« Oh Yeah, the Ads | Main | Hey, Obama, Can We See the Text of Your Speech to Every Schoolkid Before You Deliver It?
Suggested Activity: Students can "Write Letters to Themselves About What They Can Do To Help the President" »
September 01, 2009

The Kennedy Legacy and Pro-Life Catholicism

The Anchoress describes a bit of a storm brewing in the Catholic online community over the attempts by some Catholic writers, particularly among the blue rinse set, to lionise Ted Kennedy. I'll be honest with you, I don't know these characters (excepting my dear Internet-friend, the Anchoress), but I think her point about being a condescending, elitist prick towards fellow well-meaning writers is a good one.

Setting aside the foofaraw, the real reason I'm linking is for her consideration of Kennedy's attempts to reconcile his Catholicism with his public stance on abortion:

He and other Catholic politicians made America dizzy with the oddball notion that one could be “personally opposed” to abortion but too broad-minded to “impose my views on others.” That sounded so reasonable and tolerant that it simplified the abortion debate for people who did not care to consider how nonsensical it was. Being “personally opposed” to the death penalty, would Kennedy have tried not to “impose those views” on states, had he the chance? Had he been “personally opposed” to slavery 150 years ago, would he not certainly have tried to “impose” his views on others?

In terms of perception, Kennedy’s public positions did and do make life difficult for priests and bishops, but scandal is not at issue, here. Catholics find myriad ways to bring scandal to the Bride of Christ, every day. This is about the credibility that Kennedy’s endorsement gave to the abortion movement, and how that endorsement contributed to the subsequent decrease in respect for, and defense of, life-issues.

It could be reasonably argued that Kennedy’s pro-abortion stand gave permission for millions of Catholics to, in 2008, fully ignore Barack Obama’s 100 percent NARAL rating and his lack of support for state and federal born-alive initiatives (which equates to infanticide) and to justify their support with a blithe, “but he’s so good on other Catholics issues” (that has turned out to be debatable) and “his policies will reduce the need for abortion,” which is fodder for another argument.

Ted Kennedy’s positions on life-and-death issues encouraged the euphemistic and muddled thinking that has proceeded apace in the culture, helping vague rhetoric about common ground seem credible, sophisticated and easy to digest. This ultimately enabled then candidate Obama to skate around his pro-life Catholic supporters with smooth but empty assurances that he respected their positions and would work to assuage their concerns, even as he promised the opposition that he would sign a comprehensive “Freedom of Choice Act” to address their concerns, too.

I don't know how much of Kennedy's reversal and subsequent incoherence on abortion and Catholicism can be blamed for current attitudes among Catholic laiety; I wasn't there. However, it interests me as a precursor to the kind of absurdity demonstrated by some noteable—and perhaps not coincidentally elitist—Catholics, for example now-Ambassador Doug Kmiec and the dean of the University of Notre Dame.

Consider: the headline to this post does not contain a redundancy; it is not unreasonable to note that there are pro-life Catholics and Catholics who are simply not.

There is much, much more over at her place, including more links than you can shake a stick at.


digg this
posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:16 PM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Bruce: "Er....It, not I. Posted by: Mr. Peebles Good t ..."

Tim in Illinois: "Past Life experience in the present? That's a n ..."

Mr. Peebles: "Er....It, not I. ..."

Mr. Peebles: "I was Lee Harvey Weinstein shooting from the bushe ..."

NaCly Dog[/i]: "Oops. Work preps need to start now. Have a ser ..."

Tim in Illinois: "I think skinny little guys with big black eyes, fr ..."

NaCly Dog[/i]: "rickb223 One theory I always liked: LHO was sho ..."

Blue Hen: "I bet it says Cuba did it and State talked LBJ out ..."

rickb223 [/s][/b][/i][/u]: "I bet it says Cuba did it and State talked LBJ out ..."

NaCly Dog[/i]: "CharlieBrown'sDildo Some guys got all the luck. ..."

Slippery Slope Salesman [/i]: " Obviously, discussion about a guy who masturbate ..."

NaCly Dog[/i]: "Good morning FenelonSpoke. Good to see you here. ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64