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« Bishop Joseph Martino to resign? | Main | Bishop Joseph Martino and Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty resign »

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Comments

bill

This will probably get lost among all the other comments, but I will say it anyway, and have said it before on other sites the last few days.

We all wish Sen. Kennedy had given legislative support to pro-Life and to pro-Marriage efforts. We all wish his personal life had been other than what the press reported it to be. Maybe it's important to remind ourselves that God sometimes permits evil in order for a greater good to happen. It's also important to remember that we may never know what that greater good might be.

We do not know what went on his mind and soul at the moment of death, and what he was thinking or praying. We don't know what he said to his confessor. St. Jean Marie Vianney once said to a woman whose husband committed suicide by jumping off a bridge (she was terrified that her husband's soul was in Hell), "Remember, there is a distance from the bridge to the water," meaning that her husband could have repented of what he had done in that moment of time. There were several weeks between the time Sen. Kennedy wrote to the Pope and his death. He had time.

I can only speak for myself. I have done plenty to offend God, and have many reasons to hope for his mercy. I am not about to judge Sen. Kennedy, out of the fear of God.

About Sen. Kennedy being allowed a public funeral, and the eulogies, and on and on, that's not really the business of anyone commenting here (the Cardinal Archbishop excepted, if he ever comments). Our business as Christians is to forgive Sen. Kennedy for the harm he did, to give thanks to God for the good he did (and he did do some good), and to pray for his soul.

It's the Hour of Mercy as I type this. Seems like a good intention for the Divine Mercy chaplet today.

Ellen

Reading the excerpt, I am reminded of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. We all do well to remember that when we stand in the holy place of God, we should stand at a distance, head bowed, beating our breast and saying, "God, have mercy on me a sinner."

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

I am sorry that Mr. Kennedy had no pastor to tell him that all his "good works," in the sight of Christ, are as filthy rags. And that his heart was deceitful above all things.

Mark Brumley

Nothing that happened at the funeral surprised me.

What the Pastor and the Cardinal should have said, once the judgment was made that Senator Kennedy had a right to a church funeral, is hard for me to figure out. Maybe, in addition to talking about the good things done by Senator Kennedy, they should have mentioned his signs of repentance for the grave evils he did through his political career? Unless of course there were no indications he was repentant for those things. Certainly, there seem to be no such signs in his letter to the Pope.

However, nothing the Pastor or Cardinal did say gave serious indication that there was, from a Catholic perspective, a massive problem with Senator Kennedy's public stance on, and enormous political contribution to, the forty million legal, state-supported acts of killing of innocent unborn children by their mothers, aided and abetted by doctors and others. Nor was there a clear indication of the seriousness of the problem caused by the Senator's public support for experimentation on, and killing of, embryonic human beings. Nor did we hear about the wrongness of the Senator's endorsement of same-sex marriage.

We did hear how the Senator's political work prepared him for his heavenly reward. Really? All of it? None of it posed any problem?

Based on what we did hear and see, it would have been completely reasonable for a viewer to infer that the Senator's stances on these issues were acceptable for a Catholic. Indeed, it would be unreasonable to infer anything else from the proceedings.

Now perhaps an internationally broadcast Catholic funeral for a man, with his grieving family and friends present, is not an appropriate place for the Pastor or the Cardinal to raise the aforementioned issues, including the dead man's repentance (if it happened). If not, then either those issues really aren't as important as they are otherwise touted as being or, if they are that important, then church law ought to be such as not to allow a man with Senator Kennedy's public record to have a church funeral--at least not a public one. It's hard to see how either one or the other must not be the case.

With respect to the Pope's response to Senator Kennedy's letter, I hope the Pope said something privately to Senator Kennedy, for Kennedy's sake. I can understand why that would be handled privately. But what about the public scandal of the apparent ecclesiastical indifference to the Senator's manifestly, objectively gravely sinful actions? Who will address that? Who will address the exploitation of Senator Kennedy's funeral and related matters by those who want to confuse the Church's witness on the Catholic politician's responsibilities regarding the right to life for the unborn and upholding marriage? How about the millions of television viewers and others who read about the funeral who will not unreasonably draw from the funeral proceedings the conclusion that Senator Kennedy's positions on abortion, experimentation on embryonic human beings, and same-sex marriage are, in the end, alright for Catholics to embrace? Do they count?

Mark Brumley

About Sen. Kennedy being allowed a public funeral, and the eulogies, and on and on, that's not really the business of anyone commenting here (the Cardinal Archbishop excepted, if he ever comments).

Of course it is. It was a public event, conducted by public officials of the Catholic Church, according to church law. We can see the effects, for good or evil, of the event on others. We can charitably and thoughtfully discuss the event, the circumstances under which it was conducted, and so on.

Our business as Christians is to forgive Sen. Kennedy for the harm he did, to give thanks to God for the good he did (and he did do some good), and to pray for his soul.

That's part of our business, yes. It is also part of our business to learn from his mistakes, avoid making them ourselves, and help others to avoid making them.

W.

Bill wrote: "Our business as Christians is to forgive Sen. Kennedy for the harm he did, to give thanks to God for the good he did (and he did do some good), and to pray for his soul."

