• Our Blogger

    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

    john on Ask a Priest
    Sarah on Ask a Priest
    Aidan on Ask a Priest
    "Alyssa on Ask a Priest
    mike shannon on MARY OUR MOTHER

Debating the Legacy of Senator Ted Kennedy

As the American bishops have faced the crisis to religious liberty presented by the Obama Administration’s requirement for artificial contraception, sterilization and abortifacients in our health plans; it occurred to me that we were struggling with the ghost of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, no not his actual soul, but of his ideas and dissent.

Although Senator Ted Kennedy has been gone since 2009, critics wrongly still like to enumerate about his many personal scandals and general lack of discretion. Indeed, although they are all dead, the Kennedy boys are still the fodder for sensational tabloid journalism. True or not, I have no desire to enumerate upon such things. I still insist that ours has to be the posture of prayer for a man who was baptized and raised as a Catholic. God will be his judge, even as we continue to repair the damage that he did to the witness of the Church and the moral standing of our nation. Indeed, for all we know, God’s grace might have brought him to repentance and conversion at the last moments of life.

The president and many of his compatriots in the Democrat party (a fair number who are Catholics) have carried on the agenda that he pursued. NARAL had awarded the Massachusetts senator a 100% approval rating. He was the Catholic voice for the culture of death for a quarter of a century, supporting not only abortion but partial birth infanticide, the use of embryonic human beings for research, and same sex unions for homosexuals and lesbians. He also championed repression against free speech and religious liberties (at least for conservative, orthodox or biblical churches) by expanding “hate crimes” legislation to include criticism of gays.

He was also responsible for the increased politicization of the Supreme Court by his pro-abortion litmus test against the nomination of Judge Robert Bork, a strict-constructionist, in 1987. Judge Bork came into the Catholic Church a few years ago. At the time of his death, Senator Kennedy was advocating health care reform that would guarantee federal money for artificial contraception and abortions. His objective has now been met by the Department of Health and Human Services under President Obama.

While many acclaimed Senator Kennedy as a hero for women and the poor. Many pro-lifers regarded him as one of the nation’s chief enemies of motherhood and the poorest of the poor, innocent and voiceless children in the womb. When he died, he was favorably eulogized by representatives of Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights Action League, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgendered groups. They wept at the loss of one of their great defenders and proponents. Pro-life advocates observed that it was too bad that they neither wept for the murdered children nor about the decomposition of morals and marriage.

Supporters argue that Ted Kennedy was a pivotal figure in the transformation of the Democrat Party and its agenda, making possible the Obama presidency. He certainly made his impact felt upon history. He passed away from his brain cancer in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. First Joseph, then John, next Robert and then Teddy— the last of the Kennedy brothers went to God. But their convictions, both good and bad, are still with us. We applaud the emphasis upon racial justice, equality in opportunity for our citizens, the support and hope given to the poor, the protection of worker’s rights, etc. But we must lament the liberalism that now feeds a liberal secular humanism at war with the Church while seeking to redefine our nature and to strip away the rights of the unborn.

Discussion from 2009

The catalyst for this discussion was the death of Senator Edward Kennedy and his mixed legacy.  Be warned that some comments lack charity and suffer from bigotry.

GODLESS AMERICAN: Ah, more religious fanatics that demand people follow their beliefs when they can’t seem to follow their own. Cast a lot of stones, do we?

FATHER JOE: People of your sort would condemn Jesus and the apostles as fanatics, too. Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees as kin to the murderers of the prophets. It is not my fault that people pledged to promote the public good should violate their basic principles in enabling the murder of children in the womb. It is not my fault that Morality 101 should be dismissed as intolerance toward grievous sexual sin. I have always acknowledged myself as a sinner; however, that does not mean I must be silent against the wrongs committed by others. Even you judge, despite an atheistic attitude, because you condemn me. I can pray for the poor man and I can remember you to God. I cannot pretend that grievous wrongs are okay.

GODLESS AMERICAN: Father Joe, I’m atheist, there are no tenets against judging others. I freely judge whomever I choose. Those are your beliefs that you refuse to follow, not mine. Yes, I would have labeled the disciples as fanatics, and Jesus if I thought he actually existed. There is no hell, and there is no heaven. It’s sad that you’ve decided to dedicate your life to the hatred of other people, instead of spreading love and acceptance which some religious people choose to do. Your actions are no better than the Muslims that attacked America on 9/11.

FATHER JOE: Judgment about sin and judgment (i.e. condemnation) of sinners are two different things. Evidently you do not understand Christianity as much as you claim. Indeed, your dogmatism against Christ and the truths of religion is itself a kind of false religion or anti-religious faith. The most you could honestly embrace is a kind of agnosticism; in other words, that you doubt the existence of God and an afterlife. The denial of Jesus as a historical figure is pure bigotry and ignorance. You might not believe that he is God or that he performed miracles; but, there is sufficient evidence for his existence, even outside the Bible. The fact that you would compare me to the criminals who killed thousands of people on 9-11 shows the depth of your irrationality and depravity. I rarely ban people from my site, but congratulations, you pushed the right buttons. Time restraints and health concerns prevent me from trying to correct the lies and self-deception of people like you. Have a good life, and after your have gone for all the gusto of a dissolute life, look forward to being forgotten and either cremated or devoured by the worms. I suspect you will also be surprised, when you appear before the judgment seat of Christ. However, I will pray for you and if possible offer my poor intercession for your soul, which exists regardless of what you think.

BOB: Godless American, I’m afraid you are neither. Such monumental ignorance is hardly deserving of a response.

BRONX BILL: Hey Godless American, what offends you about Fr. Joe’s initial remarks? Except for the sentence, “It’s too bad they don’t weep for the murdered children…,” this entry could have appeared on Slate. He is summarizing the impact of Ted Kennedy’s work objectively and with minimal commentary. Or is it the lack of fawning praise for this “liberal lion” that has you upset? By the way, how the (he–two sticks) do you prove a universal negative statement – twice: “there is no hell” and “there is no heaven.” Or does this dogmatic proclamation come from a personal revelation you received? One would suspect that you are impressed with such emotional lectures as Senator Kennedy was known to give, untroubled by the rules of logic. When you speak of hatred of others, it’s best to start by looking in the mirror. There’s more intolerance in your words then in those of Father Joe that you are quick to condemn.

