Monday, August 31, 2009

Kennedy Buried and the Furor Continues: Where's the Charity in This "Truth"?

The fallout from the choice of the Catholic church to give Senator Kennedy a Catholic burial continues. It’s interesting to note the fervor of some Catholics who remain convinced that the church cannot choose to bury a man of the ilk of Ted Kennedy—even in the face of the fact that the church did choose to give the senator a Catholic burial.

For a sample of that kind of thinking, have a look at the thread of responses gathering at my posting about health care mobs, the bishops, and hating on Kennedy. I suspect these are being prompted by a response to that posting written by one Patrick Madrid of the Envoy Institute at Belmont Abbey College, whom I mentioned in that posting.

Meanwhile, for a more measured (but nonetheless heated) discussion, check out the posting of Rev. Robert P. Imbelli at Commonweal about the legacy of Senator Kennedy.

I’m taken by Bill Mazzella’s observation that the discussion of Richard John Neuhaus’s death on Commonweal’s blog was much more charitable than the kind of stuff now pouring out re: Ted Kennedy. That seems right on the mark to me. The considerable room the church offers to the Neuhauses, Erik Princes, Gingriches, and Novaks of the world, when there’s hardly any room in the inn for Roy Bourgeois, Roger Haight, or Jeannine Gramick, scandalizes me.

It does so in the precise, etymological sense of that word. It’s a stumbling block to faith.

I’m also struck (in general: this comment has to do with the broader Catholic discussion of Kennedy’s legacy, not just the one on Commonweal, though I’d apply it to the latter, too) by the moral imbecility the magisterium has succeeded in developing among many Catholics around the issue of abortion.

Many of us have become incapable of talking about anything else, morally speaking. And the “talking” many of us do is so far from rational, coherent moral discourse that it has precisely the opposite effect its advocates intend. Rather than convince us of the righteousness of the cause, it makes us run away. It makes many of us want to distance ourselves in any way possible from a religious group that can spawn such imbecility.

And such conspicuous mean-spiritedness, in the name of God.