’s not really clear what Murkowski’s true beliefs are, beyond spending government money on absolutely everything. No matter how rich the recipients already are, and how quickly it drives the government into the poorhouse.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6SQWADITZPYHKSWSM5ONMDI52I Greta

    No, it is very clear with Lisa. She of course ran on being against abortion, but what she does is what counts and she has acted to support the murder of babies. So not only is she cutting herself off from salvation unless God is amazingly merciful, which I pray for daily, but she also lies to those who support her as well. What this should tell anyone about her is that power is what matters to her and power alone. That puts her in majority territory in Washington which is why the country is in such terrible shape.

  • jeff

    I agree; it’s power. It’s like crack cocaine for people like her. Runs a write-in campaign out of total desperation to hold on to it.

    These CINO politicians should really hope that God doesn’t delegate his judging to the unborn when these people shake off this mortal coil. Wouldn’t that be terrifying.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6SQWADITZPYHKSWSM5ONMDI52I Greta

    I cannot imagine being a democrat abortion supporter who upon dying gets to that place of judgement only to find hundreds of millions of babies at the gate waiting for you by name. They will look around for all those poor kids they believe they have helped but see none waiting for them. At this point they will learn why the Church teaches that abortion ranks over all the idiotic social justice fig leaves they have utilized over time. Jesus will ask only one question. Please give me any reason that you thought was higher in priorty than saving these millions of children. The world should be waiting for an answer. It should be asked in every debate as to how they would answer God and the waiting millions of babies their policy and support have condemned to death. I suspect it is very much like the question that will be asked of those who gave us other holocaust in life. It will be asked of Bishops and priests who did not preach the full teaching of the Catholic Church on birth control and abortion so as to protect the babies God created. It will be the question asked of those democrats who supported slavery and looked the other way as democratic KKK lynched blacks in acts of terror. FDR will have to answer for this as he knew and would not chance losing power by losing democratic votes to save a few blacks from being lynched. He had all that social justice good he was doing for America. Life trumps all. You cannot have liberty or the pursuit of happiness if you are dead which is why it comes first in founding documents.

    Teddy and Ferraro along with all democrats who voted in any way to support abortion as in the healthcare reform will have to answer. According to Church teaching for those not in denial, the same question will be asked of those who voted for these democtrats who knew they supported abortion and the destruction of the family built on one man and one woman in the holy sacrament of marriage. Only if you pass the test, will He question things like the death penalty, big government programs for the poor, or war. So if you got it wrong in this life, there is a huge penalty to pay for eternity that makes one wonder why anyone would take a chance not to err on the side of life.

  • jeff

    That first paragraph had me laughing. Koffee klatches… i love it.

    There are some witty commenters here.

  • http://catholicsoccermom.wordpress.com/ Christine the Soccer Mom

    When Kennedy died, I commented that the time for criticizing him was over. Now, it’s time to pray for his soul. There’s no point in discussing the obvious dissent once he died; there is a point to discussing that there is great Mercy for those who ask for it (and accept if it’s offered). We don’t know the state of either’s soul at the time of death. Criticism is out of place now.

  • Sal

    No reason why you can’t do both. One for the possible future redemption of others like them, one for the soul of that particular person.

    But I agree. If the bishop allows them a Catholic funeral, we have to assume that he knows what he’s doing.

  • Jeff

    No that is not the point at all. This was a public official who aggressively supported abortion on demand. That is worse than supporting slavery. The church has laws on funerals in these particular cases because they can confuse the rest of the faithful Whether the person is a sinner like we all are is not the point.

  • http://www.thomaspringle.com T Pringle

    It is not OUR place to judge her soul…that is God’s job alone. We do not know if Ferraro went to Confession or received last rites before she died, therefore we cannot deny her a Christian funeral because of her public sins. Last time I checked, there was no census taken to see if people receive those sacraments, which were established by God to show his great mercy and compassion. In light of that, would you then say that those sacraments are unimportant or do not pertain to people who publically supported abortion? I pray not.

  • jeff

    I agree with Miss Attila re Manson.

  • doc

    Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as a pro-life Democrat these days. Those who claim to be pro-life are faking it on behalf of the rubes (see Stupak). Remember that Lisa lost the Republican primary and won as an independant. I suspect she finds it liberating not to have to pretend to be pro-life any more.

  • Anonymous

    Just an amazingly beautiful piece of writing!
    Cathy Barber

  • Old Fan

    I wish the Ferraro family the very best.


    However, the lament from the passing is largely a partisan Media drive, which grows really regretful.

    It isn’t a genuine public expression, and the hollow offering is vivid.

    Mrs. Ferraro was a hard core Partisan, and the last two decades, which included unfiltered information sources, revealed the truth – a sad truth.

    I was actually embarrassed by much of the Partisan offerings from Mrs. Ferraro, and remain saddened this will be a major aspect of her legacy.

    It simply was not helpful to Our Nation, to inspire the best for all.

    I don’t know how many of these Partisans live with themselves. Do they sleep well at night?