HOWARD: Father Joe, I can just say – “Amen.” Thank you for speaking the truth about this man. He was not a great American. He helped lead America down a horrible road – far away from God. God will judge America and Mr. Kennedy.

MARY: Thank you, Father Joe. I, too, hope that Senator Kennedy had the opportunity to reconcile with the Church before his death. If a public announcement is not made that he repudiated all his anti-life stances prior to a public funeral Mass, the scandal of Notre Dame will be child’s play in comparison. I am so grateful for the Catholic clergy (sadly few and far between) that stand up for the teachings of the Church… and I must now place you in the company of Archbishop Raymond Burke. My heart breaks for our Catholic young people and all everyday Catholics in the pews who are being led by the example of so many clergy to believe it is okay to ignore Church teaching on the life issues and not endanger their souls and the souls that are entrusted to them.


There are some words which are foul or mean and I will not use them. I changed this post many times and gave the benefit of a doubt to critics. Maybe I am naïve, but is the word “sodomite” now classified as a “bad” or “unacceptable” word? It was used in Scripture and that is where I first encountered it. Given what it means, how can one clean it up? The word “gay” is hardly descriptive and it destroys an otherwise perfectly good word for happiness. In any case, I have deleted the word from my post. Sorry if some view it as vulgar, but I intended it only as it has been traditionally defined in law and in reference to the Biblical testimony. There is nothing I can do about the pejorative connotation, especially since it refers to sinful acts that fall under the condemnation of God. But, if it is an unnecessary stumbling block for this particular discussion, I am not tied to the biblical term and will substitute a softer nomenclature in the post above… this time around. But, I do have my limits.

Some object to my calling abortion, “the murder of babies.” Again, I am not into the misdirecting semantics of speaking about “CHOICE” and “the selective termination of embryos or fetuses.”

Kennedy was lauded as the senator who cared the most about women. Well, I am all for saving women’s lives; however, some of those women are still in the womb. Human life is incommensurate.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the world and it makes big bucks on abortion. They own a lot of politicians and manipulate parties. Repression of speech and persecution of the Church is the end result. If they have their way, health plans operated by the Church will have to offer coverage for artificial contraception and abortion. Catholic doctors will have to do referrals for abortion and prescribe the abortifacient pills or face the loss of their licenses to practice. Catholic hospitals will be compelled to close because of such manipulation. Adoption services, as in Boston, will shut down because same-sex couples will insist upon adopting innocent children.

Universal healthcare, as it is currently being orchestrated, will mean more tax dollars into the pockets of Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Almost everyone on Clinton’s staff had past ties to them and many in the Obama administration did legal work for Planned Parenthood. Even good organizations like the NAACP have been infected by the acceptance of abortion as a solution to their problems instead of as a form of black genocide.

Kennedy helped to create this nightmare world. May God have mercy on his soul.

SOJOURNER: “It is impossible for us to refrain from speaking of what we have seen and heard”. (Acts 4:20). It is not for us to condemn; however, we are required to speak the truth and guide those who cannot see to it. This is the direction we receive at the end of every Mass. Jesus also lost many followers for speaking the truth. He lost thousands on the day he told them, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will have no salvation.” To whom should we go? I choose my Lord and my God!

AL: Father Joe, thank you for your words. It helped me to understand and put my thoughts into an ordered manner less vehement than many who covered the Senator’s passing.


Father Joe, concerning the proposed Health Care measures, members of Congress put up a smoke screen when they claimed that abortion was not included. Explicitly it is not, it is already presumed to be a standard benefit. In order that tax payer money not go for abortion, this needs to be made explicit with an amendment. As for Planned Parenthood, Congressman Mike Pence tried to cut off funding for them but was unsuccessful.

Yes, this is part of Big Ted’s liberal legacy: helping a privileged elite profit from the sufferings of the poor and defenseless, particularly the unborn. As with Dr. Tiller, I am not sad to hear of his passing. The dream that Kennedy was so interested in keeping alive was death for millions of infants waiting to be born. Now his dreams are dead and he must face the author of life. Would that he have felt remorse and confessed in his final moments that in due course he may find eternal peace.

NICK: Father Joe, thank you for your thoughts on Ted Kennedy. I agree completely. Also, thank you for this website. Your words are always encouraging and truthful, I just wish more priests were like you. God bless you!

COWARDLY: Father Joe is what’s wrong with the Catholic Church.

FATHER JOE: I take it then that you are pro-abortion and pro-homosexual unions. Sorry, but I cannot change the law of God.

COWARDLY: You are a terrible terrible person, how dare you speak about Sen. Kennedy like that.

FATHER JOE: I did not speak about the particulars of his personal life. However, his dissent against Catholic teaching and the Gospel of Life is part of the public record. You might be proud of it. I am ashamed that a Catholic could so betray the basic principles of our faith and human dignity. Many bishops and priests would have refused him Holy Communion. Some are upset that I would still pray for him; well, that is too bad. I am pledged to pray for souls, even those who are most reprehensible. I will add you to my prayer list.

COWARDLY: Re-read that part of the Bible about loving thy neighbor. You’re not winning anybody over.

FATHER JOE: I do love my neighbor, but love of God is first. We cannot betray Christ for human approval or to appease fickle sentiment. My job is not to make you like me but to preach the truth for the salvation of souls.

COWARDLY: This is the kind of [expletive deleted] that I’d expect to see on WorldNetDaily.com, not on the blog of a Catholic priest.

FATHER JOE: Check around, I am one of the kinder “orthodox” Catholic priests writing upon this subject. Maybe you have fallen into the clutches of those rascals who are silent about abortion, artificial contraception, divorce and adultery and remarriage, homosexual disorientation, etc.? I have not cursed or used vulgar language, as you have. I have urged hope for repentance, conversion and salvation. I can pray for the man but I cannot hail as a hero one who stood for so many things which I think are repulsive to God and degrading to human dignity and the sanctity of life.

