Poll – Should Ted Kennedy have a Catholic funeral?

August 29, 2009

kennedyOur post “Catholic comments on Ted Kennedy, pro and con” showed readers were deeply split on whether the late senator should have a Roman Catholic funeral. The naysayers argued that his support for choice on abortion and other disagreements with Church doctrine disqualify him from a religious ceremony. Those for a church funeral argued that he helped advance many causes championed by Catholic social teaching.

Those opposing a Mass of Christian Burial for Kennedy predominated, but not all readers take the time to write a comment. One-click poll questions sometimes give a different picture from comment pages. So here’s a simple question:


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

The issue here is that Ted Kennedy was openly and very publicly know to express views contrary to Catholic Teachings and doctrines. As John Kerry as told during his run for the White House. You cant publicly campaign for abortion, and gay marriage and then claim to be a practicing catholic when it is convenient. Kennedy was not a real catholic, as no real catholic supports abortion, ever period under any circumstances.

Posted by Rick | Report as abusive

Ted kennedy was a great person. He will not be forgotten but will be missed!

Write you farewells about Ted Kennedy or other famous people or people you lost on http://www.MyFarewells.com

God Bless and keep Ted Kennedy, I feel sorry for anyone who has judged him. They are the ones that need to worry about God’s justice. Ted gave his all to our country. He fought for the rights of all people. I as a Catholic am proud of what he stood for. This world is a sadier place without Teddy.
Ted rest in peace and enjoy the family reunion. Hope to see you.

Posted by Linda | Report as abusive

As the old saying goes, Let he (or she) who is without sin, cast the first stone.

Nobody’s perfect. We all have faults. Teddy was a devout Catholic. Who are we mere mortals, to decide whether or not he should have the funeral of his choice. This is not American, nor is it Christian.
Christ would have forgiven him, and Teddy did an awful lot for a lot of people. Have some respect for the dead, for humanity’s sake.

Posted by Rocco Rizzo | Report as abusive

Agree. Graceless to ask the question, no matter the context. No human being gets to sit in judgment to decide a Catholic burial or not.

Posted by sister of mother jones | Report as abusive

the truth: ezra 2:13 rev 2:13 666+jezebel=667 nehemias 7:18 rev 13:18 satan is the pope be Christian STAY CHRISTIAN LOVE JESUS

Posted by monica | Report as abusive

The question is insulting and foolish, why do I waste my time on this crap? I am not religious, but everyone has the right to their faith, and it clearly saved him from his demons. This has not a small man, and he deserves more respect that this silliness allows.

Posted by Karen Nielsen | Report as abusive

Came across this site doing research. It goes without saying the RC church is run and controlled by money. I wonder how many lesser individuals could get annulments without good reason.

There is no doubt about the work of Ted Kennedy, but influential people like him are allowed to have the rules bent to their favor.

It really is of no consequence as they play there silly religious games!

Posted by BR | Report as abusive

This comment about money is very telling. Yes, Kennedys get annulments because of money. They also get out of jail time for manslaughter when they drive a young girl to her death in a drunken haze. Infidelity, womanizing, heavy drinking, promoting abortion, and these are “Catholic” people? They give Catholicism a bad name. As a Catholic, I am embarrassed by the fact that Ted Kennedy has been adulated and buried with full, religious honors.

Posted by E. Hayes | Report as abusive

When I think of Ted Kennedy, I can only think of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, his drinking, his womanizing, his support of late-term abortion and his divorce.

How in the world did the Catholic Church ever grant him an annulment?

Why a Catholic burial?

Why not excommunication years ago?

Posted by Concerned Cotizen | Report as abusive

No. Ted was a hypocrite. Repent about Mary-Jo, what are you talking about, according to friends, he joked of it. Cheating, infidelity, support of abortion, traitorous acts to his own country; what branch of Catholicism is that?

Posted by Edwin | Report as abusive

Though as a Catholic, I feel that though many of the Kennedy family scandalized the church by their beliefs and behaviors, we are not to judge Ted at the moment of death. There are more important things to deal with in the world today

Posted by Gil M | Report as abusive

May God bless his soul rest in peace.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of men and angels,
but have not love,
I have become sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.

And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains,
but have not love, I am nothing.

And if I dole out all my goods, and
if I deliver my body that I may boast
but have not love, nothing I am profited.

Love is long suffering,
love is kind,
it is not jealous,
love does not boast,
it is not inflated.

It is not discourteous,
it is not selfish,
it is not irritable,
it does not enumerate the evil.
It does not rejoice over the wrong, but rejoices in the truth

It covers all things,
it has faith for all things,
it hopes in all things,
it endures in all things.

Love never falls in ruins;
but whether prophecies, they will be abolished; or
tongues, they will cease; or
knowledge, it will be superseded.

