Eunice Shriver - One of the Last Pro-Life Kennedys and Founder of Special Olympics - Passes Away [UPDATED]
Eunice Kennedy Shriver has died at the age of 88:
HYANNIS, Mass. — President John F. Kennedy's sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who carried on the family's public service tradition by founding the Special Olympics and championing the rights of the mentally disabled, died Tuesday morning, her family said in a statement. She was 88.Resquiescat in pace.
Shriver had suffered a series of strokes in recent years and died at 2 a.m. at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. The hospital is near the Kennedy family compound, where her sole surviving brother, Sen. Edward Kennedy, has been battling a brain tumor.
As celebrity, social worker and activist, Shriver was credited with transforming America's view of the mentally disabled from institutionalized patients to friends, neighbors and athletes. Her efforts were inspired in part by the struggles of her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary.
Peter Collier, author of "The Kennedys, an American Drama," called Eunice Shriver the "moral force" of the Kennedy family.
From Mrs. Shriver's Wikipedia entry:
... During the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign of Bill Clinton, she was one of several prominent Democrats including Governor Robert P. Casey of Pennsylvania, Bishop Austin Vaughan of New York, who signed a letter to The New York Times, protesting the Democratic Party's pro-choice plank in its platform.A tribute to the pro-life record of this truly wonderful woman:
She and her husband were opponents of abortion, and she was a supporter of Feminists for Life of America, the Susan B. Anthony List, and Democrats for Life of America...
It was announced this morning that Eunice Kennedy Shriver has died at the age of 88. She was the sister of Ted Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy and the mother of Maria Shriver. The link to CNN's webpage has more about her life as the founder, along with her husband Sargeant Shriver, of Special Olympics but what they fail to note were her pro-life convictions. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was unapologetically pro-life and I had the honor of just being in the same room with her on several occasions at the National Right to Life Proudly Pro-Life Awards Dinner held in New York City. I can't honestly say that I met Mrs. Shriver, I believe I did once, briefly, but my job was to keep the press at bay so I usually stayed away from the top level guests unless an interview was requested.
She was also one of many important Democrats who protested the party's pro-abortion platform.
Tom McFeely has more at National Catholic Register: "Eunice Shriver, the Pro-Life Kennedy".
UPDATE #3 (12 August)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a champion for life.
UPDATE #4 (19 August)
Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: "A Tale of Two Kennedys":
... The Shrivers represented the old Democratic Party -- economically liberal and culturally conservative. They were routed by the new Democratic Party -- economically liberal and culturally libertine -- of which Ted became the poster boy. The tortured relationship of the Catholic Church with the Democratic Party mirrored that cleavage. Eunice was the ideal of the Catholic in public life -- passionately committed to the poor, defender of the weak, pro-life, morally upright and a woman of faith and family. But the party followed Ted.
The Shrivers were devout Catholics who lived their faith with integrity privately before bringing its implications to the public square. Before Alzheimer's took its toll on Sargent, he was a daily communicant, attending Mass either in Maryland or in Hyannis, Mass., a well-worn rosary often in hand. He shared his Marian devotion with his wife; in a statement upon Eunice's death, her family noted that "she was forever devoted to the Blessed Mother. May she be welcomed now by Mary to the joy and love of life everlasting, in the certain truth that her love and spirit will live forever."
Such lines will not be written of Ted Kennedy who, as one of America's most prominent Catholics, blazed the trail of making religious belief an entirely private matter. His debauchery was the opposite of the Shrivers' piety. Having broken up his own family, he degenerated into a dissoluteness that reached its nadir on Good Friday, 1991, when instead of doing the Stations of the Cross at the local parish, he took his son and nephew out for a night of bar-hopping and skirt-chasing. The details of Ted's behaviour that night were embarrassingly sordid. It gave rise to the joke that Senator Kennedy's religion was so private he refused to impose it on himself.
But Teddy's malign influence is no laughing matter. In many ways his Good Friday licentiousness was a harbinger for the decadent age of Clinton. The sexual license that Ted Kennedy lived most of his adult life had its public policy consequence in his fervent devotion to the cause of abortion -- for any reason, at any time, preferably publicly funded. The very children that Eunice devoted her life to defending are less likely to see the light of day now, in large part due to the unrestricted abortion license her brother did more than any other to defend.
As Senator Kennedy continues to withdraw from public life due to his illness, the Kennedy clan is withdrawing, too. Bypassed by the Bushes as the most successful dynasty in American politics, the second generation Kennedys have achieved relatively little compared to their parents. When Ted goes, he will be celebrated as the most influential Kennedy of them all. But Eunice, without doubt, was the most noble.