The Catholic Thing
Now Kennedy is Really Dead Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Thursday, 21 January 2010

What faithful Catholic did not ponder late Tuesday night that the election of Scott Brown to the “Kennedy seat” was God's judgment on Kennedyism. Kennedyism being the proposition that one may defend the sick and the poor in some circumstances but in other circumstances support their deliberate killing.

After all, Brown's election is the precursor to the final deathblow to Kennedy's lifetime project to nationalize health care. And though Brown did not run as a pro-lifer, he ran to kill that monstrous bill, which would have been the largest expansion of baby killing in our post-Roe history.

There are reports that Democrats even lost Hyannis Port, that fabled location in our national mythology. Is it possible that the Kennedy contagion has finally and happily passed?

Teddy Kennedy was one of the most poisonous figures in both our national politics and in our Church. His disgraceful and dishonest performance at the hearings for Robert Bork to the Supreme Court was a watershed in our venomous political discourse (He sheepishly told Bork later, “nothing personal,” as if the judge accepted, as Ted did, that sometimes you just have to tell malicious lies in politics.) What’s more, and worse, Kennedy led the way for Catholic politicians and their followers to support the killing of unborn children and still delude themselves into thinking they remained good Catholics.

A few years ago a senior member of Kennedy’s staff called one of the organizers of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast who had been quoted in the paper that Kennedy would be welcome to come to the breakfast, but he would never get the microphone. The staff member was stunned that one of America’s most prominent Catholics would be spoken of thus. He even tried to convince the prayer breakfast organizers that Kennedy was really pro-life.

A few months ago the Democratic front group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good hosted a fundraiser featuring the pro-abortion pol Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and referred to her as coming from the most prominent Catholic family in America.

In some hearts Camelot will never die. Not even losing the “Kennedy seat” will douse the flame of their ardor – dreams of ponies, fine-cut lawns, sailboats, touch football, and pool-parties at Hickory Hill. Hickory Hill is now run down and for sale. Nobody wants it, and for most of us Camelot died roughly at the same time that Mary Jo Kopechne gasped unsuccessfully for one more breath.

And so, we may breathe a sigh of relief. No more will this family darken our national discourse. There were heirs apparent. They say the competition was between Bobby’s son Joe III who had dropped out of Congress and now partners with Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez to sell heating oil in New England, and Jack’s daughter Caroline who turned out to be not so bright or talented in her quixotic quest to be named U.S. Senator from New York. However, neither of them grabbed for the brass ring.

There are other Kennedys around. Of Ted’s progeny, there is drug-and-drink-troubled Patrick who will likely never rise above his current Congressional seat in Rhode Island. Teddy Jr. seems an impressive young man whose eulogy for his father was a high point in an otherwise troubling funeral Mass, but he expresses no interest in elective office.

Among Bobby’s brood, daughter Kathleen has already run through her political career. Except for his brother who died of an overdose, Bobby Jr. had perhaps the most troubled adolescence, even doing heroin with Lemoyne Billings, one of Jack’s PT-109 buddies. Daughter Kerry published a book about how she remains a Catholic though she disagrees with the teachings of the Church. There are others including Shrivers and Smiths, but I could not name them without Wikipedia.

So what of the fourth generation? The Kennedys are fecund and there are many of them. One of the oddest moments at the Kennedy funeral was when a network commentator gushed about the political future of eleven-year-old Teddy III who, in a televised interview that day, seemed both sweet and precocious. He announced he intended to be US Senator from Massachusetts when he turns forty-five. What is it about this family that some cast their dreams on eleven-year-old boys?

While the Kennedys seem thankfully to be finished in politics, what about Kennedyism? Well, of course, it lives on. Think Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, Durbin, Murray and all the other Catholics who sully our politics and our Church by supporting the right to kill unborn babies. These, too, are Teddy Kennedy’s progeny and while I do not judge his soul I have no doubt he has had to answer for them.

But who knows. Maybe little Teddy III will become a faithful Catholic and a pro-life hero. Perhaps he will be like Eunice and not like Grandpa Ted. Even pro-lifers can have their Camelot fantasies.


Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.

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Comments (41)Add Comment
written by Charles Cavender, January 22, 2010
Kennedys did not support abortion. They supported the right of a woman to choose. The concept of free will is an integral part of the catechism I was taught. I wish the right to life obsessed among us would spend more time attmepting to persuade young women as to the correct path and less time indulging in fear-mongering and vitriol. It is for God to judge the Kennedys, and I dare say most of them have records of public service which would put most of their critics to shame.
The World, the Flesh, etc
written by William H. Phelan, January 22, 2010
Thank you for an excellent article, Mr. Ruse. In the 1930s and 40s, I am told, Catholics were warned of the World, the Flesh and the Devil., as they could lead one to damnation. Bp. Tobin said as much in his warning to Patrick Kennedy, to whit, if your job endangers your soul, leave the job! The Kennedys tried to walk the fine line and, as a moth to a flame, they were drawn in to their own destruction, taking others with them.
thank you
written by Gini, January 22, 2010
Thank you or finally spelling out the truth on the Kennedy clan. So much poor influence on all the population. Now to undo the harm they caused! But we can and will do the necessary repair work! I appreciate your article.
Agree with the point, BUT
written by SD, January 22, 2010
Mr. Ruse, I greatly admire your work and I agree here with your overarching point about the scandal caused by the Kennedys. However, I'm troubled by some of the more vitriolic comments. I hope that you will either consider revising it some or that the editors will remove it altogether. It really has no business being posted by a site which calls itself The Catholic Thing.
thank you Mr. Ruse
written by Truth seeker, January 22, 2010
I always look forward to your article because you do not pull away from naming abortion for what it is--the killing of the child in the womb. Until we all do this all the time, the ridiculous notion that I am free to murder as i want will not go away and the barbarism will continue.
to charles
written by debby, January 22, 2010
how many post abortive women do you personally know? how many are PROUD of their abortions & would CHOOSE abortion all over again? how many felt FORCED into their CHOICE? where is your Catholic love for your neighbor in your response? the Kennedys-et al, have been aggressive in pushing the Choice rhetoric Kool-Aid on the public for their own gain. you sir, have swallowed gallons.
Yes, God will judge us all. AND He told us: You will know a tree by its fruit. this is not a hard thing to discern
The Sin of Detraction
written by Ars Artium, January 22, 2010
This unnecessarily harsh, even vindictive, article actually shocked me this morning. Persuading readers of the truth certainly does not require this type of expose. It seems to fit the definition of the sin of detraction. I hope to see a retraction.
Cafeteria Catholics
written by Willie, January 22, 2010
Austin: A good article that does not pull any punches. Let's keep in mind, however, that some of the clerics in the Catholic Church gave Kennedy and his ilk a handle to grab by postulating a " seamless garment." In other words there are other things evil besides abortion, things that the Kennedys tried to fix. There is a strong pro-choice faction in our Holy Church. A monstrous health care bill has been rendered impotent, but a increased vocalization on Church teaching by our clergy is needed.
Divine Justice
written by William H. Phelan, January 22, 2010
Sen. Edward Kennedy had a 100% favorable voting record with NARAL (the National Abortion Rights Action League), he supported same-sex marriage, and he left a young woman with whom he was trysting, in a submerged car to drown. He admitted that the only Catholic in his family was his mother, Rose. Christ said: I was there when Satan was thrust out of heaven as lightning from the sky.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. Wake up, readers!
A little harsh
written by KC Hawk, January 22, 2010
I agree with many of the prior posters that the overall point of the article is correct, however, the tone is off-putting. The personal attacks on the Kennedy clans weaknesses are not necessary to make the point. Mr. Ruse is an outstanding writer and I usually admire his columns. This seems more like something I would see in the comments section than the main article.

