Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In The End We Must All Answer For Our Deeds - Edward Kennedy - Dead at 77

Senator Edward Kennedy is dead. The liberal ‘lion’ of the U.S. Senate for more than 46 years passed away tonight from a brain tumor in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. He was 77. The news accounts will document Kennedy’s rise to power in the Senate following the assassination of his brothers, John and Robert, in the 1960s, his legacy as a stalwart crusader of liberal causes, and the world will offer its sympathies for a man whose life seemed at times to be drawn from Shakespearean tragedies.

For my part, I offer a prayer of hope that God may have mercy on his soul for a life that failed to embrace the greatness that might have been.

Ted Kennedy carried the cross of being a Kennedy and living with the ghosts of three brothers who died in the service of their country. His father failed to provide him with the example of what a good man should do when called to serve the greatness of a cause greater than himself, yet I am sure that each Kennedy son in his own way sought to live in a manner that would please that man whose shadow stretched across each of their lives. In that we can only hope that the influence for the good will survive.

His sister Eunice Shriver, always the pro-life spokesman, could not get her brother to return to the pro-life home that his dear mother Rose nurtured. No, the siren call of political expediency and the viperous tongue of one Fr. Robert Drinan were sufficient for Ted Kennedy to break the hearts of his dear sister and mother. Yet such a knife to the heart was not to occur in the early days. As late as 1971 Senator Kennedy embraced an ethic of life. In a letter to a constituent, dated August 3, 1971 Kennedy wrote:
"While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized -- the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grown old.
"I share the confidence of those who feel that America is working to care for its unwanted as well as wanted children, protecting particularly those who cannot protect themselves. I also share the opinions of those who do not accept abortion as a response to our society's problems -- an inadequate welfare system, unsatisfactory job training programs, and insufficient financial support for all its citizens.
"When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception."

A more passionate and well reasoned response could not have been written by the most vigorous foe to abortion. Yet the character of the man would fail once again as the Democratic leadership in 1972 and later throughout the 1970s began to attack pro-life democrats and excise them from the party.
It is here that Kennedy’s failure to stand up for the truth was never more evident. Perhaps his failure to act was due to personal faults not known to the general public. Perhaps he sought to equivocate and to rid himself of such a mantle of moral responsibility. Perhaps private events marked a transformation. But somewhere in those years, he jettisoned the hero’s cloak and adapted to the relevancy of the political moment. He became the excuse for so many politicians to abandon a pro-life defense and enter the bowels of the pro-abortion labyrinth.

The scandal was not Kennedy’s alone. The failure of the Roman Catholic Church to boldly act upon his treachery reflected a weakness that would only be revealed in later years. The failure of the Irish-American community to denounce the betrayal of such deep seeded values also exposed feet of clay. This dance of convenience between the politics and the faith in Boston has done more to harm the Church and her reputation than all the scandals combined.

So for the next 36 years Edward Kennedy became the person thrown in the faces of Catholics who argued that being pro-life was essential to living the life of a practicing Catholic. After all, the Church did nothing to Ted Kennedy. So how essential to the faith is one’s position, they replied.

Meanwhile Kennedy became bolder and bolder in expressing his pro-abortion or pro-choice, as some would say, position. He ruthlessly attacked Robert Bork during his confirmation hearings and was probably responsible for Bork’s defeat. He voted against all pro-life legislation and opposed pro-life judges. His position on abortion was that of an abortion apologist.

I will not speak to the Chappaquiddick incident, the William Smith event or his long term problems with alcohol. Each of these nightmares would demand the prayers of anyone who cared about the weakness and failings of one’s fellow man.

No, it was the calculated move away from a position he knew to be right to embrace the darkness of death that spurs my prayers. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?

So tonight I say a prayer for his soul. I pray God that he repented of the evil he had done in his life, that he sought the tender mercies of a loving God in the sacraments that He gave to us, and that those who survive will not revel in his errors but would learn the critical lessons from a life that offered much promise and sadly delivered none but shame.


