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Honoring Kennedy: Eulogies or Campaign Speeches?

He stated his belief in “a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field” while, in his life, he did nothing to limit abortions and he opposed all efforts to limit the expenditure of public funds for such procedures. No mention was made of his abrupt change from a pro-life position early in his career to a forthrightly pro-choice position as he tested the political winds. One could well ask how these positions could ever comport with the forthright positions of the Catholic Church, but, of course, how does one debate with or correct the departed?

Certainly this letter was intended to be published and used for family advancement and forthright political purposes. It can be no accident that the senator used a letter to the pope to express his support for the president’s health care legislation, which is the hottest political issue of the day.

The pope, to his credit, did not take the bait and responded with “concern” and an expression of “spiritual closeness.” He offered his blessing to the senator.

Rumors abound to the effect that a member of the Kennedy family may very well be appointed to the empty Senate seat. This on the heels of a breathtaking move, initiated by Senator Kennedy before his death, to amend Massachusetts state law so as to permit the (now Democratic) governor to appoint a replacement rather than to have the seat filled by an election as current law provides. The current law was, of course, created when it appeared that Senator Kerry might be successful in his presidential bid and the then-governor of Massachusetts was a Republican. The mind boggles at the audacity of these people.

I believe that most Americans were fully prepared to join in the grieving that accompanies the loss of a national figure, as Senator Kennedy surely was. By politicizing the ritual surrounding his burial, the family demonstrated a social crassness and disregard for those who were prepared to let past disagreements lie fallow. To use the current parlance, “it’s all about them.” His memory has now been unnecessarily tarnished.

The Kennedy family simply has no shame and Cardinal McCarrick has, at a minimum, a tin ear for the consequences of being a pawn in this blatantly political event. It should have been labeled a “Paid Political Prayer.”

For my money, the sooner the Kennedy family and their ilk depart the public scene the better.

For eternity, however, may Senator Kennedy rest in peace.