“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

August 26, 2009

My Response to Sr. Maureen Fiedler's Comments About Ted Kennedy's Passing

I just posted a response to Sr. Maureen Fiedler's NCR column about Ted Kennedy titled "He Made Me Proud to Be a Catholic"

Hopefully, my comment will be approved by the censo
rs and will show up there soon. Just in case, though, I post it for you here.

Maureen, with all due respect, I can appreciate your nostalgia for the Kennedys, but I cannot understand why you would insist that Senator Edward Kennedy was a "champion of the welfare of 'the least of these'" among us. He was not.

At best, Mr. Kennedy was highly selective as to which of "the least among us" he would deign to defend. Case in point: Abortion. The senator established his record squarely on the extremist position of defending the legality of abortion.

Many are not aware that he was originally publicly pro-life (I comment on the details of his transformation from pro-life to pro-abortion here).

As a result of Ted Kennedy's indefatigable championing of the pro-abortion movement, tens of millions of the "least among us" — unborn girls and boys — were killed through abortion under his senatorial auspices.

Whatever his positive qualities may have been, and no doubt he had some, the tragic reality is that Senator Kennedy's long political career was squandered by his vociferous, relentless promotion of abortion. And that, sadly, will be his enduring legacy.

I agree with you that tears are appropriate upon hearing the news of this man's death, but not for the reasons you are crying them.


  1. It is my firm hope that in his finals days he had a sincere examination of conscience and sacramental confession. It is a true shame that someone who did so much good could also do so much bad.

    May the almighty Lord have mercy on his soul.

  2. Can't help wondering if you're decrying selective with selective. I found his position much more nuanced that you suggest, and much more caring.

  3. There are many issues where I disagreed with Senator Kennedy. Without drifting too far into politics, I saw him as the embodiment of everything that is wrong with Congress today. I found his assault on Robert Bork in the name of infanticide to be most detestable. But I'm stuck on something here. When I pray the Rosary, I close with prayer intentions including the unborn and the souls in purgatory. I have a difficult time including Senator Kennedy here. Am I wrong? What can I learn?

  4. @John: Look at it this way, if he's in purgatory, then God had mercy upon him and saw something worth saving and so should you.

    When you get to Heaven, you will spend eternity with his glorified, purgated soul. You will enjoy his company and he yours and you will both be completely fulfilled in your love of God and each other.

    It's hard to stomach now, I agree, but if you imagine only the best parts about him, he's probably not that bad of a guy (same is true for all of us).

    It is the height of mercy to pray for your enemies that God have mercy upon their souls. Think only of the best parts of him for if he is indeed in purgatory, that is only what will be left in him (the good parts).

  5. John, was Ted Kennedy not a sinner? Can you not then include him, or see that he is included in each Hail Mary?

  6. BRAVO~no other words necessary. As always thank you for defending the Catholic Faith and Catholic teaching
    AKA ZephyrK9

  7. All things are possible with God, and the blood of Christ can wash away the sins of any finite, mortal man, even Ted Kennedy.

    Even so, I doubt he repented, and as such I am not an optimist. I suppose that if I were to meet him in heaven, purgatory for that matter, I would only be able to cry, "Deo Gratias!". If not, I won't be surprised.

    He was given ample time and opportunity for correction. He just stood before the Just Judge, and found the Prosecution to be the greatest legal mind ever created (Lucifer), and thousands of gallons of innocent blood as Exhibit A... oh, and an Oldsmobile.

  8. Bill-

    Right words at the right time. Thanks-

  9. John, the Church has never declared anyone in Hell. Any time we pray for those in Purgatory, we pray for all the dead (except for saints who are in Heaven.)

  10. Well done, Patrick.

    Sheila, care to elaborate on your comment? I ask in all sincerity.

  11. Patrick,
    You doubt he repented?! We don't know that. As Catholics, we have hope that he did repent.

    Seriously, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Let's be charitable.