A READER: Ted Kennedy cheated on an exam in college and was expelled. He also walked away from a car accident that resulted in another person’s death and didn’t report it until the next day. Now, we are making him out to be some kind of hero? Sorry, but I disagree with those of you who criticize a priest who has the intelligence and courage to speak out and share the actual facts about Ted Kennedy.

FATHER JOE: Young men often do many stupid things. My concern is more what the mature Kennedy did politically to help refashion American society along the lines of a radical liberalism often at odds with Christian morality and natural law. Again, we should all pray for his soul.

CHRIS: By now I’m sure Teddy knows just how well that whole abortion thing worked out for him. Money and family influence only work here on earth.

RICK: My prayer is that there would be a 100,000 Fr. Joe’s in our pulpits. Then for sure we wouldn’t have had the audacity to negate God’s condemnation of contraception. In 1930 the Anglicans were the first to condone birth control, with all Protestant denominations following. This has led inexorably to all the sexual debauchery we’ve been subjected to in the last 80 years. Kennedy was one of the main “Catholics” leading this rush to change God’s laws. If the Catholic Church had enough Fr. Joe’s, Kennedy would have been long ago excommunicated along with Pelosi, Biden, Leahy, Mikulski, Kerry, Durbin and many more “Catholics” in name only. Let us rejoice in the Lord for raising up Fr. Joe and pray that many more would have the courage to stand up and defend the faith.

MARY FRANCES: Rick, I’m praying the same right along with you. Father Joe, God bless you! May you always be the shining example that you are of courageous virtue in speaking the truth. And may your brother priests be likewise. I have placed you among the group of people in my heart for whom I pray daily.

JOHN: Ted Kennedy did more than anyone else in Congress to promote and protect abortion, and he is a Catholic. I would think every Catholic Priest should point this out.

FIN-TASTIC: Judging by the popularity of his blog, it seems Father Joe is winning over a lot of people!

RD: Great words, Father Joe. Something tells me, that like me, you did not have the stomach to endure Obama’s eulogy. Who was brave (or irreverent) enough to take Communion at the funeral Mass?

JOHN: Well said Father Joe! I won’t speak ill of the dead, but…it is about [deleted] time Ted made his exit. I have prayed that the people of Massachusetts vote in a replacement who has the kind of integrity which Ted found wanting and if the new senator is a Catholic, he or she will act like it means something.

PATRICK: Fear of the word ‘sodomite” is just MORE proof those liberals can’t face truth– instead they try to change the language. I wish the news would focus on some important things now.

MARY: I cannot disagree about abortion, etc. I am strongly pro-life; however, I am extremely distressed about the “taking communion if you are pro-choice is a mortal sin” stance. How DARE WE… How dare we decide what Catholic receives communion and what Catholic does not? Are we going to ask everyone in line – “excuse me, are you pro-choice?” This stand is becoming frightening and out of hand. I have talked to my brother-in-law about this, who is a priest as well. If someone has not had an abortion then who do we think we are? We are absolutely no different than the Pharisees with this mindset. We are not Christ-like in our thoughts and actions. Why don’t we just start another crusade while we are at it? The pope makes it quite clear as well that we are to take care of each other – a seamless cloak from the cradle to the grave…as Christ would. Does no one see how UN-Christian it is to argue against paying taxes (Those ridiculous Dems are at it again!)? How unloving to our neighbors.


The Church has the authority to impose interdict and to refuse the sacraments to those who cause public scandal, teach heresy, and who are not disposed for the sacrament because of mortal sin. Usually, we ask people to make this determination for themselves and if they are not prepared, to go to Mass but to excuse themselves from Holy Communion. Priests will tell people in private and in the confessional not to receive. It is doubtful you will see many priests reproach individuals from the pulpit or altar.

Public scandal and outward dissent is a far more serious matter. While the reception of Holy Communion by such people would constitute sacrilege and mortal sin; if kept quiet, they only damn themselves. In contrast, public division with the Church and then the outrage of receiving the sacrament of unity is a serious offense and disconnect with the faith witness that should be exhibited. It can lead others to sin or make them feel that anyone can receive regardless of faith and morals. Would we readily give Holy Communion to those who supported racial cleansing as in Hitler’s Germany, Eastern Europe and parts of Africa? Would we be comfortable in giving Holy Communion to those who supported a politics of hate and segregation which resulted in lynching and other racist acts? The problem is that we do not regard the unborn and the issue of abortion as on the same level. The Holy Father has written, even back when he was known as Cardinal Ratzinger, that sometimes the sacrament must be withheld. The seamless garment argument, much misunderstood and abused, was that of the late Cardinal Bernardin.

It is a false love that would readily give the sacrament to those who are not disposed. As the Scriptures relate and St. Augustine made clear, they receive their own judgment or condemnation. Every priest as Confessor is a judge of souls. He can withhold or give absolution. He can ask people not to receive, when they are not in good standing with the Church. Canonically, the Church permits all this. You cannot strip the bishops and their priests of this authority given by Christ in his keys. It is an essential element of Catholicism.

The issue is increasingly one of jurisdiction. What do I mean? For instance, can the archbishop of Baltimore order that a politician from the Wilmington diocese, also part of Maryland, not receive Holy Communion when he enters his archdiocese?

Further, one can be guilty of the sin of abortion without ever having an abortion herself. One can also be guilty through proximate and/or remote collaboration. The person who pays for an abortion is guilty of murder. The person who drives a girl to the abortion clinic is guilty of murder. (We even had a stupid priest do this a few years ago, thinking he was helping the poor girl.) The priest was excommunicated and had his faculties stripped. He could not say Mass or hear Confessions. Indeed, collaboration with abortion can sometimes bring most of the weight of the sin upon the secondary party. An instance of this is a parent who “forces” the daughter to have an abortion. A minor may have little or no culpability in such cases. The mother and father sin grievously and are automatically excommunicated. Nurses, doctors, and other support personnel in abortions are also morally culpable. Politicians who support abortion and infanticide are remote agents but agents all the same in the holocaust against children. While the degree of remoteness with its consequences is argued, it must be said that those who vote for the enablers and supporters of abortion and infanticide also have blood on their hands.