Ahh, free will, the catechism and abortion. It is important to note that an uninformed act of free will endangers a soul.
The Brown issue
written by Jennifer, January 22, 2010
I'm puzzled by how many pro-life people are rejoicing about Scott Brown's election. He's pro-choice. He will do nothing to forward our cause. I think showing joy at his election just because he will stop health care reform is a mistake, as it undermines our important work of changing the current law.
God will judge
written by Ars Artium, January 22, 2010
The evil that was done in any life will be judged by God. Only He has all knowledge. While we must and should act prudently and while we must do all that we can to protect the innocent, there is a way to do so in a dignified, Christian manner. This essy has a mean spirited tone that in my opinion fails utterly to accomplish its goal. In the spirit of "Deus Caritas Est", I protest.
Brown is Pro-Choice
written by Jack, January 22, 2010
That Brown "did not run as pro-life" is an understatement. He didn't run as pro-life because he is not. Your vitriol at the Kennedys seems far more personal and petty than principled disagreement over abortion (thus the unnecessary references to drug and alcohol addictions). Otherwise you would be directing this same anger towards Brown.
Thanks Mr. Ruse
written by Clarence Knutsen, January 22, 2010
As I watched the returns it occurred to me that even the people of Mass. have had enough of the aura of children-at-play exhibited by the current crop of privileged Kennedys, leading to lack of interest in defending the "Kennedy seat". Mr. Ruse outlines, factually, the poisonous atmosphere in which they developed, thanks to "Uncle Teddy." I would suggest to those who didn't like the tone of Mr. Ruse's article to answer his facts before getting so moraly indignant. RIP Ted -- and I mean that.
The good is oft interred
written by Joseph, January 22, 2010
For years, the Liberal-leaning press was kind to Teddy and his familial and political brethren so a good dose of reality is welcome. Mr. Ruse laid it on pretty thick and while Kennedy deserved the posthumous reproach, he nonetheless appeared to have misgivings about his backsliding, having written to the Pope just before his death seeking a blessing.

