Cardinal Sean takes on those who objected to Kennedy’s Catholic funeral over on his personal blog. Here is an excerpt:
There are those who objected, in some cases vociferously, to the Church’s providing a Catholic funeral for the Senator. In the strongest terms I disagree with that position. At the Senator’s interment on Saturday evening, with his family’s permission, we learned of details of his recent personal correspondence with Pope Benedict XVI. It was very moving to hear the Senator acknowledging his failing to always be a faithful Catholic, and his request for prayers as he faced the end of his life. The Holy Father’s expression of gratitude for the Senator’s pledge of prayer for the Church, his commendation of the Senator and his family to the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and his imparting the Apostolic Blessing, spoke of His Holiness’ role as the Vicar of Christ, the Good Shepherd who leaves none of the flock behind.
At times, even in the Church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the Church. If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness, it will be doomed to marginalization and failure.
It should be so simple. We are lopsidedly describing God for half a century now. Acts 12 has the angel of God not only killing Herod for being silent when the crowd called him “God” but it has the angel leaving his body for worms to eat and that incident of course is post resurrection and post sermon on the mount and commanded by the Trinity which includes Christ…and that death is absent a performance by Yo Yo Ma. Ananias and Saphhira fare a little better in Acts 5 but not much… being absent the worm detail….and being absent praise from the Roman Emperor of the time. The modern Church never talks of those moments even when the homily should at least mention them. Now we have a flotilla of Church leaders who hold out hope for hell being empty which means several of Christ’s sayings on Judas were misleading.
I pray near the ocean daily and for all those in mortal sin, moving toward mortal sin but especially those dying in mortal sin…all workers in the porn trade and all workers in the drug trade especially the peasants who use survival as their reason….because I do not trivialize mortal sin. What bothered many was that Kennedy repented in general terms and if we husbands tried that with our wife and then proceeded in the apology to describe every good thing we did for our wife also….we’d be in trouble…..and she would not have Mr.Ma play the cello for us….hit us with it, yes….play it, no.
The good Cardinal talks of imputing ‘harsh judgments’ on others. Unfortunately, in Ted Kennedy’s case, we have seen his actions.
To be given the honor of a Catholic funeral Mass suggests he was finally repentant yet it still sends the wrong message. Kennedy mocked Catholic teachings in his political support for abortion, even the horror of partial birth abortion. He was a staunch defender, NOT of the faith, but of sinful actions such as homosexuality and destroying embryos for experimentation.
St Ignatius had the zeal of those the Cardinal would chastise.
Clerics who seek the favor of the world have chosen against Christ and will be judged more harshly than any erring politicians.
We laypeople look to all priests as a good example of love of Christ and faithfulness to His Church.
May you draw many souls to Him with your blog!
Though I do not object to Kennedy’s funeral. I do object at the President ad non-Catholic and a pro abortionist to have taken the pulpit. I also object at what his Eminence believes brings “irreparable damage to the communion of the Church.”
I think that a greater damage is brought by those who claim to be in communion with the Catholic Church and yet scandalize the Faith by arguing against what it very “clearly” teaches.
I find “irreparable” the lives that have been lost to the mass murder that is abortion.
In the end Ted Kennedy may have repented, only God knows his heart, however calling I believe that his Eminence’s outrage is rather misplaced on those that would defend Catholic teaching.
Kennedy was a sinner. We are all sinners. Can any of us have a Catholic funeral mass given our status as sinners, if Kennedy cannot ? Where is the mercy taught by Jesus ? How does it diminish the Church extend to Kennedy the sinner that which we would seek for ourselves the sinners ? Whether Kennedy deserves Christ’s mercy is between him and Christ, not us.
Let’s give Mr Kennedy, as a sign of good will and charity, the benefit of the doubt and assume that he did sincerely and contritely gave his confession in his final days. I say we should assume this because despite my own suspicions, I cannot measure the workings of his heart as God can. With this as a given yes in a technical sense the man would be due a proper catholic funeral. I repeat a *Proper^ catholic funeral. He Should have desired a small and humble funeral consisting of family and close friends, not this obnoxiously bombastic affair. Don’t go hiring Placido Domingo and Yo yo ma. pull Obama from the pulpit(A proper Catholic funeral has no place for a eulogy no matter how important you and your friends are) and do not make insult to the prayers of the faithful by turning this moment into an instrument for political grandstanding. The man is a sinner, we are all sinners, but do not parade him around as if he was due for beatification. It cheapens the spiritual reality that this is a moment we dedicate in prayer to him for God’s mercy, many people treat him as if he’s already in heaven. we don’t know that and if we aren’t praying for him now and he’s in purgatory, we are actually performing a discharitable service by not praying for the repose of his soul.
There is the unfortunate example of the German bishops praying for the Fuehrer, of the French bishops praying for Marshal Petain.
No one denies forgiveness to Mr. Kennedy. That is the prerogative of Our Lord. But his career should not honored.
“For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” [Corinthians 1:14]. Our bishops have certainly been making uncertain sounds.
Where is the Dies Irae when you need it the most?
As a Brit, I suppose I don’t get the fuss over Kennedy’s funeral – it was the usual celebrity / stately / patriotic affair that Americans do so well, with the usual mix of mushy sentimentality and pithy soundbites. That’s all it was. I don’t take it as the Church sanctioning anything Kennedy did – the Church simply said you can stage the glitzy affair on Church property. I wouldn’t take it too seriously. After all, if you didn’t like Kennedy, why watch the funeral at all? You can’t expect the Church to have a definitive political line on the Kennedy clan, anymore than the Irish Church authorities should have had one on the funerals of Michael Collins or Eamon DeValera (on opposing sides of the Irish Civil War, yet both Catholic)- in the case of DeValera and Collins the people and the political establishment of the day decided what sort of send off they got. So it was with Kennedy. The famous aren’t like us – they have more kudos.
Well said Paul.
Many thanks Fr Nathan. I’m enjoying looking around the site. I have a feeling this thread will run and run.