MARY: Father Joe, I am very much aware of what constitutes mortal sin and that one can be indirectly involved without actually committing mortal sin. I am pro-life all the way. I am abhorred by abortion as well as I am of the murder of my fellow neighbor. What is frightening to me is the fact that we take abortion and (very rightfully) discuss the evils and the “blood on our hands,” but to our convenience, we disregard any other murder that perhaps the conservative ticket is not against.

FATHER JOE: I am not speaking as a FOX News “conservative” commentator but as a Catholic priest. I would not negate the need to help the poor and to struggle for social justice in many areas. However, as the late Mother Teresa told us, the issue of abortion and the unborn is most fundamental and at the heart of the Gospel of Life. The Church gives a special gravity to the rights of the unborn, not only because of natural law, but because of Christianity’s stress upon the INCARNATION. There are many issues, but they are not regarded as equal. They are interconnected and the right to life of the unborn is foundational to many other rights. Destroy a human being in the womb, and at least for that person, there are no more issues. If the most vulnerable among us are not safe, no one is safe. Pope Benedict XVI has also spoken about this. My pro-life Catholicism and beliefs as an American citizen are not subject to review, approbation or rebuttal by the state or any political party. While the matter of something like capital punishment does not have the same moral weight in conscience as abortion and infanticide, certainly I lament that Catholics are sometimes not on the same page with the Pope and bishops. However, while there are legitimate arguments about capital punishment and just war, there are no reservations about the evil of abortion. It is never right to directly intend and to actualize the destruction of “innocent” life in the womb.

MARY: If those that voted for the democratic ticket have blood on their hands, then those that voted for the conservative party should look at the blood on their hands. Murder is murder is murder. Abortion is used as a gold ticket in politics, and I believe Roe vs. Wade still exists? None of us are exempt from our votes.

FATHER JOE: We all have blood on our hands. That is the doctrine which has come down to us from the Council of Trent. All men and women in every place and throughout all human history are responsible for the passion and death of Christ on the Cross. All sin makes us party to deicide. The particular sin of murder, in whatever form, is intimately tied up with Calvary. Abortion and infanticide have a singular place because their innocence resonates with Christ who is the “innocent” Victim, the unblemished Lamb, who suffers a redemptive death against the sins of the world.

MARY: Father Joe, I am saying this with all respect for you and your vocation, but I am noticing that we are all too quick to use our political beliefs and wrap it in morality. This is very frightening to me. I believe it is wrong to speak of one party being “evil,” and the other party as “the right way to vote.”


There is right and wrong in all parties. But, parties can become corrupted. The Nazis were a political party which won elections and then sought to retain power by force. Pope Pius XI condemned it. Along with the Communist party, members of these associations were told that they could not belong both to such parties and to the Church. WIKIPEDIA states: “He vehemently protested against both Communism and National Socialism as demeaning to human dignity and a violation of basic human rights, but found no echo or support in the democracies of the West, which he labeled a Conspiracy of Silence.” The parties might change, but the silence still threatens us. Passivity to evil is to cooperate with evil.

Worse yet, what happens when so-called Catholics actually become advocates and enablers for the enemies of life? Remember evil men are rarely or never totally evil. They care for pets. They might love their children. They might have an affinity toward the needs of women. There can be a real regard for the poor. Hit-men and abortionists can still come home to their families and even go to church. But, if one should fall into mortal sin, without repentance, conversion, and amendment of life… no good work or act of charity would have any merit whatsoever. As I said before, I do not pretend to read souls or to know how God will judge particular people. I condemn no one. But, there is a Tribunal before which we will all stand. No one will escape the judgment of God. Yes, there is forgiveness in Christ, but not so abundant that it would destroy or make a farce out of divine justice.

Returning to the matter of parties, would we not condemn today much about which the Nazis and Communists advocated and sought to execute? History will judge us as well. What can we say about any party which makes the murder of children part of its platform and the litmus test for appointments? We can scapegoat neither Jews nor children. Rome used to have a vigorous Christian party which was closely associated with the Church. There is nothing wrong with that and I would applaud a recovery of lay Catholic Action groups in our own nation. I am not advocating an end to the separation of Church and state. However, there should not be civil enmity to genuine faith and the moral values which best promote human dignity, the sanctity of life, and human liberty. Good Catholics in political life should promote what they truly believe and not compromise on fundamental truths just to get re-elected.

MARY: I respect your opinions Father Joe, and I enjoy this blog, but we all need to look at ourselves and the responsibility we have for any party we voted for. Neither is exempt.

FATHER JOE: Yes, I agree.

SCOOTER: Yeah I agree with Father Joe. Ted Kennedy supported abortion and all that [deleted] and that’s not good at all. To the person under “Cowardly” that said “You are a terrible terrible person, how dare you speak about Senator Kennedy like that.” That’s so dumb. I’m guessing you worship Teddy Kennedy.

CABBAGEJUICE: Re: Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick: Capital Punishment for the rich and powerful– “If you have Capital, you don’t get Punishment.” (That is, the in world governed by Satan, NOT the Kingdom of God…)

RD: I’ve read in the New York Times article that Senator Kennedy went to this church where the funeral is being held on his own a few times, it doesn’t say at Mass, it says alone and with his wife last year when his daughter was in hospital, to reflect and pray. Ted Kennedy is quoted: “Separation of church and state cannot mean an absolute separation between moral principles and political power.” He also said: “The separation of church and state can sometimes be frustrating for women and men of religious faith. They may be tempted to misuse government in order to impose a value which they cannot persuade others to accept. But once we succumb to that temptation, we step onto a slippery slope where everyone’s freedom is at risk.” He also stated: “The real transgression occurs when religion wants government to tell citizens how to live uniquely personal parts of their lives. The failure of Prohibition proves the futility of such an attempt when a majority or even a substantial minority happens to disagree. Some questions may be inherently individual ones, or people may be sharply divided about whether they are. In such cases, like Prohibition and abortion, the proper role of religion is to appeal to the conscience of the individual, not the coercive power of the state. ” I see irreconcilability between the first statement and the other two. It is my belief that Mr. Kennedy will now learn what the word “transgression” really means.