  12. What are you talking about, Dymphna? I said nothing at all about doubting whether Senator Kennedy repented. I hope and pray that he did.

  13. Well done, Patrick

  14. The Patrick at 7:24 pm said "I doubt he repented", not Patrick Madrid

  15. St. Luciano of Modena, pray for him!

  16. Had I been called to hear Mr. Kennedy's confession, I would have believed it obligatory for me to demand, as a condition of absolution, a public statement explicitly repudiating all the gravely sinful PUBLIC acts--i.e., support for abortion, ESCR, gay marriage, the lies told about Robert Bork and others, etc.

    There is no evidence that Mr. Kennedy confessed any of these public grave sins, no evidence that he repented of them.

    In the absence of any such evidence, it is a grave scandal that Archbishop O'Malley is permitting a Catholic funeral. The funeral for Mr. Kennedy, with eulogy by Barack Obama, will take place Saturday, August 29th at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston.

    Archbishop O'Malley thus does his part in knifing the pro-life movement, indeed, the Catholic Church, in the back.

  17. Patrick--the comment at 7:24 ("Patrick") said, "Even so, I doubt he repented".

    I'm assuming it was not you, though.

  18. No, Dymphna, that is someone else named "Patrick," not me. If you look at the names on the posts, you'll see that mine are always and only under my full name "Patrick Madrid." You aren't the first one to mistakenly attribute that Patrick's comments to me. Suffice to say that I personally would never presume to guess whether any given person did or did not repent before his death. I am certain, though, that in heaven we will be shocked (shocked!) at some of the people we discover there — and many people there will be shocked (shocked!) when they discover us there (God willing, we make it).

  19. This is when the best became the enemy of the good i.e. defending life vs. social programs. So, all those good works might have gone down the drain because of his support for abortion. As Fr. Vince pointed out, there has been no public repentance, so I agree that there should be no Catholic burial as proscribed by canon law. Otherwise, what is the Church saying - it all OK even if you had 70 million people killed. That said,I did offer Mass for him this morning that he might have repented even privately during the last seconds of his life so that he can at least receive God's mercy.

  20. Sorry for the mix up, Patrick. I thought that you usually posted under "Patrick Madrid", but I didn't know how to differentiate "Patrick" from you in my reply. Next time I'll use the post time as well.

  21. Why do the bishops always cave in to these phony catholic (with a small c) politicians. A Catholic funeral not only condones everything he stood for, but says to practicing Catholics, "stuff it". It is not only scandulous,it is sickening. These are the shepherds we are supposed to put our trust in. Give me a break.

  22. Those of you who are following this little story might be interested in reading an opinion piece that appeared in America magazine today, attacking me by name:


  23. You go Pat!!!.... the Holy Spirit has you on FIRE!!! Very proud to call you my Roman Catholic FRIEND!!! oh, and my big brother in Christ.


  24. None of us has any idea what the state of Senator Kennedy's soul was.

    We do know that when we pray the Our Father, we ask to be forgiven as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.

    As many here, I too wish he had been a Pro-Life Lion. I wish he had been a Pro-Marriage Lion. I wish that in the Senate he had done a lot of work that was truly in line with Catholic teaching. I wish and hope (for his sake) that his personal life was been better than we heard it was. I hope he made a good confession and repented before the end came. But ...

    I think it's more important for us to individually forgive Senator Kennedy for the harm he did, and to ask God to have mercy on his soul for the sake of the good he did (and he probably did do some good, even if people don't always agree on what that consisted of), than it is for us to rattle on about how unsatisfactory we find his record as a Catholic.

    If I hope for mercy for myself, I have to also hope for mercy for Senator Kennedy.

  25. Fr Vince - What is your reaction to canonist Edward Peters' article on his blog "In the Light of the Law" regarding a Catholic uneral for Kennedy (A Catholic Funeral for Ted Kennedy?)? Personally, I have sentiments similar to those you expressed. It seems that the HUGE public scandal caused by this man should require some sort of public repentance.

