Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Response to Cardinal Sean O'Malley's blogpost on Senator Kennedy's Funeral

I have been a big supporter of church hierarchy making use of various media to connect with the people. When Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston started his blog, I thought it was an awesome thing. I have not really offered comments there, until today. His Eminence broke with his usual Friday post, to talk about Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral.

For the record, I understand how upset some people were with the public funeral. However, there are some people - orthodox Catholics among them - who communicate their frustrations with all the tact of a neanderthal.

We all have a right, and sometimes a duty, to communicate to the Sacred Pastors, our concerns. But, those concerns and frustrations must be conveyed with love and respect, ever mindful of the dignity of the person to whom it is directed.

How something is communicated is important. Around the time of his installation, I posted Archbishop Allen Vigneron's "10 Rules for Handling Disagreement Like a Christian". I think it is a good time to revisit those rules. In this case, #1 applies: Rule of Charity: Charity is Primary.

I don't doubt that some people communicated their disapproval of things that took place with the Kennedy funeral in a less than tactful manner, and perhaps even with "vitriol". However, I hope that legitimate points made charitably are not considered vitriol by virtue of the fact that they are being raised.

I did offer my thoughts after reading his full entry. It was made early this morning and is still awaiting moderation as of 5:30pm, while others posted later appear to have been approved. I don't think my comment was uncharitable, and I am glad to have copied it to share here. Hopefully, it will be approved in the Cardinal's combox soon.

You may first want to read Cardinal O'Malley's position: On Senator Kennedy's Funeral

Here is my still unpublished response entered at 7:27am, September 3, 2009. I believe it was charitable, and therefore worthy of being approved by moderators. I have clarified one thing below, bracketed in red:

Your Eminence:

Peace and grace of Jesus Christ be with you!

As a Catholic blogger, and one who spends considerable time reading other Catholic blogs and websites, I did not see the kind of objection you perhaps perceived about Sen. Kennedy having a Catholic funeral. Orthodox Catholics do understand that we do not, and cannot know, the depth and scope of forgiveness he may have sought in his final moments. Therefore, I didn’t really see people objecting to his having a Catholic funeral.

What I did see, and I share this objection, was a public display of the funeral and the manner in which elements of the Mass publicly went against norms – universal – for Catholic funeral Masses.

The funeral should not have been televised, in my humble opinion. It should have been private. By giving it the public show that it had, it not only led people into scandal seemingly justifying that one can promote abortion and gay marriage, and still be a “good Catholic”.

You said, “the Senator’s wake and Catholic funeral were controversial because of the fact that he did not publically support Catholic teaching and advocacy on behalf of the unborn”

This statement lightens reality. It wasn’t that he did not publicly support Catholic teaching and advocate on behalf of the unborn. He worked effectively against Catholic teaching and against the unborn.

I was dismayed not only at how Sen. Kennedy was indeed “canonized” throughout the Mass. Is this common practice in the Archdiocese of Boston? The focus of the funeral Mass was not for the respose of the soul of Sen. Kennedy, but rather a “celebration of his life”.

Some of the intercessions and eulogies were entirely scandalous, including the use of a young boy to plug “health care”, and the subtle dig on homosexuality.
[not really a dig on it, but a plug of it - indirect inferences, so to speak]

Would not the content of those lengthy eulogies have been more appropriate the night before, or at a luncheon afterwards? I was shocked at the vulgarity and unvirtuous references in some of the comments – in the sanctuary no less.

Your Eminence: The Kennedy family, and by extension many politicians, have been led astray by “all sorts of strange teachings” by malformed and disingenous Catholic priests and bishops. When will the scandal end and corrections be made for these things?

The scandal continues. I pray you will work to bring it to an end.

Be assured of my continuing prayers for prudence and holy boldness.

EDIT: Phil Lawler has a great commentary up on this, as well: The Kennedy Funeral - Boston's Latest Scandal

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!


joan said...

You were very charitable and I do agree.

Anonymous said...