KEN: Blessings and prayers for the courage to speak the truth, Father Joe. Christ lost followers, even some of His first disciples when he spoke the truth, without modifying it when he gave us his own Body and Blood. When asked, what must I do to be saved, did He say, “oh, try to do some good, be popular and it will be ok”? His command was pretty harsh to the guy who didn’t want to give up his earthly possessions. Until he repented, I doubt St. Augustine was a bad fellow by today’s standards– he just wanted to hang onto his sins of the flesh.


RD, I would hope and pray that Ted Kennedy made a good confession before his death, and far be it from me to speculate on what was in his heart, BUT…BUT…

If I understand the Sacrament correctly, courtesy of the habit wearing Holy Cross Sisters who taught at the parochial school I went to, God’s forgiveness is not a one way street. Kennedy had plenty of opportunity to publicly correct his legacy of abortion advocacy during his protracted illness. He didn’t (unless he was denied so by the political powers that be). His Holiness Benedict XVI comments on this in his book Jesus of Nazareth. Part of the deal is making amends to those who were hurt by one’s sins. In Kennedy’s case that would include the Democratic Party, several generations of Americans, the Holy Church, the medical profession and the Holy Innocents…the list goes on and on.

JOE: Father Joe, like sickly moths drawn to a robust fire do these atheists swarm to your blog. Not many other Catholic blogs and websites I frequent have such a high concentration, so I believe you must be doing something right. Keep up the good fight, and me and mine shall pray for your continued success. God bless.


Human Life International’s Statement on the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy

August 27, 2009

We must, as a matter of precept, pray for the salvation of heretical Catholics like Senator Edward Kennedy, but we do not have to praise him let alone extol him with the full honors of a public Catholic funeral and all the adulation that attends such an event. There was very little about Ted Kennedy’s life that deserves admiration from a spiritual or moral point of view. He was probably the worst example of a Catholic statesman that one can think of. When all is said and done, he has distorted the concept of what it means to be a Catholic in public life more than anyone else in leadership today.

Obviously we don’t know the state of Senator Edward Kennedy’s soul upon death. We don’t pretend to. We are told by the family that he had the opportunity to confess his sins before a priest, and his priest has said publicly he was “at peace” when he died. For that we are grateful. But it is one thing to confess one’s sins and for these matters to be kept, rightfully, private. It is another thing entirely for one who so consistently and publicly advocated for the destruction of unborn human beings to depart the stage without a public repudiation of these views, a public confession, as it were.

It is up to God to judge Senator Kennedy’s soul. We, as rational persons, must judge his actions, and his actions were not at all in line with one who values and carefully applies Church teaching on weighty matters. Ted Kennedy’s positions on a variety of issues have been a grave scandal for decades, and to honor this “catholic” champion of the culture of death with a Catholic funeral is unjust to those who have actually paid the price of fidelity. We now find out that President Obama will eulogize the Senator at his funeral, an indignity which, following on the heels of the Notre Dame fiasco, leaves faithful Catholics feeling sullied, desecrated and dehumanized by men who seem to look for opportunities to slap the Church in the face and do so with impunity simply because they have positions of power.

It is not enough for Kennedy to have been a “great guy behind the scenes” as we have seen him referred to even by his political opponents. It is also not praiseworthy to put a Catholic rhetorical veneer on his leftist politics that did nothing to advance true justice as the Church sees it or to advance the peace of Christ in this world. Every indication of Senator Kennedy’s career, every public appearance, every sound bite showed an acerbic, divisive and partisan political hack for whom party politics were much more infallible than Church doctrines. Whatever one’s political affiliation, if one is only “Catholic” to the extent that his faith rhymes with his party line, then his Catholicism is a fraud.

As the Scriptures remind us, there is a time for everything under the sun. This, now, is the time for honesty about our Faith and about those who are called to express it in the public forum. If we do not remind ourselves of the necessity of public confession for public sins such as Senator Kennedy was guilty of, then we are negligent in our embrace of the Faith and we are part of the problem. As Pope Benedict has reminded us recently, charity without truth can easily become mere sentimentality, and we must not fall into that error. A Catholic show of charity for the family must not eclipse the truth that is required of all with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Senator Kennedy needs to be sent to the afterlife with a private, family-only funeral and the prayers of the Church for the salvation of his immortal soul. He will not be missed by the unborn who he betrayed time and time again, nor by the rest of us who are laboring to undo the scandalous example of Catholicism that he gave to three generations of Americans.

ENZO: Reverend Father, THANK YOU for speaking the truth on our auto-excommunicated Senator. I appreciate that you have been very Roman about your critique — not impugning his personal life, but being clear about his public record. Nothing could be more FAIR, JUST, and Righteous! If only his Bishop had the testicular fortitude to say the same things! Instead, the Diocesan Paper out in Boston, essentially praises him, and tries to minimize the fact that Kennedy actively worked for the destruction of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, directly, and mostly, indirectly. Intellectually, I join you in your prayers for the rest of his soul. Physically, it’s very hard for me (and many others, I think) to distinguish where our personal concern for him as a brother in Christ ends, and where the hurt for his apostasy, and bitterness for all the evil he wrought, begins… Perhaps you can pray for us too. Christus Vincit!

RD: Personal eulogies at Mass? Father Joe, I’ve never seen that before. Comments? The video feed wouldn’t show the Holy Communion line. Not surprised, and I do recognize that as private, although I must say I am disappointed.

FATHER JOE: Eulogies often come at the end of a funeral Mass before the prayers of final commendation. My main concern was that the prayer of the faithful or general intercessions not be politicized.

DAVID: I am sure that by now, Ted Kennedy has seen all the aborted children that he helped to an early grave. How sad. Mr. Kennedy, you have moved on to your reward. I do not want any part of your reward. You are surely [deleted], and if not it would only be for the grace of God. Wake up!