  26. "Selective" as in selecting which of "the least among us" must be used to define the career of one whose work clearly protected many of "the least among us." The more lives a society is taught to value, the more likely it will be to learn to value all.

  27. Sheila Deeth, What did Kennedy ever do to protect anyone? He encouraged dependency and entitlment, encourage dangerous behavior and flagrant sin in homosexuality. He also slandered some very good people, so just what good did he ever do? AnneG in NC

  28. Keep up the good work Mr. Madrid! One of my professors wanted to help his Catechetics and Evangelization course students remember solid Catholic resources so that they were not caught up in bad resources. I distinctly remember that you couldn't really trust the NCReporter and to dismiss it as the NCDistorter...

  29. Whether he repented publicly or privately, whether the Archbishop allows a Catholic funeral or not, and whether Senator Kennedy was in a state of grace or not when he died are all questions and matters that are beyond the knowledge or business of anyone commenting on this weblog.

    What is our business is to individually forgive Senator Kennedy, in our hearts if not in our voices, for the harm that he did.

    This DOES NOT mean saying, "Well, it's ok that he didn't vote Pro-Life, that he supported abortion all the way, that he wasn't Pro-Marriage, that he condoned and authorized homosexual acts."

    It means we are taking the Lord's Prayer seriously: "Forgive us OUR trespasses AS WE FORGIVE those who trespass against us."

    The first of the last seven words of Jesus asked forgiveness for those who crucified him. Aren't these the examples we were given to follow?

  30. The answer is $$$ to all the questions as to "why" Edward Moore Kennedy will be given a Catholic funeral.

    A further answer is that it is conceivable that,knowing that his time was drawing to a close, he made a sincere examination of conscience and confessed his sins, but perhaps too late for a public denunciation of all the deaths his stance on abortion precipitated. Then there's the Mary Jo Kopechne matter.

    As a cradle and fully practicing Catholic, I think we must presume that he confessed and was absolved. It isn't ours to judge the state of Senator Kennedy's soul. But that doesn't mean we have to like him or approve of the Vile President eulogizing him.

    I find it strange that a U.S. Senator who, whatever faults he may have had, was a very hard worker would have such a fondness for another Senator who only occasionally showed up - so busy was he running for the next step up the ladder! But then I don't understand the hypocrisy of public office very well.

  31. Today at dismissal (I am a catechumen) the catechist, who also happens to be our Director of Religious Education, asserted that Kennedy had always been the champion of the poorest and most helpless among us.... Who could be more helpless than an unborn child? That, however, seems to have eluded her.

  32. We cannot presume to judge how the soul of Sen. Kennedy ended up, but because of the public scandal he caused during his life why didn't the Church, without even mentioning anything scandalous, keep his funeral Mass focused on the purpose of praying for his soul and asking for mercy for him and disallowing eulogies singing his praises? Irregardless of who the deceased is, why isn't this SOP for all funerals?

    My father died in May and much could be said in praise of him in a eulogy ( former seminarian who served his country in the Pacific theater in WWII, father of 8, daily communicant who taught religious ed to seniors in high school for years and years, a man who saved the lives of 3 drowning victims during his life, was active in his community, founder of a heart by-pass club and counselor to heart surgery patients, a loving husband who led the family rosary each night and who died immediately after saying "Amen, amen." following our final family rosary said around his death bed). My siblings and I agreed that Dad would not have wanted a eulogy singing his praises, so my brother simply told the packed church that Dad wouldn't have wanted his praises sung in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, Perfection Himself. All were invited to reminisce, and share and hear stories of Dad's life at the luncheon after his burial.

    Would this not have been a much better way to handle Sen Kennedy's funeral? His praises had already been sung at a memorial service the night before and focusing on being in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at the very least might have provoked some thoughts and questions in the minds of those assembled and those watching on television.

    Mary Frances

  33. Thank you Patrick for always standing up for our faith.