At 11:50 AM, Anonymous John K. Walker said...


Your summary was very well worded, accurate, reasoned, compassionate, and balanced. And of course, the late Senator was only the most prominent of the HUNDREDS of pro-abortion "Catholic" officeholders in the US. (Europe and the rest of what was formerly considered "Christendom" is even farther gone in this respect.) And it really is the de facto corruption, conflicts-of-interest, and cowardice of the hierarchy that lies at the root of this nightmare.

One additional historical point: You rightly highlight Drinan's poisonous influence in this area, which goes back at least to an infamous "conference" held by this Cambridge group in the late
1960's as to how to supposedly reconcile "Catholic teaching" with the then-burgeoning abortion liberalization movement in this pluralistic democracy. (Of course, the pertinent, and irreconcilable, HUMAN RIGHTS conflict is between the lethal nature of abortion and the requirement that a civilized society protect its citizenry from arbitrary extermination.) But, sadly, I must also mention that the only Kennedy that I otherwise particularly admire, Robert, as US Senator from New York, also contributed to this carnage, pushing members of the New York State Assembly to support the same legalization bill in 1967-1968 that, when it eventually passed two years after RFK's assassination, provided the final pre-ROE legal opening to the abortion industry (such as Dr. Nathanson's "clinic"), resulting both in hundreds of thousands of babies executed between 1970 and 1973, AND the essentially infinite financial wherewithal to dishonestly propagandize their way to the achieved goal of absolute impunity for infanticide (as Dr. Nathanson eventually revealed).

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous John K. Walker said...

Since this post I have watched this stunning video (courtesy of the great Jill Stanek) containing footage of the, clearly, pre-sellout Robert Drinan, providing an absolutely fervent PRO-LIFE defense of the consistent positions of the Catholic Church, of America's Protestant founders, and of all historical Judeo-Christian moral thinking in opposition to abortion!

This documentary contains all of the (by now) expected pro-abortion evasions and euphemisms from the "journalists" as well as from the arrogant social engineers and eugenicists, but is still must-see for everyone with a conscience. But everyone should understand that, despite no attribution, much less genuine evidence, being given as to its ludicrously inflated statistics covering of the occurrence of illegal abortion at that time, staunchly pro-life author and historian Marvin Olasky has convincingly established that this form of infanticide was indeed very commonly practiced in America during the century-and-a-half it was illegal. Which, of course, leaves us the lesson of the necessity of changing the culture, as well as the law, in respecting and protecting the inherent right to life of all our brothers and sisters.


At 1:07 AM, Anonymous John K. Walker said...

Although I have no intention of either buying the Senator's posthumously publshed autobiography or reading all of it, recently I did briefly skim the pages referenced by "abortion" in the index. SURPRISE(!), he did not evince even the slightest regret at his advocacy for legalzed infanticide, his many thoroughly unethical means of pursuing this murderous destruction, or even an admission (much less any explanation or justification) for his disgusting conversion from the original pro-life position you quote.

And speaking only personally, I have pretty much had it with the Catholic Church's tacit acceptance of this sort of de facto war crime. As you have blogged, the USCCB is "clueless" enough, but the Pope himself should have either refused to even comment on the dying Senator's obscene note (delivered by Obama) about always doing his best "to be a good Catholic," or publicly released a response that, while extending Christian forgiveness, if so desired, for the Senator's monstrous political actions (which, of course, Kennedy's note did not express), also made clear that supporting legal abortion-on-demand is no more acceptable to "The Church" than would be attempting to assassinate the Pope himself (as Canon law properly equates these two actions)! Though I am certain this was not the intention, the actual response from Benedict XVI in effect ignored the countless millions of souls who have perished as the result of Mr. Kennedy's public career in favor of words of comfort for the Senator's own.

Or else, the "universal Roman Catholic Church" should declare itself "pro-choice," perhaps discouraging "pregnancy termination" as "birth control," but abandoning any claim to legally protecting the lives of pre-birth children. Fundamental logic requires picking one route or the other.


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