The Pope blessed Ted Kennedy
Yet Pope Benedict XVI blessed the terminally ill Senator Edward Kennedy, according to correspondence made public at his burial in Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday.
Kennedy, whose political career was marred by scandal, asked for the Pope’s prayers in a letter that was handed to the pontiff by President Barack Obama in Rome on July 10.
“I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines. I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago, and, although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life,” Kennedy wrote.
“I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path.”
In his nearly 50 years in the Senate — Kennedy wrote — he championed the rights of the poor, opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. His commitment to accessible healthcare for all Americans was the political cause of his life, the dying senator wrote to the pontiff.
“I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings. I continue to pray for God’s blessings on you and our Church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me.”
The Pope replied through a Vatican official that he was saddened to know of Kennedy’s illness.
“Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord.”
Photo by Brian Snyder (President Obama and Kennedy family members stand by Sen. Edward Kennedy’s casket during funeral services in Boston)