Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Pope and Kennedy

What does American pseudo-royalty do when the Pope shuns them in death? Arrange to have a letter read that was sent to the Pope asking for a blessing and delivered by President Obama, of course:
Shortly before his death, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI asking for the pontiff to pray for him as he struggled with an aggressive form of brain cancer, it was revealed at his graveside service Saturday evening.
This is largely a Catholic thing and one which I've no desire to engage, but the perception to outsiders does seem kind of tacky and arrogant, as if the Pope is supposed to bless rich politicians who support abortion, and if he doesn't he's fair game to be publicly embarrassed by the publishing of the letter he apparently ignored. Maybe it's not as bad as having grandkids shilling for government-run universal health care to religious chants of "Lord hear our prayer" in a final intercession, but darn close.

MORE 8/29/09

Well, as soon as that hit the press this came out, apparently unknown to even CNN. In it we get more of the letter, and a response, which kind of makes the Time story above kind of erroneous. First, a snippet of the letter, with emphasis added to make a point:
I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path. I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war.

"Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator. I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."
Sounds a bit political for a heart-felt letter to the Holy Pontiff asking for a blessing. Time said there was no reply, but apparently there was, and here it is according to Cardinal McCarrick:
"The Holy Father has the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness. He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of our universal church.

"His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the Risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life.

"Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord."
That's good, because the Pope should be a man of forgiveness. But it's strange they held it back and let several media outlets report stuff like this:
Back at headquarters, however, there is little room for nuance. "Here in Rome Ted Kennedy is nobody. He's a legend with his own constituency," says the Vatican official. "If he had influence in the past it was only with the Archdiocese of Boston and that eventually disappeared too."
Just what in tarnation is going on!?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kennedy'd funeral was a very catholic expensive one. I wont be surprise if the Pope hasn't charged Kennedy a fee for his prayer.

PALIN4EVER said...

Are you one of those idiots who thinks that this is a debate about "government run healthcare"?

Do you not realize that we're talking about a government run insurance plan?

Anonymous said...

Kennedy was divorced, involved in the death of a young female aide who many believe would have lived had he called medical professionals in a timely manner, instead he reported the accident several hours later after, it appears, that he ran home to meet with his lawyers in order to protect his assets and political career. He and his second wife protected his nephew from rape charges, a man who was accused several times of beating up and sexually assaulting several other women. I think that it was wise for the Pope to stay out of this.

A.C. McCloud said...

Are you one of those idiots who thinks that this is a debate about "government run healthcare"?

Assuming you are talking to me and not anonymous... no, I am not 'one of those idiots', although it's not overly clear how you define that term.

Sure, the debate has been framed as insurance reform but as long as there's a government-run public option in the mix it's government health care.

Debbie said...

What the Pope really said:

"Teddy, confess your sins and ask for forgiveness before it's too late!"

Deborah F. Hamilton
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

A.C. McCloud said...

It appears the pope gave the most generic blessing possible based on the situation.

I wonder if this was reversed and some iconic GOP Senator had a letter read to Billy Graham at his funeral pointing out his long support for prayer in schools and opposition to abortion would the left not react. Surely they would.

Al W. said...

Unfortunatley Kennedys death will be used by the Democrates to promote their healthcare reform that this country can ill afford. Perhaps the Pope can say a prayer for the American people that this and man other liberal programs will not drive all of us into banlruptcy as well as preserve the American freedoms as set down in the Constituion which is seems the Democrats want to usurp