Perhaps a little cleansing in purgatory will result in Teddy making it to heaven after all. Who can know his last prayers?
For Charles
written by Alfred, January 22, 2010
Charles, you are right that God is the one who judges, but I am puzzled by the reason you gave in regard to why someone who is pro-coice is not necessarily pro-abortion. In short, you said that it is due to the need to protect free will that one can affirm a women's right to choose, while not being pro-abortion. However, that is like saying: I am not pro-murder but I respect one's right to choose due to free will. So, it is not a question of free will, but whether abortion is murder.
Ted Kennedy
written by Janis S., January 22, 2010
Your article is brilliant, Mr.Ruse. Finally the Kennedy "aura" is exposed. This family thinks they are above the Law and God and anything else that gets in their way. Hopefully Scott Brown will be graced by God to change his Pro Choice view, but he is a breath of fresh air which is so needed. Maybe the prayers of Rose Kennedy will save her wayward children.
God\'s Judgment
written by Becky Bianco, January 22, 2010
I am a faithful (and new) Catholic. Despite the poison of the Kennedy 'reign' I don't think any faithful Catholic Christian has permission to suggest that we can identify or understand God's judgment. If we make these presumptions it's a very short leap to also presuming that it was God's judgment that an abortion doctor be murdered. It's our 'job' to recognize evil and work against it; judgment belongs to God, with mercy His trump card.
Woe to you!
written by Jill, January 22, 2010
Frankly, abortion is so barbaric that I weary of the playing-nice tone some of you have recommended. Babies are being slaughtered! Would you have wanted to take a play nice tone with Hitler or Stalin or Mao? I hope not! Jesus did not mince words with the Pharisees. "Woe to you, Pharisees!" and "You brood of vipers!" Anyone who advocates for the right to kill innocent babies needs to be chastised for what he did and does do, though his eternal destiny is for the judgment of God alone.
About Brown
written by Austin Ruse, January 22, 2010
I met a woman at the Mass for pro-life leaders that the USCCB puts on every year prior to the March for Life. She is from Massachusetts and very involved in prolife efforts. She said, "Brown voted right on every pro-life vote and on every marriage vote." As pro-lifers, let's not write him off just yet!
written by Chris, January 23, 2010
Marketing abortion as "Choice" is self-decpetion one actually believes it...not even you. In the moral sphere, free will implies that some choices are evil. Having free will is a gift from God to his children as a token of his love and respect for us. Exercising free will to choose good is the proper use of the gift, choosing evil is always an abuse of the gift. God's gift is always good - but it is STUPENDOUS DECEPTION to conclude therefore that all uses of the gift are moral.
written by Bridget, January 23, 2010
Mean spirited? Tone? What about Teddy Kennedy's tone? Patrick Kennedy's? What about the tone and foul aftertaste left in DC with Teddy's departure? The above is the truth about the Kennedys. The truth hurts, but it's never offensive. And why not hold them up to the light, up to the standards of God's laws. Since when is that offensive?
Ted's Intercession?
written by Gary, January 23, 2010
Since Ted Kennedy died, I have prayed for his soul and for his intercession for a true culture of life in our country. I can't help but wonder, in a truly ironic twist, if he may have been helping out with the election of Scott Brown.
a bogus distinction
written by Paul, January 23, 2010
How often we hear the claim that a Kennedy, even an Obama, is not pro-abortion, but pro-choice (Charles's comment, #1 below). How is this distinction between not being in favor of killing innocents on one hand, and defending the right to choose to kill on the other, different from the equivalent distinction with regard to slavery? If you said, "I am personally against slavery, but I defend your right to choose to own slaves," I would say you are not just pro-choice; you are pro-slavery.
written by Liz, January 23, 2010
Mr. Ruse, you failed to mention those who influenced the Kennedy family namely, Fr. Robert Drinan et al. As I understand it in the 70s Drinan and his cronies met with the Kennedys and instructed them on how to be pro-abortion, pro-contraception, etc. It was the Catholic Church who aided in creating these monsters. We have to reallize that some of these teachings came directly from - and still do today - from our Catholic priests. I know a few myself and they are on Catholic campuses.
Good works
written by d. denton, January 23, 2010
When are liberals going to drop attempts to justify abortion, sodomy and the sex revolution by lauding liberal politicians' "help for the poor and disadvantaged?" That "help" is nothing, repeat, nothing but taking other people's money and buying votes with it, but calling it "health care" and "education" and "welfare." Democrats farm the misery and frustration and debauchery of the poor that 20th century cultural and economic liberalism of both political parties have "given" them.
written by Austin Ruse, January 23, 2010
Liz, look my piece from last year called "Teddy, We Knew Thee Well." I mention the wicked yet ordained advisers who led him down the pro-abortion path.

On those who us say Kennedy was just pro-choice, let me say this. Let's say Kennedy was really anti-abortion but only pro-choice. At the very least he favored withdrawing the protection of the UN government from a whole class of his fellow human beings. Isn't that in an of itself despicable?
To Austin
written by debby, January 24, 2010
Ever notice how your posts almost always fire the most comments? You must walk around with a magnetic target on your back! How are Cathy and the girls? You have 2 now? I met you a few years ago at a Life Issues Conference and have been a fan ever since. You are right, to the point, and very "Beast Coast" in your approach. Oh well, look at all the loud-mouthed disciples. I think you have good company! Never let the arrows kill your love for Christ & His Bride! We all need you.
God keep U
written by Kate, January 24, 2010
“nothing personal,” as if the judge accepted it... picture the late T Kennedy saying this to God at throne of Judgment and the judge not accepting it there, either. "to suggest that we can identify or understand God's judgment" actually, Becky, God wants us to know His judgment and defines them in the Scripture which is how we can know a tree by it's fruit. To Ars: there is a way to do so in a dignified, Christian manner" which is why I love that Jesus turned the tables on the money changers
written by Austin Ruse, January 24, 2010
Cathy and the kids are great!

More about Teddy. Cardinal Law once told me that whenever he went to talk to Teddy about the life issues, Teddy would get all sheepish. Law said it was his distinct impression that Teddy knew he was wrong on the issue of killing the unborn. How horrible it must have been for him to explain himself to God.

