By John-Henry Westen

BOSTON, September 1, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - EWTN News Director and host of the popular EWTN program 'The World Over,' Raymond Arroyo, has written a compelling commentary on retired Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's part in Saturday's burial of Senator Ted Kennedy.  Arroyo begins by calling McCarrick's reading of portions of Kennedy's letter and a Vatican response a "marvelous bit of political theatre (as so much of Senator Kennedy's funeral was)." 

The renowned EWTN show host, who is seen each week in more than 100 million homes around the globe on the Catholic network, then reflects on McCarrick's controversial history. 

"First of all, it must be recalled that Cardinal McCarrick has a rather unfortunate history involving the delivery of letters, particularly those from a certain Vatican official by the name of Ratzinger," says Arroyo. "In 2004, when the Bishops of the US were anguishing over whether to allow communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion laws, Cardinal McCarrick concealed a letter from his brother bishops. The missive was from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal (now Pope) Joseph Ratzinger. Had the bishops received the letter intended to help guide their debate, things might have gone very differently. The contents of that letter are still relevant, particularly now when dissenting Catholics have made grandiose pronouncements about what it means to be a Catholic in public life."

Arroyo says that he and other faithful Catholics are "not upset about Chappaquiddick or the huge lapses in the Senator's long and storied life," knowing that forgiveness is possible. "The problem here," he said, "is one of public witness and appearances - the corrupting example."

Arroyo's central thesis is that the story of the Kennedy funeral had less to do with Kennedy than with an attempt to falsely portray what it means to be a Catholic and a Catholic politician. "What most in the media and the public fail to recognize is that this entire spectacle - the Catholic funeral trappings and the wall to wall coverage - was only partially about Ted Kennedy," he wrote. "It was truly about cementing the impression, indeed catechizing the faithful, that one can be a Catholic politician, and so long as you claim to care about the poor, you may licitly ignore the cause of life."

Arroyo also had very pointed words about the liberal Catholic "social justice" emphasis in remarks praising Kennedy during the funeral.  He wrote, " The “Common Ground” argument was reinforced this weekend—the notion that supporting a host of “social justice” initiatives somehow cancels out or trumps the “grave”, “intrinsic” evil of abortion and the Catholic commitment to the life issues. As the Pope has described in his letter of 2004, and subsequently, this is an untenable position no matter how many “pro-choice” Catholics on the right or the left attempt to make it."

The renowned and trusted EWTN broadcaster clearly laid the responsibility of this corrupting example not so much with Kennedy as with the prelates who orchestrated the showcase funeral. Said Arroyo: "As a final desperate attempt to stamp the imprimatur of the Pope upon the funereal proceedings, Cardinal McCarrick read what he called the 'Pope's response' to Senator Kennedy. Actually it was a note, very likely from the Secretariat of State. This is the sort of thing any member of laity receives when they send a prayer request or a Christmas card to the Pope. Cardinal McCarrick made it seem as if it had the weight of a new encyclical."

See Arroyo's full commentary on EWTN here.