For we know in part and we prophecy in part.

But when the perfect comes, the imperfect will be superseded.

When I was an infant,
I spoke as an infant,
I reckoned as an infant;

when I became [an adult],
I abolished the things of the infant.

For now we see through a mirror in an enigma, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as also I was fully known.

But now remains
faith, hope, love,

these three;

but the greatest of these is love.


Posted by Ernelia Quickel | Report as abusive

Shame on Reuters for allowing the framing of the issues in these silly terms, thus trivializing the death of a human being no less. Shame on the Mainstream Media for dumbing down reporting and failing to promote an informed public debate. I have yet to read, listen to, watch any broadcast shedding light on what are contained in the health care reform bill that the late Sen Kennedy proposed. This utter failure of the Press is a great disservice to democracy and the world. Where is your ethics?

Posted by Novo Nurse | Report as abusive

The man is dead and only God has the power to judge the actions of this man…I didn’t care for him or his politics….but you can’t change his past

Posted by Nancy | Report as abusive

If we work for justice for the poor and rescue for the oppressed “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” Isaiah 1:18
Who are we to say we know the mind and heart of God.
Rest in Peace, Senator Kennedy

Posted by enelson | Report as abusive

I was so moved watching the family and loved ones the last two days at the services of Ted Kennedy -those wonderful children and grandchildren. I was glad to learn even more than I had knownabout his dedication all those years to the causes of the less fortunate. I wonder how many people who stand in judgement of him have ever gotten behind the wheel after drinking and thank God that they did not have a tragic accident. I think so little of those who stand in judgement of him or anyone else. The letter he wrote to his priest after learning he would not survive the cancer was read by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend on “Meet the Press” this Sunday morning was so moving – I wish all those who cannot find anything good in all he did to make lives better could hear that including Laura Ingraham who hit a new low even for her on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly show (and could not even wait until he was buried. I thank God for all he and his family have contributed to this country.

Posted by Faye Reeves | Report as abusive

Absolutely not. In spite of the fact that he may have done some good things in things in his life, they were far overshadowed by the scandelous things. He championed tirelessly against most Church teachings, and caused even more grave scandal to the Church by professing to still be a “Catholic” christian to further confuse and mislead peoples faith. That sounds like it was designed by the father of lies himself, not God. Only God knows how many babies perished because of him. Why would he even want a Catholic funeral? The Kennedy hypocracy has been breathtaking for too many decades. That any Bishop would grant him a Catholic funeral, likewise, continues to cause grave scandal to all the Church teaches. They will both be held culpable, as we all will. Yes, God is the final judge, so we can only pray that he repented before he died.

Posted by George | Report as abusive

I do not believe a political career is worth a young woman’s life. Period. I don’t think Mary Jo Kopechne was proud to die for Ted Kennedy. I don’t think her horrifying death was a necessary human sacrifice to enable his “fortunate fall.” Ted Kennedy was not the victim of Chappaquiddick. Anyone who believes those things is a degenerate who should be shunned by civilized people.

I disagree with the notion that any aspect of Kennedy’s life “redeemed” him for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Redemption requires contrition, an admission of guilt. Kennedy never admitted responsibility or guilt for what happened

I don’t believe that destroying the reputation of a judge, through insane and reckless allegations that challenge his very humanity, represents great statesmanship. He tried the same slimy tactics he used on Robert Bork against Clarence Thomas. I don’t think the legacy of personal destruction Ted Kennedy inaugurated during the Bork confirmation hearings has been a plus for America.

I disagree that the world will “sorely miss” the “moral clarity” of someone who enjoyed jokes about the woman who died because of his cowardice and lust for power. The human race will be greatly improved when it is infested by fewer such creatures.

Posted by Ken | Report as abusive

A religious service by any other name is merely self-expression.
The notion of eating Christ’s body and drinking his blood, seems
like a ode to cannibalism and vampirish ways — and is repugnant –
a testimony to why the United States separates church and state.
It would seem more odd, that taxpayers paid for transport, security and
housing for our elder states people to pay tribute to the Senator’s accomplishments.

At the same time, this family chose to seek comfort in familiar rituals steeped in
a tradition of their ancestors. It is not our place to decide the manner in which others shall chose to manage their grief. Had the Senator’s religious icons been prominently displayed in his offices 317 Russell Senate Building Washington D.C. 20510 and 2400 JFK Building in Boston Ma – it would have been a “put off” to those who suffered at the hands of Catholics during WWII and subsequently. We were, however, not in the Senator’s Place of business,we were in his place of spiritual worship: we were given
the impression his God is a forgiving one and while those rituals performed
may seem arcane and antiquated to some of us – they provide an infrastructure for his family to communicate about what came before and what will come after.

