The Catholic Donnybrook Over Kennedy's Legacy
(Hat tip: Opinionated Catholic)
Elizabeth Scalia writes at the First Things blog On the Square:
... Something like that is occurring within the Catholic web community over the death and subsequent mainstream media—glorification (and alternate media grimaces) of the man often called the Liberal Lion of the U.S. Senate.
Here is what’s going on: Over at the National Catholic Reporter, Sr. Maureen Fiedler posted that Kennedy made her proud to be Catholic. It would be dishonest to pretend that there are not thousands of Catholics, particularly those of Boomer-age and older, who completely understand Sr. Maureen’s sentiment.
Taking an opposing viewpoint, writer Patrick Madrid responded ...
Well. Over at America magazine, the usually restrained Michael Sean Winters did not like that—did not like that at all ...
The Catholics are going to tear each other apart over Ted Kennedy. Is that really the legacy anyone wants to bequeath to him?
With all due respect to Winters, it appears his sentimentality is being allowed to overrule simple truth, here; we Catholics, having been warned about the “dictatorship of relativism” by a bishop of Rome, have a responsibility to make sure we are serving the truth even as we endeavor—as we absolutely must for the sake of Christ—to serve compassion.
Madrid’s work may be unknown to the “better elements” of Catholic punditry, but his career is a respectable one and while his undeniably rough piece displeased Winters in tone and timing, he did have a point.
By all means, the good done in every life should be remembered and celebrated, but in the twenty-first century it is a problematic hagiography that dismisses some genuinely deleterious public behavior with a shrugging, “as we’re all flawed, let us on this be silent!”
He and other Catholic politicians made America dizzy with the oddball notion that one could be “personally opposed” to abortion but too broad-minded to “impose my views on others.” That sounded so reasonable and tolerant that it simplified the abortion debate for people who did not care to consider how nonsensical it was. Being “personally opposed” to the death penalty, would Kennedy have tried not to “impose those views” on states, had he the chance? Had he been “personally opposed” to slavery 150 years ago, would he not certainly have tried to “impose” his views on others?
In terms of perception, Kennedy’s public positions did and do make life difficult for priests and bishops, but scandal is not at issue, here. Catholics find myriad ways to bring scandal to the Bride of Christ, every day. This is about the credibility that Kennedy’s endorsement gave to the abortion movement, and how that endorsement contributed to the subsequent decrease in respect for, and defense of, life-issues...
[Read the entire outstanding piece]
Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
A Political Realignment Among Catholics?
Modern-Day Richard Rich Glosses Over Abortion in Eulogizing Sen. Kennedy and Sucking Up to Pres. Obama
Canon Lawyer on Kennedy Funeral: "It Could've Been Worse ... I Suppose" [UPDATED]
Was Kennedy “More Right Than Wrong”?
Fr. Z Defends Well-Known Catholic Apologist Patrick Madrid ... [UPDATED]
What Might Have Been ... [UPDATED]
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009)