Note Teddy's letter to the Pope. It was a plea on abortion that his concern was for the women. I wonder how that played.

Kennedy is a tragedy for the ages.
Unbelievable Vitriol
written by Bud, January 24, 2010
Form the disgusting little piece, I feel that you should be the one concerned about what you will be atoning for when it comes time to have your soul judged. With your condemnation of a person and a family who have done more to aid the citizens of this country in ways that far exceed the narrow viewpoint that seems to be the only focus of your stullified life, you have shown your total ignorance of what drives most sane people in the real world who don't exist in their their little "think tanks.
God's judgment?
written by Peter Contro, January 24, 2010
So you're pondering whether Scott Brown's election was a result of God's judgment, eh? Well, if God intervenes in politics, I wonder why He allowed people to come to power like, oh, Hitler . . . and Stalin . . . and Pol Pot . . . and Saddam Hussein. Or for that matter, if you think He's trying to undo Roe v. Wade, Barack Obama.

Guess He really does move in mysterious ways.
written by Gram, January 25, 2010
God is ashamed of your selfishness and lies. Did Jesus ever ask for money when HE healed people. You are so caught up in the greed (MAMMON) you cannot see this is FOR ALL OF GOD'S PEOPLE. YOU ARE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE CHURCH TODAY, YOU CARE MORE FOR THE UNBORN, THAN THE BORN. SO SAD.
"Little think tanks?"
written by Clarence Knutsen, January 25, 2010
Bud, you mean the 70 plus % of Americans who oppose killing the unborn? When you applaud the Kennedys do you mean they benefited the approx. 50 million murdered humans in this country since Roe? If Jesus meant what he said in this morning's gospel about what we do to the least we do to Him -- just where do you think Kennedy, et al. stand in relation to Him? I pray that Uncle Teddy made it -- but it won't be on the basis of your kind of argumentation. Match your vitriol with the rest: you win!
written by Tom Anniston, January 25, 2010
It is very clear to me that Mr. Ruse believes he sits at the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty and was sent to judge the living and the dead.
Closer Reading Needed
written by Austin Ruse, January 25, 2010
I fear some of the readers who are commenting need to read a little more closely. Rather than judging the final state of Kennedy's soul, I wrote this, "These, too, are Teddy Kennedy’s progeny and while I do not judge his soul I have no doubt he has had to answer for them."
No, Tom
written by Clarence Knutsen, January 25, 2010
To Tom Anniston: No Tom, Mr. Ruse judges, correctly according to the doctrine of the Church (Christ), that Teddy's CONDUCT was an evil thrown into the face of God. Ruse echoes what he has heard from the Church (Christ), "What you do to the least..." Ruse isn't claiming to sit as an equal with the Trinity, but, in this argument, he certainly is on the side of the angels "who see the face of God."
written by Dennis Bartlett, January 26, 2010
Alas, through the intercession of his mother, Rose, Teddy probably will make it to heaven, though he probably will find it a bit boring.
About Joe III
written by Elena Lund, January 26, 2010
Actually, Joe III no longer partners with the thug from Venezuela. It seems that, with GWB no longer in the White House, Joe III was no longer as useful an idiot. So Chavez cut off the supply of underpriced heating oil that Joe III in turn provided at low cost to the poor. The not-for-profit closed down and the employees were let go. But Joe III is still in the oil business, the money-making oil business. Again, with Bush out, the poor are no longer useful as props. Ah, yes, Camelot it is.
Jack in Heaven
written by Austin Ruse, January 27, 2010
I wrote a column years ago postulating that in the final moments before the bullet struck his skull, all the millions of Ave's said by little old Irish ladies must have had an effect and that President Kennedy had a final moment of sorrow for his sins. Sorrow for physical sins is easier to regret, I think, than sorrow for theological dissent. Poor poor Teddy.
written by Lapsed Catholic, February 10, 2010
What an embarrassing screed.

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