By Kathleen Gilbert and Peter Smith

HYANNIS PORT, Massachusetts, August 28, 2009 ( – The public Catholic funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy – whose long career of abortion advocacy helped sever the American Catholic identity from the Church’s pro-life teaching – will be a source of immense scandal, says Human Life International (HLI) president Fr. Tom Euteneuer. In addition, he said, Obama’s scheduled eulogy at the event amounts to a “perfect absolution” whitewashing Kennedy’s opposition to Catholic moral teaching.

A funeral mass has been scheduled for Saturday morning at the Boston Archdiocese’s Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, following the Senator’s death Tuesday night after a battle with brain cancer.

Kennedy is well-known for dissenting from Catholic Church teaching in the latter decades of his public life, advocating unrestricted abortion as well as embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex “marriage.”

“Ted Kennedy’s positions on a variety of issues have been a grave scandal for decades, and to honor this ‘Catholic’ champion of the culture of death with a Catholic funeral is unjust to those who have actually paid the price of fidelity,” said Fr. Euteneuer in a statement Thursday.

He continued, “There was very little about Ted Kennedy’s life that deserves admiration from a spiritual or moral point of view. He was probably the worst example of a Catholic statesman that one can think of. When all is said and done, he has distorted the concept of what it means to be a Catholic in public life more than anyone else in leadership today.”

“It is not enough for Kennedy to have been a ‘great guy behind the scenes’ as we have seen him referred to even by his political opponents.”.

Euteneuer faulted Kennedy for putting “a Catholic rhetorical veneer” on liberal politics that “did nothing to advance true justice as the Church sees it or to advance the peace of Christ in this world.”

“He will not be missed by the unborn who he betrayed time and time again, nor by the rest of us who are laboring to undo the scandalous example of Catholicism that he gave to three generations of Americans.”

Euteneuer told (LSN) in a Thursday interview that the best course of action for the Boston Archdiocese’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley would be “Private funeral, family only – period.”

While O’Malley issued a statement this week praising the senator’s “commitment to public service” and offering his prayers, he has not directly commented on the funeral plans.’s phone and email requests for comment from the Boston Archdiocese were not answered.

Euteneuer noted that “we don’t really know” if Kennedy repented of his public position before death. “So just because he received the sacrament of reconciliation, doesn’t mean he was actually reconciled with the Church and with God,” he said. “We just don’t know that. We hope for it.”

However, said Euteneuer: “We know that Sen. Kennedy did not repent publicly, therefore any kind of public funeral or appearance by public figures like President Obama only reinforces the scandal. It does not do anything to undo the damage that Sen. Kennedy has done.”

Pro-life leaders, including HLI and the American Life League, were dismayed that President Obama is scheduled to deliver a eulogy at Kennedy’s funeral Mass. Obama and Kennedy have been close allies ever since Kennedy threw his weight behind Obama’s presidential campaign – which was recognized as a turning point in Obama’s journey to the White House.

“In a certain sense it is the perfect absolution – to use a sacramental term – of a man whose public life has been a continuous slap in the face of the Catholic Church,” said Euteneuer of the eulogy.

“We were slapped in the face by President Obama at Notre Dame, and now President Obama is going to preside in a certain sense over a Catholic heretic’s funeral and whitewash everything he did which was contrary to the Catholic Church.”

To respectfully contact Cardinal O’Malley with concerns:
phone: 617 782-2544
email: [email protected]

* NOTE: see Effective Communications in Response to LifeSiteNews Reports

Archdiocese of Boston:
phone: 617 254-0100
fax: 617 746-5762

Rev. Ray Collins, pastor
Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
phone: 617 445-2600
fax: 617 445-1857

See related coverage:

The Kennedy Funeral – A Golden Opportunity or Capitulation for the Catholic Church

Pro-Life Leaders: Tell Cardinal O’Malley Not to Honor Pro-Abortion Kennedy with Public Catholic Funeral

FLASHBACK: Catholic Priests and Professors Share Blame for Kennedys’ Pro-Abortion Identity