Comments in the press about Sen. Kennedy’s passing: the abortion issue does surface

From HeadlineBistro with my characteristic treatment of emphases and comments:

Kennedy’s Priest Discusses the Role of Faith in the Senator’s Life and Death

Rev. Patrick Tarrant of Our lady of Victory Church, priest to the Kennedy clan, discussed with the role faith played in the final days and moments of Senator Edward M. “Teddy” Kennedy’s life.

“The truth is,” Fr. Tarrant said, who was called to the compound shortly before Kennedy passed, [Thanks be to God!] “he had expressed to his family that he did want to go. He did want to go to heaven. He did want to die

"I think the whole world knows certain parts very well, but I think there’s another part of his life that very few people know, and that’s his deep faith. His very deep faith in God and his love for his family" Tarrant said.  [We all hope so.]

Recalling how Kennedy, the fierce political crusader, led the family in prayer at the death of his sister Eunice, Fr. Tarrant remarked "He was there and very reverent. I wish the world had known that part of him, but that was his secret. It was like it was the secret of his power, to be involved in doing good for others and it was what, I believe, drove him." [He was a very public figure, famous for his positions precisely because he was Catholic.  Wouldn’t it have been nice to see something more of that reverence in public?  I am glad he revealed it in more private settings.  But faith musn’t be merely private.  This is the dodge used by many Catholic pro-abortion pols: their beliefs are private matters and shouldn’t have any influence on their work as a [FILL IN BLANK].  "I’m personally opposed, but I can’t let that influence my decision on how to vote for [FILL IN BLANK]!"]

Kennedy’s passing has been marked by condolences from friends on both sides of the aisle.

While we didn’t see eye to eye on many political issues through the years, I always respected his steadfast public service," said President George H.W. Bush.

Respect for the man and his service, combined with a disagreement on some critical issues, was a tone struck by many in the Catholic community as well.

"His deep and personal commitment to causes affecting the poor and needy among us flowed from his deep Catholic faith, and the life and outreach of Jesus Christ," said Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles in an interview with CNS, who joined forces with Kennedy on immigration reform.

"Over the years, however, I was never able to bring him to promote fundamental rights for one important group in our society — the unborn.[So, Card. Mahony does not gloss over the issue.  He is willing to speak of it even as he acknowledges the late Senator’s other works.]

And the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano offered a similar assessment: “Edward Kennedy was constantly in the front lines of battles such as those for protection of immigrants, arms control and a minimum wage for the less well-off. But unfortunately he also took positions favorable to abortion.[And, pace America, the Vatican’s newspaper also speaks of the problem of the late Senator’s public pro-abortion dedication.]
His support for stem cell research and gay marriage also put him at odds with Church teaching.

In as much the abortion issue complicates how one views Senator Kennedy’s Catholicism, the issue continues to complicate the passage of the health care legislation he was so adamant in his final months to see passed; and as the crucial 60th vote, his passing puts the future of the bill in question.  [Thus, we must not allow liberals simply gloss over the facts about the late Senator’s career in their frenzy to instrumentalize his passing for political reasons.]

As the Wall St. Journal reports, “Most versions of the Democratic health plan would create subsidies for lower-income people to buy private health insurance. If that insurance includes coverage for abortion, [this is the point!] as many existing private plans do, it effectively means federal taxpayers are subsidizing abortion, critics of the legislation argue. While it gets less attention than some other parts of the plan, abortion has often been raised by critics at town-hall meetings during the August congressional recess.”  [And some people, such as a writer for America, doesn’t want us to mention this subject in the wake of Sen. Kennedy death.]

This debate combines with a controversy of how Senator Kennedy’s seat will be filled. The senator, shortly before his passing, had pushed for a change in Massachusetts law to allow for Governor Patrick to make a temporary appointment, when in fact Democrats had pushed for the opposite policy under Governor Mitt Romney.

As the New York Times reports, “Republicans have attacked Mr. Kennedy’s proposal as flagrantly partisan, [Well…. it was nothing else!~] and indeed, the state’s Democrats are in the awkward position of being asked to reverse their own 2004 vote to keep vacant Senate seats empty until a special election.”

The article continues, “Until that year, Massachusetts law had called for the governor to appoint a temporary replacement if a Senate seat became vacant. But when Senator John Kerry, a Democrat, was running for president in 2004, the Democratically-controlled State Legislature wanted to deny the Republican governor at the time, Mitt Romney, the power to name a successor if Mr. Kerry won. The resulting law requires a special election 145 to 160 days after the vacancy occurs.”

Joseph Kennedy, the senator’s nephew, is already being mentioned as possible successor to the seat held by “Teddy” for so many decades.

Paul Ciarcia, Communications Associate

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Jack Hughes says:

    One question (about the NTY Peice) I have is why on earth do the kennedy’s think they have some special claim on the american political stage? I thought you guys didn’t go in for dynisties? Even (from what I understand) President Bush and his brother worked hard for thier respective pollitical posts, and yet as soon as hillary was booted upwards to Sec State you have Caroline Kennedy touting herself as a NY senetor and now the NTY mentions Joseph Kennedy as possable succssor to his uncle, who if I remember correctly inhereted the seat from his brother.

    Geee Guess it pays to be a highly visible Catholic Apostate *(if they’re not then they put on oscar winning performances)*

    Judging from their exterior lives the only Kennedy’s that were serious about being Catholic were Robert Kennedy and Eunice Kennedy Shriver two members of that family far more deserving of our prayers than thier (at best) womanizing, divorce and re-marrying, dissenting, drinking and in ted’s case murdering brethren.

    Father I’m sorry to have to disagree with you but in a case like Ted speaking ill of the dead is not only justified but mandated so that their example does not lead young impressinable Catholics astray .

  2. TJM says:

    Ted Kennedy should be denied a Catholic burial because of his scandalous pro-abortion position. Otherwise, the Church looks foolish, inept and clearly not serious about their alleged pro-life position. If I were a young, unmarried, pregnant Catholic girl, I would probably have an abortion, if I were so inclined, to avoid the responsibility of rearing a child under those difficult circumstances because my bishops don’t really take the issue seriously enough to excommunicate politicians, like Kennedy, who thumb their nose at the Church when the support abortion “rights”, pardon me, the right to “choose.” I almost have come to believe that many bishops have excommunicated themselves because they have aided and abetted the abortionists by their pusillanimous position on the issue. Tom

  3. ssoldie says:

    If one cannot stand for the right to life, then all other rights are meaningless.

  4. Clinton says:

    Regarding Senator Kennedy and the health care reform bill pending in Congress — there is an amendment, #205, that was added to the
    legislation last month. The amendment erodes conscience exemptions for health care workers who do not wish to make abortion referrals
    or participate in abortions. Essentially the right to a conscience exemption is denied if the health or safety of the mother is at risk. As we
    know from the “health and safety” language surrounding restrictions on late-term abortions (so vaguely defined as to lift all restriction on
    abortion), a vaguely worded amendment such as #205 will effectively deny any conscience exemption for health care workers.

    And the sponsor of amendment #205? Wait for it…

    Sen. Edward Kennedy.

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