Edward Kennedy’s Final Letter to Pope

At Arlington Cemetery, Cardinal McCarrick read portions of Kennedy’s letter to the Pope:

“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.”

“The gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provides solace to me in the darkest hours.”

“I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path.”

He stressed his belief “in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field,” and said that he would “continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone.”

“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 of my faith.”

“I continue to pray for God’s blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me.”

The Pope prayed that the senator would be “sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father.”

JOHN: The letter Cardinal McCarrick refers to appears to be only more smoke and mirrors from someone (perhaps with a red hat?) wishing to carry on the Kennedy legacy of confusion among Catholics: http://www.ewtn.com/news/blog.asp?blog_ID=2

FATHER JOE: Cardinal McCarrick was my Ordinary and I pray for him daily. He was often very kind and gracious to me, despite possible differences of opinion. I am still intensely bothered in conscience as to whether I always gave him the proper respect and obedience. He walked a very precarious tight-rope, as does any archbishop of the nation’s capitol. Despite the conflict about pro-abortion politicians and holy communion, he spoke about the right to life frequently and did much in the cause for life: Pregnancy Centers, Gabriel Project, Project Rachel, the Right to Life Office of the Archdiocese, Pro-Life Month, Respect Life in the African-American Community Month, the Right to Life March and the Youth Rally, etc. He felt that if we reacted too strongly we would drive certain politicians further away from the Church and forfeit their support in other crucial areas. He hoped that we might win them back gradually through dialogue and compassion for their struggles in conscience. I have no doubt that he is solidly pro-life in his convictions. But he is a gentle man; he would heal where my impulse is to clobber. We would probably all do better to borrow pages from his book. By contrast, I am much more brash in my arguments and unsympathetic toward those who dissent. I believe that the pro-abortion position is not only a moral evil but a heresy against the Incarnation itself. I would have asked them to attend Mass but not to receive communion until a public recantation and private confession. But, I am only a lowly priest. That is undoubtedly for the best. Maybe he asked them something similar, but they did not listen to him and he opted to keep the business to himself? In any case, priests should love their bishops and I will not speak ill of him. He is a good man, far better than I am, and I still count him my spiritual father.

RD: What a perfect response/prayer by the Holy Father. The Pope prayed that the senator would be “sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father.”


Yes, you are right about that much; you are an angry man who shows no compassion and gentleness to others.

Senator Kennedy did more for the working man and woman, as well as for the poor and minorities, than many presidents. He made a positive difference in our lives that neither you nor other hate-mongers in the church could ever match.

He cared about women who died in back-alley abortions and swore that this would never happen again.

He cared about gays and lesbians who were treated as criminals for just loving each other.

He cared about minorities when so many whites still regarded them as second-class citizens and turned a blind eye toward segregation and prejudice.

He cared about the poor, something a millionaire did not have to do, but which his sense of justice demanded of him.

He cared about the immigrants and their needs for education and just treatment, remembering the roots of his own Irish forebears who suffered bigotry and hardship but accomplished much.

Shame on you! You malign the dead and a good man, a hero for the ages!

You are nothing by comparison; maybe that is the point? Your own ego seeks to make yourself more by tearing down a real man of faith and compassion.

Those who praise you are no better. The whole lot of you is hard-headed and insensitive to the REAL needs of people.

BOB: Flagman, Fr. Joe hasn’t an ounce of “hate” in him, except for sin; but that’s for the behavior, not the sinner. It is tragic that women died from “back-alley” abortions, but you don’t condone something that’s morally wrong – like the murder of an innocent unborn – because one of the victims died. That’s as ridiculous and outrageous and wrong as a court awarding a burglar damages for injuries he sustained while robbing someone’s home. Except for some archaic and not enforced laws still on the books in some states, gays and lesbians haven’t been treated as “criminals” for a long time, and Fr. Joe has always viewed those with a homosexual orientation with nothing but compassion; however, a psychological or physiological disorder of epidemic proportions is nonetheless a disorder. Yes, Ted Kennedy did a lot of good. He also disqualified himself as a Catholic by his voting record on Life issues. The right to LIFE is the most basic and the foundation of all other human rights, and if that is denied, the rest of the entire edifice is most assuredly a “house built on sand.”

JOHN: My sincere apology to you, Father Joe, for bringing up Mr. Arroyo’s post about His Holiness’ letter. I am sure the Cardinal is a kind man as are most of the priests I have had the pleasure to know personally.

FATHER JOE: No offense taken, John.

RD: Flagman, if a woman is going to have a back-alley abortion, I say she only injures herself, deservedly. This country was fine with abortions illegal for 197 years. As far as Ted Kennedy helping the working people, he never knew an honest day’s work in his entire life. He never had to worry about the demands this country has placed on working families and individuals in a personal way. Why do so many working people oppose his actions? Do not confuse being generous with taxpayer dollars as generosity. The Catholic Church does more for the poor and persecuted in this world than all the Democrats ever will. And, they do it through donations to Catholic charities, not forcibly stealing from hard-working Americans.

DAN: Flagman, your post sounded angry and without compassion…. I think that you might miss the point which is that Senator Kennedy was a Catholic who did NOT use his influence to promote Catholic values. Did he have his reasons? I am sure that he did, including wanting to remain in a powerful and influential position. This is a CATHOLIC blog – so why the surprise that it tends to judge things through a Catholic frame of reference?

PAT: I believe The Lord Jesus and the Holy Father are not in need of “judges,” juries, or pointing fingers. Speaking the truth must be with charity, not with a club, and certainly not focusing on an individual, by name, and proceeding to enumerate all his sins. Gee………

FATHER JOE: Christ established a Church and gave Peter the keys to the kingdom. Every priest is a judge and confessor of souls. We keep to ourselves that which comes through the sacrament of reconciliation. We are prudent about our parishioners and the counsel we give. However, neither the Church nor her priests should be afraid to respond to evil and dissent in the public forum. I make no judgment upon anyone’s soul. I would not even presume that Stalin or Hitler is in Hell, despite the fact that their “politics” resulted in the murder of millions. For all we know there was mental illness and/or diabolic possession. Many regard it highly likely that they share the lot of the damned, but I would never claim to know for sure. I have not spoken about anyone’s personal life. Kennedy supported same-sex unions, abortion, and partial birth infanticide. He made no secret about it and we should not be dismissive about his record now that he is dead. Indeed, many are celebrating his record and want abortion coverage in the new health care initiatives as a tribute to him. Abortion and infanticide are known by another word, MURDER. You might claim to be pro-life, but you would silence our efforts against the enablers and promoters of such perversity. That is wrong.

