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Here is my still unpublished response entered at 7:27am, September 3, 2009.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

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