Ted Kennedy's Catholicism

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.

Advertisement

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.

Read the rest here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 3 months ago
The sad and tragic thing is that being divorced is not a reason to avoid Holy Communion, only remarrying without an annullment would require that.  He got some bad counsel from someone, which is tragic for him and for many Catholics.
8 years 3 months ago
So....can an unswerving defender of racial segregation and the inferiority of non-whites be a good Catholic if he or she claims he does other things that are helping the poor?
How does that work, anyway?
8 years 3 months ago
Mark, your example is off.  How to protect the unborn is a prudential matter.  It is certainly not prudent to trumpet the pro-life cause in a way that can never be fulfilled as other than an electoral issue.  Their bluff has been called and most Catholics have returned to the Democratic fold, while the racists you allude to have become largely members of other parties on the right.  As these parties become more overtly racist, especially on matters effecting poverty and immigration, membership involves a serious avoidance of the conscience.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A reflection for the third Monday of Advent
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 17, 2017
25,000 children and pilgrim sang the pope “Happy Birthday" today in St. Peter’s Square.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 17, 2017
A reflection for the third Sunday of Advent
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 16, 2017
Homeless people are seen in Washington June 22. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chair of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee, released a statement Nov. 17 proclaiming that the House of Representatives "ignored impacts to the poor and families" in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the previous day. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
The United States is thwarting the advancement of millions of its citizens, a UN rapporteur says.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 16, 2017