PAT: I wonder what Father would have said if he had encountered Paul on the road to Damascus? Read him the “riot act”?


Speaking to the Pharisee Saul (Paul) who approved of the stoning of Stephen, I would have quoted Christ:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.”

“Woe to you, blind guides!”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity.”

“Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.”

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets; now fill up what your ancestors measured out! You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?”

“Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that there may come upon you all the righteous blood shed upon earth, from the righteous blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Amen, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate.”

Of course, our Lord struck him blind, charged him with his participation in murder, and sent him to a member of the Church for healing and the full truth.

PAT: We are called to be witnesses of the love and mercy of Jesus Christ, to the saints AND the sinners, speaking out the truth, not with sarcasm and “vinegar”, but as Christ would have us do. The sinner has a choice, and the judgment is none of our business.

FATHER JOE: Our Lord was not wimpish and neither should his Church and ministers be so against evil, both from outside and within the Church. The Church preaches the Gospel both in and out of season. The Church imposes sanctions against those who commit evil. Abortion brings excommunication. Heresy can bring censure and interdiction. The Code of Canon Law itself makes provisions against groups and individuals that probably you would not allow. I have never said that the late Senator should be denied a funeral Mass and prayers. I did object to that Mass being televised. Objecting to scandal, false witness and collaboration with abortion is very much the business of a priest, indeed, of any true Christian.

EWTN: EWTN News Director Raymond Arroyo:

The prayer intercessions at the funeral mass, the endless eulogies, the image of the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston reading prayers, and finally Cardinal McCarrick interring the remains sent an uncontested message: One may defy Church teaching, publicly lead others astray, deprive innocent lives of their rights, and still be seen a good Catholic, even an exemplary one.

ALL: American Life League President Judie Brown:

The entire travesty, from the television cameras to spectacle itself, goes beyond anything I have witnessed in my more than 65 years of life. In fact, while we all thought the appearance of President Barack Obama at the University of Notre Dame was a scandal, the very idea that he offered a eulogy in a basilica, while the real presence of Christ was in the tabernacle, is perhaps the most dastardly thing I have ever seen.

CARDINAL O’MALLEY: Cardinal Sean O’Malley:

Senator Kennedy was often a champion for the poor, the less fortunate and those seeking a better life. Across Massachusetts and the nation, his legacy will be carried on through the lives of those he served.

CATHOLICS UNITED: Senator Kennedy’s legendary advocacy for justice and the common good – on issues such as health care, immigration, community service, and poverty – spanned more than four decades and touched millions.

CATHOLICS BETRAYED: Catholics United is a pro-abortion front-group for Obama. They support current healthcare efforts which include artificial contraception and abortion. They have publicly attacked Donohue from the Catholic League and Brown from the American Life League. They talk about a preposterous “abortion neutral” stance which is really just more passivity to the murder of millions. They distribute voter guides which equate matters as having the same gravity like clean water with infanticide. Their purpose is clear, to minimize the crucial moral evils against human life and marriage under a large list of issues that better fit their liberal agenda. Back in October, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput accused Catholics in Alliance and Catholics United as doing a “disservice” to the Catholic Church. If you read A NATION FOR ALL by the founders of Catholic United, you will see just how progressive and non-Catholic both Chris Korzen and Alexia Kelley actually are. Since they delivered the Catholic vote, Alexia Kelly was rewarded by Obama by being made the Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the HHS. Bill Donohue, Catholic League president, claims pro-abortion multibillionaire George Soros funds Catholic United (a dissenting so-called Catholic organization) in order to confuse Catholics about abortion and funnel votes for pro-abortion Democrats and Obama. Donohue writes: “Catholics in Alliance [for the Common Good] willfully misrepresents Church teachings on abortion, and George Soros funds them through the Open Society Institute. Is it illegal? No. Is it immoral? Yes!”

ANNIE: Once God has His hand on a man, we should take ours off. Shout out about the issues, but let the dead bury the dead.


Both the living and the dead are always in God’s hands.

Where does the man end and the issues begin?

We might leave this world for eternity, but the effects (good and bad) continue to be felt.

Dissenters in faith and morals can cause immeasurable harm both in life and death. Those who pay tribute to Kennedy are also seeking to use him and his legacy to inspire and to promote abortion and perversity. Only God knows his heart and mind. Only God is his judge. I am sure that he, along with all the dead, knows the truth. The unborn are human persons. Unfortunately, what he knows now is not something that his earthly disciples believe or promote. Given the presumption that he was a good man, I suspect this causes him great remorse. I suppose such is what many will experience in purgatory.

JOHN: Cardinal O’Malley, Kennedy’s legacy will be carried on through the lives of those he served as you’ve said, but what sort of legacy has he left us? A controlling political party which has made abortion a cornerstone in its platform and made it a “right?” A so-called “health care reform” so ambiguous that it terrifies the elderly and working classes alike? His campaigning for President Obama, whose dealings with the Catholic Church have been one continuous string of insults (anti-Catholic political appointments, as well as the mockery at Notre Dame) His leadership by example which inspired a generation of Americans that power equals immunity from criminal prosecution. Some people have been helped by Kennedy’s legislation but I feel his agenda was never to help, only to build a power base which in gratitude tolerates hostility to the Church. Respectfully, I beg to disagree.

ANNIE: Father, cConsider that you are preaching to the choir. You have a forum for teaching us how to protect the unborn with positive actions. What do bringing dead flowers to Kennedy’s grave accomplish? I’m genuinely upset by this kind of rhetoric.