There is no less pomp and circumstance in the changing the Heraldry of a Military Wing.

A non-denominational service in Ted’s house of worship would have delayed our understanding of how he chose his path and also provided a measure of his self-knowledge—and even acknowledgement –(a hidden apology) for having strayed from what he understood to be ideal behavior during the graveside reading of his letter to his Pope.

In a historical context, the only other route to closure would have been to begin with Pantheism and Paganism and so on and so forth. We heard one member of the clergy reference how he embraced the Hebrews. Were it not for the Tower of Babble (or is the Babylon) – would our species be any different in our quest to find a common underpinning for our future’s past? For those who remain concerned about the manner in which Teddy Kennedy, Sr. lived or died, read Victor Frankel’s Man’s Search For Meaning. In turn, you may find your purpose by what inspired you or caused consternation in your observation of Edward Moore Kennedy’s lifestyle and life.

Posted by Witness | Report as abusive

Leave all vengence to God. Who are we to judge. Let those without sin cast the first stone.

He is in a better place than us right now. No pain, war or suffering to face. May his soul rest in peace.

Posted by LauraleeT | Report as abusive

One of the principles that runs through Catholic social encyclicals is subsidiarity. “That govern’t is best which governs least.” The founding fathers knew it well. They absorbed it through classical learning. Senator Kennedy was a strong advocate for central power, an approach that ultimately dehumanizes. This kind of governing runs counter to Church teaching. It is consistent with Fascism, Socialism, Communism. He meant well, but this approach ultimately does not serve the poor and dispossessed.

Posted by John Clancy | Report as abusive

Kennedy a catholic! If you had not told me I would have never of known!

Posted by DAVID | Report as abusive

The fact that this apostate man has been given a Catholic funeral is a disgrace. His alleged concern for the poor is nothing more than humanism. Catholic Social Teaching requires that Christ be King – Ted Kennedy did not treat Christ as King. Far from it.

In any case, to say that his alleged concern for the poor cancels out his support for the murder of the unborn and the promotion of sodomy, is Theology for the Brain-Dead.

The Church in America has lost all credibility now. They have participated in one of the worst cover-ups in recent history, presenting Ted Kennedy as some kind of saint instead of the apparently unrepentant sinner he was, in fact. Of course, we don’t know if he asked God’s forgiveness at the end, but since he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong by defying God’s moral law in legislation (to say nothing of his personal life) then it seems unlikely. Thus, in the absence of any public repudiation of his apostasy from the Church authorities, we are left with a massive scandal. Not just an apostate senator to deal with but faithless clerics as well. Shocking.

The disparaging comments made against Senator Kennedy reflect the “Holier than thou ” Clique. Such comments made by ‘patricia’ calling Kennedy “this apostate man” and the brave ‘witness’ who wrongly blames the ‘Catholics for all the deaths WWII’- ( Has he not heard of the 6 million Catholic Poles killed in labor camps!? These wrong headed comments reveal individuals who wish to scourge the man and his faith for past failings.They no longer mirror the redeemed Ted Kennedy who worked tirelessly for the all of us-Americans. The poor and the rich, The Middle-class workers long forgotten by the Republican hierarchy, The sick and the voiceless Mass of humanity- Not everybody is able to be as magnanimous as Senator Ted Kennedy-He assumed a certain greatness that Bill O’Rielly and ‘Dick Cheney fan club’ Fox news set who simply will never have true courage- Kennedy was a man driven to help people. He is not a demagogue or a ‘draft dodger’- He died a man of Peace.

Posted by walter | Report as abusive

It was right that Ted Kennedy was given a Catholic funeral. We have to allow the possibility that he had a death bed repentance. However in no event should he have had the massive exulting funeral he had in the Catholic church. The fact that he championed many causes for the underpriveleged person does not give hime the right, in itself, to be honored as a Catholic. He spurned many moral principles the church holds holy, the greatest one being respect for the life of the unborn. Also included are his support for embryonic stem cell reserch and his violation of the sanctity of marriage, and his support for gay marriage.
Ted Kennedy did tremndous damage to the Catholic church.
While in a position of authorty and popularity he engaged in active catholic worship while, on the other hand, violating the basic priciples of the Catholic church. He advanced the growing mentality that the Catholic church really does not feel that strongly on these issues.
Unfortunately the damage was furthered by the
church in their pandering to popularity by giving
him an alaborate funeral.

Posted by Dan Chesire | Report as abusive

The disparaging comments made against Senator Kennedy reflect the “Holier than thou ” Clique.

This seems to apply to the KENNEDYS… not those that criticize them. Get the facts straight. Kennedy has made his way through life breaking legal AND moral laws!