Diane, I believe your words to the Cardinal are sincere and measured. They needed to be said. I would add that the Cardinal (and others in his position) also mislead when they encourage our leader(s) to support efforts such as "universal healthcare without abortion". Of course, we do not want to support abortion, but neither should we support socialism/communism which has proven to deny dignity and rights to individuals. Social justice catholics play into the hands of the Apollo Alliance which has three supporting arms: social justice, green movement, and unions, and which is the group pushing marxist agendas in the current administration.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Thanks for your comment, Diane, which is very gracious and forthright.
I found the "canonization" aspect of the funeral troubling.
If it were another issue, like slavery, instead of abortion, I think people's moral compass would be a bit clearer. Unfortunately, it seems that our society has lost a sense of how wrong it is to kill unborn children.

Third Age League said...

Only read your first humble objection, that the mass should not be televised.

My question is how you would possibly plan to pack 1/4 of the city of Boston in the church?

Of course, it needed to be televised.

Either, if God had felt Kennedy to be in mortal sin, he was in sin or not. Either way it is man's only responsibility to forgive, if we harbor judgement. If we forgive,we forgive fully, or we have not forgiven.

If we accept God as the only one capable of judgement, then we must forgive fully, and to forgive fully is certainly not to withold a public funeral for a popular public official like Senator Kennedy.

Sorry, that is as far as I got on your "unpublished" response.

In Christ,

G.M. Knowles

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

My question is how you would possibly plan to pack 1/4 of the city of Boston in the church?

Of course, it needed to be televised.

I respectfully disagree.

The rest of my post explains how the faithful were further scandalized, and by extension, anyone watching it on television.

Anicka said...

Well said, Diane...thanks for posting your response on your blog.

Tim said...

Thanks for your input, Diane. Yes, Teddy didn't simply vote the wrong way, he vigorously promoted the abortion and homosexual agendas. And thus, while leaving his ultimate fate to God alone, I would have denied him a Catholic funeral, just as I would deny it to mafiosi or any other notorious public sinners who had not repented in public. Scandal otherwise, I submit. More to the point, Teddy and his ilk should have been excommunicated a long time ago. Not to hurt them, but to help them as a wake-up call - the charitable anathema, as Deirtrich von Hildebrand termed it. Can you picture members of the clergy and hierarchy speaking about a politician who upheld most the standard left-of-center planks but who also was a public denier of the Holocaust? "Oh, he could have been better on the Holocaust, but he was great on all the other issues." No, I dare say they'd stay far away from that dude. But Teddy was O.K. to be close to, they'd say. It goes along with their seamless garment standard: the leftist policies of the Democrat Party (abortion excepted) are good. Limited government as set out in the Constutution (which politicians swear to uphold) is not good. But, at the risk of sounding too political on a Catholic blog, what if the federal government just played the limited role the Constitution has spelt out for it, and the Church and private citizens play their roles. Sorry, Teddy fans, but I don't think the federal government should be orchestrating health care, education, housing, etc., etc.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

My comment was approved:

I'm going to keep this short and to the point. We owe it to Ted Kennedy to pray for his soul; it's the least we would ask anyone else to do for us. We can hope that he repented of his support of abortion (among other things) at his last confession, but we will never know that, because of the seal of confession.

What we do know with certainty is that he did not publicly recant the positions he held on issues that were not consonant with the Catholic faith. I dare say that it would have been utterly disastrous for the pro-choice movement if he had done so: the "liberal lion" ending up to be a turncoat (although, in honesty, he would be a return-coat, coming back to the pro-life stance he held earlier in life).

Maybe he wanted to publicly recant, but did not get the opportunity to do so. But what causes me sorrow is to know of the "lost opportunity" of his public repudiation of abortion. It makes me second-guess (to my deep sorrow) whether he was truly repentant on the matter, whether he confessed it with true contrition, if he confessed it at all. This, among other things, has resulted in a scandal surrounding the highly-publicized funeral Mass.

Anonymous said...

I think we are seeing the fruits of the "communist inflitration into the Catholic Church" as testified by Bella Dodd before Congress half a century ago.

Henry Edwards said...

Thank you, Diane. In your letter to Cardinal O'Malley. you state more clearly and succinctly -- than has anyone else I've seen -- precisely why Senator Kennedy's televised public funeral constituted a grave public scandal and an offense to Catholic faith, irrespective of his own personal qualification for a Catholic funeral.