September 2, 2009
Teddy Kennedy's Very Quiet CatholicismBy J. Robert Smith
Like a big lump of clay, Teddy Kennedy is being worked and reworked into an immortal. The mainstream media and other liberal apologists are seeing to the handiwork. They even want us to believe that Kennedy was squared with his Catholicism. But how could he be? He was unapologetically pro-abortion.
Time magazine gave it go, though. It published an article last week about Kennedy's "quiet Catholic faith." For a man so vocal about many things, he certainly did keep quiet about his faith. And with good reason. Egregious apostasy was Teddy's way.
On every major abortion vote, the late Senator walked lockstep with NARL Pro-Choice America. Here's the checklist:
The sanctity of innocent human life -- the life of the unborn -- is a bedrock principle of Roman Catholicism. It's nonnegotiable. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reads, in part:
Not misdemeanors but abominable crimes, reads the Catechism. Abortion is not a gray area that leaves room for discretion and choice.
Having grown up in the church, and raised by a devout mother (Rose), Kennedy was steeped in the teachings and strictures of Catholicism. His embracing abortion was a deliberate, conscious decision to turn his back on church teachings.
But prior to Kennedy making a break with the church, he was public in his opposition to abortion. In 1971 he wrote:
Following the infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Kennedy, along with the Democratic Party, began tacking left on abortion. The rights of the unborn were eschewed in favor of a woman's prerogative to abort. Kennedy wasn't exactly a Profile in Courage, unless abandoning his stated beliefs and church is courageous.
Many liberal Catholic politicians - most conspicuously, Mario Cuomo -- have gone to great pains to make elaborate arguments in defense of their pro-abortion stands.
Cuomo and others argue that they aren't pro-abortion but "pro-choice." Given the controversy over when life begins, they contend that they don't have the right to impose their beliefs on women. They add that their own personal religious beliefs preclude abortion. As a postscript, many say that they'd like to see the number of abortions reduced.
This is what Catholics on the left consider smart reasoning. What it amounts to is evasion, intellectual and moral. Life is a human being's pre-eminent right. Take life away and what do other subsidiary rights matter?
The latest contribution to rationalizing support for abortion came last year from Nancy Pelosi. Not satisfied with just managing the House of Representatives, Pelosi decided to tackle church doctrine. She made an ill-informed or deceptive argument that there's a question within the church as to when a fetus is ensouled.
Of course, her argument was claptrap. An hour surfing the web to visit Catholic Church or church-related websites would have informed the Speaker's analysis immensely.
In these early attempts to canonize Teddy Kennedy, the great minds on the left are advancing yet another argument. That Kennedy's decades of legislating bigger and bigger government, and sponsoring social policy and programs that largely haven't worked, demonstrated his enormous compassion for the least among us. His work more than offset his deficient character and checkered past. And it might just be a tradeoff for all those abortions.
Compassion is demonstrated through voluntary acts of caring and giving. It frequently involves sacrifice. Mother Teresa was compassionate. Teddy Kennedy, despite the puffery surrounding the office, was nothing more than a hired hand, who legislated using the IRS to take taxpayers' money to fund the welfare state.
It's that sort of compassion that is driving the nation to a financial train wreck in the not too distant future. But, then, that would only make for greater opportunities for government-subsidized compassion.
We can say this in Teddy Kennedy's defense: it's not our place to judge the man's heart; that's exclusively God's right. But we aren't precluded from judging actions; in fact, it's our duty to do so. Failing that, we would live in a world of even greater injustices.
Abortion is an injustice of immense magnitude. And the saddest part of Teddy Kennedy's public legacy.