The Pope blessed Ted Kennedy

August 31, 2009

KENNEDY/As a divorcee who was pro-choice on abortion, the United States’s most prominent Catholic politician was not exactly in the Vatican’s good books.

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)


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The Pope can bless Kennedy all he wants to, the old aborionist reprobate is still writhing and twisting in
the fires of Hell. It seems that he tried to atone for his admitted moral failings with his twisted idea of public service, which seems to consist in fighting every possible way for unrestricted abortion, sodomy, and using the force of gov’t. to take away money from people who work and giving it to people that don’t. As the Bible says, even the mercies of the wicked are cruel.-J.L.

Posted by J.Lafave | Report as abusive

As a practicing Catholic I am glad Kennedy got mentioned in the Pope’s prayers though I cannot square Kenndy’s stance on abortion with the faith. I do not understand what appears to be a new understanding of sin. Apparantly if youre real good on the social justice part of Catholic teaching on life issues you can be real bad on the abortion part and still be following the teaching authority of the magisterium.

Posted by Nostromo | Report as abusive

I wonder if Mary Jo is blessing him too! I’m ashamed of the people of MA for continuing to re-elect this man for almost 50 years. What a grand waste of taxpayer money. End of an era, as some put it? You bet, and none too soon. Why would the pope bless a murderer? Hmm. Guess daddy’s money is good in the afterlife as well.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

the one thing we were always taught in CATHOLIC grade school was that the only thing you could not be forgiven for was giving up on being forgiven. i also believe it’s a beautiful thing that God will even forgive you two greater than thou low-lifes if you ask him. but can you lower yourself to make Him believe you don’t think you have that power yourself?

Posted by old catholic | Report as abusive

Wake up! There is NO forgiveness without repentance.

The Pope should have excommunicated Kennedy. Did he ever repent of his stance on abortion? Not that I heard of! I suspect if he even made it to Purgatory, he’s in the lowest place there is. No doubt his blood stained hands that signed away the death of thousands of unborn innocent children must be burning right now.

Posted by Paula | Report as abusive

For a Christian – I am sorry but a blessing from the pope or any top religious leader means nothing. A person must be born again, believe in God, must have faith, and must have lived a Christian life…going to church every Sunday morning, follow all of the laws and ordinances of the person’s church, being good to others etc. The only one who decides who goes to heaven or hell is our Heavenly God.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

The article didn’t say that the Pope sent him to heaven; it says that the Pope blessed him. Yes, Jesus/God did tell us to bless one another and pray for one another. Would you please stop attacking the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church as it is today attacks no one. You can call it “born again” if you would like to. God forgives and is faithful. There is nothing wrong with asking someone to pray for you. It doesn’t mean he did not also pray directly to God himself. Protestants ask their friends, family, and pastors to pray for them, yet they get crazy if Catholics ask the Pope to pray for them.

Posted by Sally | Report as abusive

Shame on 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

Only God can judge where Ted Kennedy will spend his eternal life. No one but He knows whether Ted made a sincere and final confession of sin prior to death and received absolution. Certainly, anyone who loves Christ should hope so since to wish anyone in hell is to hope that Christ’s saving work is rendered worthless.

As to why the Pope would bless a dying man, Christ himself said to bless those who curse us and love those who hate us.

Posted by Brandy | Report as abusive

Sally is right. It is not the place of the Pope to judge; Jesus does that. One wonders if the Pope’s message to Kennedy was not more detailed like, “repent for your promotion of abortion, etc…” Prayers for the sinner are very powerful inducements to the power of the Holy Spirit to help the dying. Many holy biblical characters blessed people. I am sure it meant more than just a little. Maybe the blessing will initiate a process of reconcillation enabling the sinner to be “born again” or accept Christ before the moment of death. Did’t Jesus give us the parable of the prodigal son or the parable of the laborers that were paid the same wage dispite the fact that they started at different times of the day? Maybe Ed gave himself over to the will of God just before he died and maybe we will see good ol’ Ed if we make it to Heaven. Wouldn’t that be great?

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive