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Compiled by Steve Jalsevac

Note: we have included more excerpts than usual from some of these articles given the prominence of the commentators.

Speaking Well of the Dead by Rev. George W. Rutler
On July 29, 1997, a representative philosopher of our abortion culture, retired Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, was lavishly eulogized in St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C….President Clinton, who vetoed the ban on partial-birth abortions, was permitted to announce to all corners of the cathedral for consumption in all corners of the world: “Brennan's America is America at its best.” That is, internecine America is at its best with 39 million fewer children than would have been born were it not for Brennan's eisegesis of the Constitution. Attorney General Janet Reno later said in a speech to the American Bar Association that the honors paid to Brennan in St. Matthew's Cathedral inspired her to go on.

Once in a press conference in which he distanced himself from the angels on significant points of behavior, Senator Edward Kennedy said that St. Thomas More had been “intolerant.”

The Church's rubrics require that anything edifying in the deceased's life be mentioned only as commentary on the Gospel.

Where the idol worshipped by a culture is one's public image, even candor must be sacrificed to it; and when only the self is celebrated, celebrity canonizes itself. If churchmen insist on eulogizing, they might get right to the point by describing what sort of pleasures occupied the dead in their lifetimes. The thought could restrain them from jumping into celebrity graves.

The Brennan funeral followed one in Miami for Mr. Gianni Versace… His priest-eulogist baroquely envisioned the murdered man decorating the wings of angels, and recalled a promise that if he became pope he would have Versace design the cardinals' robes.

John Henry Newman cautiously refers to “the endemic perennial fidget which possesses us about giving scandal; facts are omitted in great histories, or glosses are put upon memorable acts, because they are thought not edifying, whereas of all scandals such omissions, such glosses, are the greatest.”

The Kennedy Funeral: Boston's Latest Scandal by Phil Lawler
A week after the death of Ted Kennedy, the relevant question is not whether the Massachusetts Senator deserved a Catholic funeral, but whether he deserved a ceremony of public acclamation so grand and sweeping that it might, to the untutored observer, have seemed more like an informal canonization.

…the purpose of a Catholic funeral: not to honor the deceased, but to pray for the salvation of his soul. Yet that central purpose was never acknowledged during the long, elaborate ceremony last Saturday in Boston's basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help… at several points during the service, priests and eulogists stated flatly that Ted Kennedy was already in heaven, enjoying the rewards of a virtuous life.

The great, unanswered question hanging over the congregation in Mission Church, and in the minds of the millions who watched the funeral Mass on television, was how the Catholic Church could arrange such a highly public tribute to a man who, over the years, was arguably the most powerful political opponent of the Catholic position on the central moral issue of our time: the battle to protect human life.

…there is no single Catholic position on questions like immigration reform and the minimum wage; these are issues on which loyal Catholics can and do differ. Second, regarding the clear moral issue of abortion, the Pilot (Boston Archdiocese newspaper) story does not forthrightly say that Kennedy's stand was tragically wrong, but only that he “ran into criticism.” Thus the archdiocesan newspaper almost trivialized the problem.

All America saw that the Catholic Church was prepared to honor a politician who flouted clear, direct, and repeated public statements from the hierarchy.

While he preserved his silence on the great unanswered question during the funeral, Cardinal O'Malley did address it in his blog entry. His approach there was revealing: “Given the profound effect of Catholic social teaching on so many of the programs and policies espoused by Senator Kennedy and the millions who benefitted (sic) from them, there is a tragic sense of lost opportunity in his lack of support for the unborn.”

A “lost opportunity?” A “great disappointment?” The cardinal's language suggests that Kennedy's failure lay only in what he failed to do to save the lives of the unborn. In fact, Senator Kennedy never lost any opportunity to advance the cause of unrestricted abortion on demand. He compiled a “perfect” 100% voting record, as judged by the abortion industry. He savaged Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, denouncing the legal scholar especially for his pro-life views. He accepted the “Champion of Choice” award from the National Abortion Rights Action League. During his wake at Boston's Kennedy Library, a woman wearing a “fetal feet” lapel pin was stopped at the door and informed that pro-lifers would not be allowed to view the Senator's casket.

Nor was abortion the only issue on which Senator Kennedy fought against the moral directives of the Church. He was also a stalwart supporter of embryonic stem-cell research. He encouraged the export of contraceptives to needy countries, and their distribution among American teens. He indicated his sympathy for “right to die” legislation that would pave the way for euthanasia. He was a strong advocate for legal recognition of same-sex unions.

By identifying abortion only as “an issue which was important to us,” Cardinal McCarrick managed to convey the impression that this was a pleasant disagreement among friends, rather than a desperate battle to prevent the slaughter of innocent children.

Pope Benedict has avoided any public comment whatsoever on Senator Kennedy's death. Presumably the Pontiff has his reasons for choosing to be silent, and indeed it is not difficult to imagine what those reasons might be. If only the American hierarchy had opted for a similar silence—praying for the soul of Ted Kennedy, certainly, but not extolling his public life—the Church might have avoided another grave public scandal.

