TED KENNEDY: THE CATHOLIC LEGACY AND THE LETTERS

At the gravesite of Senator Edward Kennedy on Saturday, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former Archbishop of Washington, shared a private letter that the deceased Senator wrote to the Pope. The Cardinal also read what he described as a response from the Pontiff. This marvelous bit of political theatre (as so much of Senator Kennedy’s funeral was), should not escape attention. That moment in particular revealed a great deal. First of all, it must be recalled that Cardinal McCarrick has a rather unfortunate history involving the delivery of letters, particularly those from a certain Vatican official by the name of Ratzinger. In 2004, when the Bishops of the US were anguishing over whether to allow communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion laws, Cardinal McCarrick concealed a letter from his brother bishops. The missive was from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal (now Pope) Joseph Ratzinger.