    It was absolutely welcome to see a woman on a ticket for something so important – and Mrs. Ferraro should be acclaimed for her role in this regard. However, unfortunately, we know the politics of exploitation were primarily involved in her selection.

    Hopefully someday, it won’t be a pure partisan effort, and we shall see the very best of us empowered to such positions, not due to any PC obsession – but the pure quality of the offering.

  • Patrick Sweeney

    Geraldine Ferraro pushed the envelope further that Mario Cuomo did. Cuomo was “personally opposed” but Ferraro claimed that one could be “faithful” to the Catholic Church and at the same time support the legalization of what had been only 12 years earlier a felony, namely abortion. Then Cardinal O’Connor broke ranks with the other bishops, and named Ferraro in his criticism rather than being indefinite about whom he was critical of. This as we political types say was a “game changer” in 1984. The Wikipedia article I updated earlier in the week has some details and footnotes.

  • http://suelangstaff.blogspot.com sue langstaff

    I agree with “Lazy…” about the culpability of the Church.

    The will to power financially and otherwise is well entrenched in the Church as in the political class. The wealthy and powerful are generally not challenged if they keep the coffers full. Yes, this is also true in the question of illegal aliens and the havoc they have wrought on American citizens. Mercy and charity yes, the Church should always act accordingly, but this does not mean that illegals should not be instructed that it is a sin to put innocent people in all types of jeopardy by breaking this nation’s sovereignty laws.

    However, the absolute non-negotiable for Bishops and Church leaders has to be standing up courageously against Catholics who perpetrate the death of unborn children. God names himself “I AM.” Being (life) is the communion of the Trinity. For priests and Bishops to look the other way for worldly enfranchisement strikes at the heart of the divine covenant. It is catastrophic spiritually.

    I did think it was inappropriate at the Kennedy funeral to substitute Ted’s list of political desires, no matter how laudable, to take the place of the “Prayers of the Church” during the Liturgy.

    May God have mercy on us……

  • J

    Being a citizen (or inmate)of MA, I will tell you that for years Kennedy, while campaigning IN MA, told the voters that he was a practicing catholic and implied that his voting and sponsoring of bills was based on his religion. He gave every indication that he did not support abortion and voted against it……until you examined his DC record and found that he was an ardent supporter of abortion. Not many voters looked beyond the mask of campaigning kennedy or researched his true record (and some of his speeches). These politicians are not catholics or christians and it would benefit the church and the world to be called what they are. By its silence, the church colludes with these people.

  • Greta

    Some do not think we should be critical or the dead and some have no issue with her and Teddy having a Catholic mass funeral. Some say we should not judge. I admire those who can so easily dismiss the actions which over decades brought about the killing of over 50 million babies. However, last time I looked, we have massive museums built to remind us of things like slavery as with the Freedom Museum in Cincinnati and all the holocaust museums. These remember a time when there was a holocaust of 6 million Jews. We cannot and should not ever forget those in power who used their votes, funds, and influence to allow the continued holocaust of the slaughtered babies in the womb created by God. Are they not to be considered human as the Nazi claimed the Jews were not human? Do many today want to climb on board and the German people did with Hitler or just look the other way so as to later claim no part? At conception, the full genetic code of that human being is as complete as it will be in any later stage of life. It cannot be anything but human. It is being killed because of its age and location. That location is where God determined that new life had to be the safest place on the planet, in the loving mothers womb.

    So spare me tears or acts of love for someone who fought for the right to murder these children in that place selected by God at creation. She was a member of a party that for over 200 years has been involved in the two greatest moral failures of our country, slavery and abortion. There is no accident that the party of slavery became the party where abortion is now the tool and where a very large disproportion of blacks are now killed in the womb. I do not say they thought this out or planned it for that would make them beyond salvation. I say that when you have that history, you must stand the examination to see what new policies are tied to the old sin. We also see them tied to big government hand outs which to many led to the destruction of the once strong black families. Remember, this same party defended slavery as being the best for the poor black person who was of course not quite human.

    And for those who think we should always move forward with a Catholic mass with honors, I wonder what they would say if the Church held a massive funeral mass with full honors for the priest who had molested the most children. Would they say not to judge or be critical of the church for doing so? Many still scream because a Boston Bishop is now in Rome and in charge of one of the Churches there. When he dies, and gets a massive funeral, will we hear silence or massive protests all over again?

  • Belladonna

    Elizabeth, I enjoy your work. However, I have to say, Gerry Ferraro did more to advance the cause of social justice in our country than have most Roman Catholics, particularly men, who have reached her station in life. I could not care less, as a 49-year Roman Catholic, that she supported reasonable abortion rights. I support them too. I put the wishes of a grown woman before that of a fetus every day of the week, and trust women to make that wrenching about their bodies. Otherwise, the true equality for all that Jesus advocated is a pipedream. Thanks for your good work.

  • Doc

    Should women be pressured into abortions against their will or better judgement? Should a woman be made to view an ultrasound of her child before she kills it off? What exactly constitutes reasonable abortion rights? Please don’t speak of Jesus while advocating the slaughter of the most innocent possible.