FATHER JOE: Not everyone who comes here is the choir, and some of the choir members may even be singing off key if not the wrong tune. I take it that you also disagree with Human Life International and the American Life League? I am not alone in my reservations. This was a teaching moment and the Church allowed a contradictory message to be taught. In any case, I said we should pray for the poor man. I suspect some are upset because I refuse to praise him.

NICK: Cardinal O’Malley, iIs that ALL you have to say? My response to your comment will be just as brief: Would you like some bread to go along with that baloney? All due respect – Your Eminence.


Except for affection for certain prayers and piety, was Kennedy really a Catholic? Kennedy had no reservations about abortion and contraception. The funeral Mass should have used his votes for the litany of petitions:

Voted NO on defining unborn child as eligible for SCHIP

Voted NO on prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion

Voted YES on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines

Voted NO on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions

Voted YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives

Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime

Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life

Voted NO on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions

Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions

Voted NO on banning human cloning

Voted to ensure access to and funding for contraception

JOHN: Blabber Mouth, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Some very important clergy (the ones at the funeral, for starters) don’t (or refuse) to see Kennedy’s hand in the causality of genocidal sin which cries to heaven for justice. Why this is, I can only guess, but that I fear would be a waste of time and only open me to attacks of “passing judgment.” I will say that whatever or whomever has their “hooks” in these men, be they spiritual or corporeal, has them sunk in deep. We all have our failings. The more famous get to have their failings made more public. Sadly, these priests were caught doing the unthinkable on national television, furthering the scandals from which the Church in the US suffers. They need our prayers.

MINDY: Honestly, the whole Ted Kennedy Funeral Parade with the full participation of members of the clergy, some of whom at very high levels, made me question a lot of things. We don’t know if the senator made a confession and was remorseful for his wrong doings during his personal life and very public career. The choices he made in the public arena did great harm to women, and while I can give praise for his aide in the civil rights movement- I can’t forget he discarded the weakest among us. I guess I do not understand what a proper confession and atonement should be. Words of praise from monsignors, cardinals, archbishops and a letter from the Holy Father made no sense to me. If he were to be truly sorry for his sins against the right to life, why would not a man in his position be asked to say something to that fact? His words WERE read from the grave, but, to the best of my recollection, they said nothing about the sanctity of the life of an unborn child. I didn’t understand the Clergy’s support of him and the high praise for his family, so many whom support abortion.

PAT: There is no argument here, amongst Catholic Christians regarding abortion and homosexuality etc and the teachings of the Church.

FATHER JOE: I disagree; I think there is an argument. Abortion is the murder of human beings. You would have me praise those who support such actions. Because I refuse to do this, you condemn me.

PAT: What there is here is disagreement on Father’s tone toward those who sin and violate the teachings of Christ and the Church.

FATHER JOE: My tone toward sin is the same as that announced by John the Baptist, Christ and later his apostles: REPENT AND BELIEVE! Forgiveness is possible, but we also need contrition and a firm purpose of amendment.

PAT: …except, Father, and friends…that happens to be each and every one of us, not one of us is deserving of the love and mercy of God. “All have sinned….” And let’s not get into the mortal and venial sermon…as if you can size up your transgressions as small, medium and large.

FATHER JOE: The distinctions between mortal and venial sin are straight out of the Catholic catechism. They are not matters easily dismissed. Abortion and homosexual acts constitute grave matter. If a person knows such acts are wrong and gives full consent, or enables and/or leads others into such sins, he or she sins mortally. Mortal sin destroys the life of the soul.

PAT: …although Father I am sure you will quote something for me on that… that is not the point… and the reply you wrote about what you would say to Saul on that road, although you quoted Jesus’ words to the Pharisees, was Not what words Saul heard.

FATHER JOE: I am not Jesus; you asked what I would say? Saul was a Pharisee. He admits later on that he was guilty of innocent blood. He repents and is changed. But without repentance, can there be any real transformation?

PAT: Saul heard, “Why do you persecute me?”

FATHER JOE: And I suspect that many pro-abortion politicians will hear these words from Jesus. But remember, Saul was still alive and could change. Had he heard these words after death, they would have constituted a definitive judgment. Why did you persecute me in the womb? Why did you seek out my life again and again? Why was it you could love others, but not me as the embryo, the fetus, and the infant ready to be born?

PAT: You are not a reader of hearts, or souls, but the Lord is, and knows our deepest motivations.

FATHER JOE: I am a confessor of souls with the same power that Christ had to forgive or to retain sins. Jesus gave this power to his priests. Even the late senator purportedly received the Last Rites from a priest. About this and his funeral Mass I fully concur. He had a right to the sacraments at the end of his life. He was entitled to a funeral Mass, although the public display sent mixed messages. I make no claim of knowledge about his place in the hereafter. Indeed, I suggest we pray for him. But that is not enough for you and some others. Your bitterness and hatred toward me is very evident. But you also attack the Catholic priesthood.

PAT: I also disagree that you say a priest is a “judge” and confessor. A priest is no judge; withholding absolution, does not a Judge make.


You would reject here another doctrine of the Church. The priest as confessor is judge, spiritual physician, father and teacher. He judges whether one might be given absolution and restored to the sacraments and good standing of the Church. He has the power to lift the censure of excommunication from those who have involved themselves with abortion. He makes a determination as to a person’s disposition. If it is clearly a bad confession, he urges the person to make further reflection and to return when he or she is serious about seeking God’s mercy. He gives penance and can also require reparation and restitution.

I have deleted the last part of Pat’s comment because such a “personal” attack against a priest by a believer is itself a sin. I would not parade your disgrace further upon this matter.

I will add you to my prayers and hope that you will one day wake up to the full import of the Gospel of Life and the important mission of priests to preach the truth both in and out of season… even to our own.

PAUL: Father Joe: I thought your comments on Senator Kennedy were entirely appropriate. There is a fine line between being righteous and self-righteous. We are not judge and jury. Just like the older brother in the “Prodigal” story, we must not give in to our feeling about a particular person. God will judge the Senator by his own standards not Man’s.