In the lefty Jesuit weekly, something called America, there is a strong attack on, well, pretty much anyone who didn’t think that late Sen. Kennedy was just the bees knees. Singled out for a pouring of the choicest liberal acid is our friend Patrick Madrid.
Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments.
The Boors Who Demean Ted Kennedy
Posted at: 2009-08-27 08:18:22.0
Author: [Someone named…] Michael Sean Winters
My father is a very calm, imperturbable man. We speak just about every morning and his voice only rises when reporting that the Red Sox lost to the Yankees. [A man after my own heart.] He rarely calls in the evening but he did so last night. He had gone to Mass at St. Joseph’s Living Center, in Windham, Connecticut, the nursing home where my mother died two years ago and where his sister is a patient. The deacon preached the homily and, according to my father, had spoken ill of Sen. Ted Kennedy because he was not pro-life. [Just to be clear, for a prominent Catholic figure, not being pro-life is a serious matter, right? Let’s go on.]
The news report of Kennedy’s death at the Catholic News Agency included this qualifying phrase: "though he worked hard for the poor" and mentioned his "dedication to education." The article managed four sentences on Chappaquiddick and an extensive account of his pro-choice voting record. (It also misspelled, three times, the name of Washington’s archbishop who is the Most. Rev. Donald Wuerl, not Donald Wurel.) The Catholic News Agency, alas, is not really a news agency like Catholic News Service. It is an ideological rant pretending to be a news agency. [CNS isn’t also ideologically bent? BTW… an organization can’t be "a rant".]
Someone named Patrick Madrid, [Excuse me, but if you are pretending to be a Catholic writer, you at least should know who Patrick Madrid is, even if you don’t chose to follow any of his work. Winter’s comment reveals the sort of blinkers worn most liberals: they have a visor only on the right side. Only their own kind are worthy of notice.] who runs a blog and is involved with something called the Envoy Institute at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina, decided to attack my colleague at NCR Sister Maureen Fiedler for her post remembering the late Senator. "Maureen, with all due respect," he begins, words that reek of condescension. [Why assume Madrid didn’t mean that?] He writes: "Whatever his positive qualities may have been, and no doubt he had some, the tragic reality is that Senator Kennedy’s long political career was squandered by his vociferous, relentless promotion of abortion. [Well.. that is true. Isn’t it?] And that, sadly, will be his enduring legacy. I agree with you that tears are appropriate upon hearing the news of this man’s death, but not for the reasons you are crying them." I have my moments of hubris but it has never occurred to me to tell another soul why and why not to cry, still less in a blog post. [Ironic, this falling on the feast of St. Monica… but I digress.]
Who are these people? [As I said before. Liberals think that only their own kind, their own views are worthy of notice. Everyone else is just a kook, the fringe.] To what level of boorishness have the spokespeople for the pro-life community descended? [If he asks this question, is he saying that he does not belong to the pro-life community?] And, it is any wonder we ["we"?] keep losing the political fight for life when some of our own exercise such obvious, callous, inhumane indecency as to ignore a lifetime of good works, [ummm… those good things can be recognized, but does that mean we turn a blind… or blinkered eye… from the harm that he caused for decades on the issue of life itself, at a national level?] render judgment not just on a man’s ideas but on his soul, and to speak ill of the dead when the body is still warm. [Wait a moment. I don’t think that Patrick Madrid said anything about the state of the late Senator’s soul, which we simply cannot know. He said that to cry over him was not appropriate. Or did I miss something? Madrid wrote: "I agree with you that tears are appropriate upon hearing the news of this man’s death, but not for the reasons you are crying them."] It is shameful. And, [Now comes the true aim of this philippic. It looks like he wants the American bishops to be silent about pro-abortion Catholic politicians.] I hope the bishops recognize that it is counter-productive to the pro-life goals we should share. Hatefulness is not attractive or persuasive. [And criticism is "hateful".]
To say that Sen. Kennedy was flawed is to say that he was a human being. [Okay… Errare est humanum. But what, Mr. Winters, is the rest of that quote? "…sed perseverare est diabolicum". Sen. Kennedy persisted in his error, and his publicly scandalous support of abortion, despite the clear teaching of the Church in which he professed membership.] 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: [Huh? Did Catholics not know that abortion was evil in the 70’s? The Second Vatican Council’s Gaudium et spes reinterated that fact in the strongest language. Paul VI had issued Humanae vitae. Perhaps the only people for whom this was "complicated" were the likes of the late Fr. Robert Drinan, SJ, and others who provided the arguments pro-abortion Catholics would lean on so as to dodge the truth of Catholic teaching in their public actions.] I think Kennedy got it wrong [Thank heavens for that!] but I do not find it difficult to understand why and how he got it wrong. [Really?] If the pro-life leaders would stop ranting for a second and study that history [Liberals think conservatives are stupid. Only they have the true and clear perspective.] they might become more effective at advancing their cause. Besides, Ted Kennedy got many more things right than he got wrong. [Riiiight. That one thing outweighs the others. People can freely and with good conscience disagree and argue about the best ways to help the poor, improve public health, intervene in foreign lands, spend tax money, etc. The sanctity of life from conception is not one of those things which Catholics may set aside.]
Yesterday, watching the news shows, it was especially moving to see Kennedy’s political foes, conservatives like Sen. Orrin Hatch, come on and praise their former colleague. Kennedy maintained such friendships, which had their political usefulness, because of his heartfelt, contagious, infectious Catholic humanity, because he did not keep score, because he was quick to forgive, because he did not take himself too seriously, and because he saw that the promise of American democracy was greater than its failures. [All admirable qualities.] These loudmouths from the right should study his behavior and emulate, not castigate him. As I watched Sen. Hatch recall his memories of Ted Kennedy, I cried. I suppose Mr. Patrick Madrid will tell me I cried for the wrong reason. I don’t think so.
There is an old adage: de mortuis niihil nisi bonum.
I subscribe to this. I will not make any firm judgment about the state of the late Senator’s soul. In the course of a career of decades in the Senate, Edward Kennedy unquestionably made his positive contributions. But as his mortal remains are laid to rest, we cannot simply ignore what was a keystone of his political life: Senator Kennedy was a famous defender of abortion rights, more famous for his stance precisely because he was Catholic.
Sen. Kennedy will be exalted by Catholic liberals precisely because he was a liberal. May will lionize him because he was a Democrat. All of them will seek to diminish his record on abortion.
What the writer of this piece did, however, is use this opportunity to argue that the bishops should not speak out forcefully or act in the case of pro-abortion politicians. "I hope the bishops recognize that it is counter-productive to the pro-life goals we should share."
This is why we must not allow the left simply to set aside Sen. Kennedy’s pro-abortion record even as we readily acknowledge his achievements and, in charity, pray for the repose of his soul and God’s forgiveness for his failings.