Ted Kennedy, Pro-abortion Saint? Maggie Gallagher
Father Mark Hession, Sen. Kennedy's parish priest, delivered a homily at the funeral Mass that epitomizes the problem American Catholic leadership faces today… But Father Hession in his homily took the next disturbing step: He came perilously close to pronouncing Ted Kennedy a saint for his public life… Matthew's gospel, Father Hession reminds us Catholics, lays out “tests for entrance” into heaven… Can you be a good Catholic and vote for and advocate for the legal killing of the unborn? Is advocating for abortion really a pathway to heaven?

Frances Kissling, Former Head of Pro-Abort Catholics For a Free Choice, Mourns the Passing of Abortion Champion Ted Kennedy
“On the right to choose abortion, he was fully pro-choice. He supported the right of women who got their medical care from the government whether they were federal employees, in the military or on Medicaid to the same right of conscience that women with their own money or private insurance have.  And, on every other issue related to reproductive health and rights, he voted for women.”

“Of course, the Kennedys had access to the best theological insights of the times and they used it. I remember the late Giles Milhaven, a former Jesuit priest and theologian who served on the Catholics for Choice board, describing some days in 1970 he spent at the Kennedy compound discussing abortion with members of the family.”

“Ted Kennedy had the good fortune to engage in discourse about abortion and Catholicism before the papacy of John Paul II virtually closed the window on the lively debate that was going on among theologians about abortion.”

How the Church Failed Ted Kennedy (And How Ted Kennedy Failed the Church)
…as Lawler demonstrates in his book, that no bishop or cardinal put down an ultimatum to Kennedy or any other ‘Catholic’ politician: Either stop the public sin and scandal or face the consequences.

The old Catholic Manual of Prayers for the use of the Catholic Laity says one can aid and abet sin in nine ways. No 8 on the list is this: “by silence.” That same manual teaches that one of the seven spiritual works of mercy is to admonish the sinner.” Once upon a time, performing the spiritual works of mercy was considered a duty, especially for Catholic priests and bishops.

Com’on Cardinal O’Malley, We Catholic Sheep Aren’t as Dumb as You Think.
The latest prelate who flunked the test between standing up to a powerful media-centric Irish Democratic family and doing right, issued a statement yesterday trying to justify himself. Like a few other prelates and so-called princes of the Church, Sean Cardinal O’Malley thinks he can bluff us, aided by the pro-abortion Boston Globe which ran his statement approvingly.

Given Ted Kennedy’s long hostility to supporting the cause of life…his support of the horrendous partial birth abortion procedure…and his advocacy of gay rights and embryonic stem cell “research”-and given the precedents the Church is supposed to follow about burying publicly unrepentant heretics-O’Malley, like some other archbishops who seek to justify their pragmatism, issued a statement on his blog full of parsing-parsing-parsing which has become the strategy of choice for evasive clerical apologists when their spines turn to spaghetti when confronted by political power, liberal media and big dough-in the case of the powerful Kennedys all three.

Wisconsin bishop defends Kennedy funeral
Another Catholic leader is coming to the defense of the funeral for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. “The death of Senator Kennedy has called forth at least an apparent rejection of mercy on the part of not a few Catholics.” Morlino expresses “contentment” with the church's handling of the liturgy.

“The proclamation of God’s Mercy was powerful, the prayer for forgiveness of his past sins was clearly offered, and all of this in a subdued way because of his long-standing and public holding of pro-abortion and other stances which have been a scandal in the literal sense.”

“The only aspects of the Funeral Rites which were not low key were those on the guest-list, where family preferences are generally granted…The funeral rites for Senator Kennedy challenge all of us to question ourselves as to whether we are less eager to grant mercy than God Himself is.”

An Open Letter to Cardinal Sean O'Malley On His Attacking Pro-Lifers Who Objected to the Kennedy Funeral by Mary Ann Kreitzer
And so, once again, a highly-placed cleric blames, not those who murder the innocent, work for the destruction of marriage, and endorse sodomy but those who demur when the hierarchy act as enablers. We are the ones presumed to be motivated by “anger and vindictiveness.” We are the ones doing “irreparable damage” to whom the cardinal “impute[s] the worst motives.” Sadly, the cardinal's language is the same used by “pro-choicers” who cannot address the argument so they engage in ad hominem attacks.

I am grieved by Cardinal O'Malley's harsh judgment on the real defenders of life. I pray for Sen. Kennedy who was allowed to go to his grave without uttering one word of public repentance for being a champion of the culture of death. In the end the clergy surrounding him apparently acted, not like John the Baptist calling for reform of life, but like the pharisees tickling his ears

Sen. Kennedy: A Few Words on “Words”
Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center, speaks to this issue, gently reminding us of the utter contempt and mean-spiritedness heaped upon Sen. Helms by the left after his death.

Major homosexual activist reveals Ted Kennedy's crucial role in defeating Marriage Amendment in Massachusetts Legislature