Posted by Sue | Report as abusive

Isn´t up to the Kennedy´s to decide how Ted will be buried? Why is this being openned up to public scrutiny?

In response to some of the criticims, those bloggers who claim that he wasn´t a good enough Christian should probably stop judging others and worry about their own problems. Isn´t that what your religion asks you to do in the first place?

It is entertaining to see Americans argue about religion.

I myself used to be religious although I outgrew that shortly after I stopped wetting my bed.

That said, I have nothing against believing in a higher power. I just find it hard to believe that higher power wrote a book. Maybe he recorded a mixtape as well.

Posted by alejandro | Report as abusive

Ted Kennedy…Defender of the right to kill the powerless unborn! Ted Kennedy…. Defender of the right to commit serial adultery. Ted Kennedy…Defender of the right to hear new and fun jokes about Mary Jo Kopechne’s
drowning! Ted Kennedy…Defender of the right to same sex marriage! Ted Kennedy…Defender of the right to consistently reject and ignore the basic Teachings of the Catholic Church!

The Catholic Church founded by Jesus Christ…Defender of the right to life and marriage between a man and a woman. The Catholic Church would have allowed a very private family funeral Mass because Ted Kennedy had the Last Rites.

The disobedient American Catholic Church of Boston…Defender of the the right to honor and glorify mutual apostates and pretend that they are all in union with Rome.

Posted by Georgia | Report as abusive

What if to the dismay of many…Ted Kennedy is not in a better place? Heaven is reserved for those “who care for the least of these”…children. Obviously the unborn children were not protected and cared for by this man and his policies. Not a great legacy in my mind!!! I fear for the judgment of his deeds…and so should his family who gave him so much praise…even through prayers!!!!

Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

Ted Kennedy is someone who worked hard as a politician, but also as many politicians he is not an honorable man. Not a man to be honored or admired.

I don’t believe the majority of Americans were too deeply affected by his demise.

Posted by george papas | Report as abusive

I think this is an example of why Catholic people think they can do what they want and not what God wants. The Pope should have gave instructions that Ted are any of the so called Catholic public figures that openly disagree with the Churches teaching and laws should not have been able to receive communion based on the records. IS it a Law are is it a suggestion? Is it the 10 Commandments are the 10 suggestions? There is a Catholic Voters Guide. These type people could not win election if it was not for the so called Catholic voter.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

While it is certainly a Catholic doctrine that a repentant sinner can be forgiven, at the same time, to avoid public scandal, a PUBLIC, NOTORIOUS sinner, who dies apparently without any repentance, should be denied a Catholic requiem mass and burial, because the way he lived his life and died is not an example for Catholics to follow.

Ted Kennedy was not only a public, notorious sinner, he flaunted it with ostentatious pride. If there ever was one to whom the rule applies, it is him. He not only supported abortion, he PROMOTED IT. He not only supported the sin of Sodom, he PROMOTED IT. He not only lied in public, he did all he could to advance the telling of lies by anyone. He not only escaped justice for his manslaughter of Mary Jo, he spent the rest of his life LAUGHING IN PUBLIC for Chappaquiddick jokes.

He made a mockery of our entire country and of the Church, and did so with open rebellion. The only way it seems he could have gotten away with this is to have had on his side some very dark powers, indeed. No, he would be much more appropriately buried with the rites of quite a different religion, perhaps Voodoo, or Animist.

Posted by btpcm | Report as abusive

I fault the “Catholic Church” for not denouncing this man’s actions way early in his career. His pronounced “good deeds” do not outweigh the “he was not a perfect man” accomplishments. The letter he wrote and his arranged prayers offered by his “grandchildren” should have included repentance and confession of some pretty “grave” actions that according to the bible…God condemns.

Posted by Ryan | Report as abusive

Where is the “none of my business” option for the poll question? If he wanted a catholic funeral that’s fine with me. Seems Catholicism might be a good fit for such a politician.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

Did anyone ever wonder why 16 U.S. Senators,45 Congressmen ,50% of all bishops,and priests, and 55% of all CATHOLICS ARE pro-abortion,and pro-homosxuality. its because the Pope is weak and lily-livered when enforcing CHURCH LAW ?

Posted by Jack Angelo Territo | Report as abusive

Wow – after reading all these comments by (I assume) pious Catholics, I’m sure glad that I’m not one. Don’t think that I’ve read so much hatefulness and intolerance since. . . well, I can’t think of when I’ve read so much of it. Bless you, but keep your religion to yourself.

Posted by outsider | Report as abusive

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you shall be forgiven….And why seest thou the mote in your brother’s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? Luke 6:36-37, 41 (Douay-Rheims Bible)

Posted by Michael B. | Report as abusive