Should we forgive others who do not ask for it?

Should we forgive someone for a crime committed against a third person?

What place do I have to offer forgiveness to person X for his crime or sin against person Y?

Or am I forgiving him for his sin against the Church? Isn't that a priest's job?

Am I forgiving him for his sin against society? Do I have that authority?

Once again, just asking: Is forgiveness the right word here? What forgiveness can I give to someone who did not ask for it, did not seek it (at least in public), and continued to work for things that showed he would keep committing the same act/sin/crime? I am just not sure what authority (or presumption) I have to offer forgiveness in this situation when the person in question did not seek it.

Prayers? Of course. Forgiveness? I am a bit unclear if that is precisely what I am supposed to do. It seems a bit presumptuous. But perhaps I am wrong. I am open to being corrected.

bill bannon

There are iconic signals from leaders that can be totally inadvertent and one of those was when Pope Benedict congradulated Obama on his election and at that, he did so sooner than papally normal regarding presidents...and twice...phone and telegram.
Benedict did not mean such congradulations as a signal that he countenanced abortion but it had the effect on Catholic leaders of throwing off their instincts as to what to do in social situations touching on this issue and touching on public figures who supported abortion. Benedict's prior seeming warmth to Sarkosy, another abortion supporter, likewise threw off the instincts of Catholic leaders who must deal with such high profile people.
The results are things like Nortre Dame and a Mass where any severe themes or words of Christ are suppressed though probably would have been mentioned during a like Mass in all centuries prior to the 20th if the decedent in question had partaken in encouraging the killing of pre borns. But now creating a nice image of Church as loving in the soft sense only predominates and it predominated in Benedict's warmth to Sarkosy and Obama and other Church leaders follow the signals they see or think they see from above them.

Dan Deeny

Sen. Kennedy was led astray at the Hyannis Port conclave. The bishop did nothing, or not enough. And here we are.

David Charkowsky

There are already many good comments here and I feel as if I can add nothing more than emphasis. I feel as if certain elements of the Church were duped into mediating a big lie.

Ted Kennedy's passing became a secular catechesis on the dignity of the human person. You can be a celebrated humanitarian while at the same time working tirelessly for the destruction of the unborn.

Would he have received so many accolades for his care for the "least of these" if he had instead singled out for destruction a particular race instead of a particular age group? Of course not.

bill

W.: About forgiveness. Legislative support for abortion and for same-sex "marriage" injures the Body of Christ. It is perfectly appropriate, not at all presumptuous, and in keeping with what Jesus told us we are to do, to forgive the Senator for the harm he did. Whether he asked for it is beside the point. I don't recall any of those who crucified Christ asking to be forgiven, and yet we have the first of His last words on the cross: Father, forgive them. And we have the words of the prayer Jesus taught us: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us. No qualifiers in either of those statements.

That doesn't mean I'm not disappointed and saddened by the harm that Senator Kennedy did, when he could have done so much more to build up the body of Christ (I am thankful for the good he did do), and it doesn't mean that I'm not disappointed that he never publicly said he was wrong.

We have an opportunity to perform an act of charity by forgiving wrongs, and an act of mercy by offering the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3 pm on any day for Senator Kennedy, and for President Obama, Vice President Biden, Rep. Pelosi, and all the other leaders who continue to injure the Body of Christ. We have had plenty of messages from Jesus and his Mother in recent years, telling us to pray for sinners and to perform acts of mercy and charity. Don't waste this opportunity.

Jack

I also was surprised at the self-congratulatory tone of the letter, and incredulous at his claim to have always respected the fundamental teachings of the Church. That he could say something like that in a letter to the pope is astonishing. He apparently was terribly confused or was so used of thinking of hiimself as a great man, that he convinced himself that abortion did not matter.

It would be nice if America could take a break from the Kennedys for a while.

W.

Bill:

"Whether he asked for it is beside the point. I don't recall any of those who crucified Christ asking to be forgiven, and yet we have the first of His last words on the cross: Father, forgive them. And we have the words of the prayer Jesus taught us: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who trespass against us. No qualifiers in either of those statements."

Perhaps I was not clear. The examples you refer to are where the victim is offering/seeking forgiveness. The situation I meant to question is when a third person is doing the forgiving. It would be something like Jesus remaining quiet or the victim remaining quiet or, more to the original point, the victim has died, and then a third person (not the one directly harmed) is offering the forgiveness.

That is what has always made me uncomfortable when these situations are highlighted in the news. A person is killed. The criminal may ask for forgiveness or may not. And then some pastor or politician or "human rights" advocate comes along and tells the perpetrator through some media interview that he (the one unharmed) forgives the attacker for what he has done to some other person.

That seems to be what many are suggesting with Sen. Kennedy. I don't think I have the authority to forgive someone for hurting some other person. I was not the one wronged, at least primarily so.

As for your other points, I don't really take issue with them: yes, we should pray for them. I do.

Letters to the Philippines

i can help by praying.

missy

Mary Myers

Just as the high priests of Judaism were co-opted by the Romans in order to hold onto their power, so too have many bishops and priests of the Catholic Church been co-opted by the State. Cannot a repeat of 70 A.D. be long off?

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