Dan Gilgoff over at US News interviews Adam Clymer, Senator Kennedy's biographer on the man's faith:
Some obituaries today are calling Ted Kennedy a devout Catholic. How important was his faith to him personally?
It meant a great deal to him. A friend of his told me how painful it was for him not to take [Holy Communion] between the time he got divorced and an annulment. He and [second wife] Vicki would often go to noontime mass if things were slow at the Capitol.
I once asked him why someone as well off as him was so interested in the poor and the sick, and he said it was his mother's Catholic teaching: the Sermon on the Mount and the passage from Luke that to those who much is given, much is expected.
So you think his Catholicism shaped his politics?
I wouldn't say it's the only factor, but it's the earliest one. I mean, his mother made sure her children went to church and Sunday school and on summer retreats when they would rather be doing something else.
How long did it take for Kennedy to get his first marriage annulled?
Between the divorce and the annulment, there was about 10 or 11 years. They never really announced when the annulment was granted. We all became aware of it when [Kennedy] took [Holy Communion] from Cardinal [Bernard] Law at his mother's funeral in '95. But the divorce was in 1982.