By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On Cardinal O'Malley and the Kennedy Funeral

I read the Boston Cardinal's defense of his prominent participation in the funeral of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy at the fine Whispers in the Loggia blog at this link. By the way, if you want a, or rather additional (smiling and tongue in cheek) balanced, sane blog on Catholic events, that is a good one to visit. (I recommend avoiding many of the ritually obsessed, traditionalist blogs, especially to those blog readers who tend to scrupulosity.)

My three points about the Kennedy matter:

1. I do not believe there was any need for the Boston Cardinal's presence. It was unnecessary. In my opinion, he should not have gone out of his way to attend. I think that the same holds true for the former D.C. Cardinal-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick's presiding over the Kennedy burial at Arlington. It was just not needed and sent the wrong message at the worst possible time.

2. Having said that, I am certainly not in, or even close to, the throes of anger at either prelate. I just strongly disagree with their decisions to go out of their way to do what was neither necessary nor required.

3. But there is good that emerged. These lines from the Boston Cardinal's blog defending his actions struck me as very true and necessary and should probably be posted on the masthead of many right-leaning Catholic blogs and should be taken to heart by many pro-life activists:

At times, even in the Church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the Church. If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness, it will be doomed to marginalization and failure.

Cardinal O'Malley, source link (emphasis added).

I, for one, do not feel harsh or angry toward either cardinal; and, of course, I do not impute any bad motives to either. I am sure they are far better men than I am. I am simply strongly convinced that they, more than likely, let the emotional, nostalgic sentimentality of celebrity-driven hoopla propel them to an imprudent and unnecessary level of participation in these very public rites. A simple statement of sympathy to the family would have sufficed without participation in either the funeral or the burial. But at least I got a good, useful, and wise quote out of the Boston Cardinal's blog.