Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Catholics react to the death of Ted Kennedy

In the National Catholic Reporter, Sister says she was inspired by the late senator:
But today feels a bit like the end of an era. Ted Kennedy, like his brothers, was a champion of civil rights, women’s rights, and the welfare of the “least of these.” He strongly and eloquently opposed the war in Iraq. Because his life (and the lives of others in his family) embraced the great Catholic social justice tradition, they have made me proud to be a Catholic.
Patrick Madrid responds on his blog:
At best, Mr. Kennedy was highly selective as to which of "the least among us" he would deign to defend. Case in point: Abortion. The senator established his record squarely on the extremist position of defending the legality of abortion.
Many are not aware that he was originally publicly pro-life (I comment on the details of his transformation from pro-life to pro-abortion here).As a result of Ted Kennedy's indefatigable championing of the pro-abortion movement, tens of millions of the "least among us" — unborn girls and boys — were killed through abortion under his senatorial auspices.Whatever his positive qualities may have been, and no doubt he had some, the tragic reality is that Senator Kennedy's long political career was squandered by his vociferous, relentless promotion of abortion. And that, sadly, will be his enduring legacy.
A post at America Magazine finds his post boorish and offensive:
Someone named Patrick Madrid, who runs a blog and is involved with something called the Envoy Institute at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina, decided to attack my colleague at NCR Sister Maureen Fiedler for her post remembering the late Senator. "Maureen, with all due respect," he begins, words that reek of condescension.
Who are these people? To what level of boorishness have the spokespeople for the pro-life community descended? And, it is any wonder we keep losing the political fight for life when some of our own exercise such obvious, callous, inhumane indecency as to ignore a lifetime of good works, render judgment not just on a man’s ideas but on his soul, and to speak ill of the dead when the body is still warm. It is shameful. And, I hope the bishops recognize that it is counter-productive to the pro-life goals we should share. Hatefulness is not attractive or persuasive.
If you are damning someone for being condescending and boorish, should you be so blatantly condescending and boorish?

One of the comments caught my attention:
Senator Kennedy did more for the unborn by turning Catholic Social Teaching into law than anyone in the pro-life movement. Had it not been for his list of accomplishments in the social welfare area, the abortion rate would have been much higher, as people would have been poorer, felt more trapped and resorted to abortion more often.
I can make arguments for and against markets and socialism, but I have no idea how you can argue that social-welfare legislation increases national wealth to the extent that this comment suggests. It is not government social programs and welfare programs that create wealth. Inventors and entrepreneurs working in the private sector create wealth. It is discouraging to see comments that betray this complete lack of understanding of why we are a wealthy country, but I suspect that in some intellectual circles that sort of sentiment is acceptable.

Elizabeth Scalia reflects on the exchange at First Things.

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