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article imagePope Benedict XVI noticeably quiet on the passing of Ted Kennedy

By Patrick McMahon     Aug 28, 2009 in Politics
The Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI have been noticeably silent on the death of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), a prominent Catholic and member of a strict Catholic family.
President Obama, during his visit with the Pope in July, hand delivered a sealed letter to the Holy Father from Kennedy. The contents were never made public, not even Obama knew what the letter said. Most believe that the letter was a request from the dying Kennedy for a papal blessing, which never came about.
Many traditionalist Catholics have held the position that Senator Kennedy should be asking the Pope for forgiveness, not a blessing, due to his unwavering support for abortion. A senior Vatican official said that "Why would he even write a letter to the Pope? The Kennedys have always been defiantly in opposition to the Roman Catholic magisterium [official teachings]."
While many historians and journalists are pouring over the late senator's achievements, it should be known that he was the most prominent Catholic politician in the United States. Along with that, his brother became the first Catholic president, and his first marriage was performed in 1958 by Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York. According to rumor, his mother Rose had a dream where Ted would eventually become a priest in the church.
Ted Kennedy, while a Catholic, was also the defacto head of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. He championed abortion rights, gay marriage, and stem cells, all of which goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church. Because of his difficult position, Kennedy had severe conflict with the church hierarchy.
"Here in Rome, Ted Kennedy is nobody. He's a legend with his own constituency," the senior Vatican official said. "If he had influence in the past it was only with the Archdiocese of Boston and that eventually disappeared too." It remains to be seen if Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, will preside over Kennedy's funeral services.
Earlier this year, there was controversy at the Vatican over speculation that Caroline Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy's daughter, would be named the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. The Vatican insisted on a pro-life diplomat and President Obama granted their request by appointing Miguel Diaz, a Cuban theology professor who is staunchly pro-life.
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