Cardinal O’Malley discusses Sen. Kennedy’s funeral

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley (CNS/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley (CNS/Bob Roller)

“I wish to address our Catholic faithful who have voiced both support and disappointment at my having presided” at the Aug. 29 funeral Mass for Sen. Edward Kennedy at a Boston basilica, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston writes in an entry posted last night on his blog.

He acknowledges that wake and Catholic funeral for Kennedy were “controversial because he did not publicly support Catholic teaching and advocacy on behalf of the unborn.”

“Given the profound effect of Catholic social teaching on so many of the programs and policies espoused by Senator Kennedy and the millions who benefited from them, there is a tragic sense of lost opportunity in his lack of support for the unborn,” he says. “To me and many Catholics it was a great disappointment because, had he placed the issue of life at the centerpiece of the social Gospel where it belongs, he could have multiplied the immensely valuable work he accomplished.”

However, he says: “As archbishop of Boston I considered it appropriate to represent the church at this liturgy out of respect for the senator, his family, those who attended the Mass and all those who were praying for the senator and his family at this difficult time.”

“We are a people of faith,” he continues, “and we believe in a loving and forgiving God from who we seek mercy.”

UPDATE: Read our story on what guides decisions on a Catholic funeral.

Marquette sophomores embark on the road of social change

A group of 44 sophomores at Marquette University are setting out a new path, one that incorporates a broader consideration of social justice into a life of learning.

The students have taken up residence in the Dorothy Day Social Justice Living/Learning Community on two floors of the David A. Straz Jr. Tower residence hall. Two years in the making, the living/learning community will focus on justice issues in their course work, volunteer opportunities during the school year,  Scripture study and prayer, explained Jim McMahon, the university’s assistant vice president and dean of residence life.

The planning group settled on naming the community for Day because of her commitment to justice and serving poor and homeless people for nearly five decades. Marquette also is the archival home of Day’s letters, diaries and notes from her experiences at the Catholic Worker house in New York.

Under the program, the students will share course work in philosophy and theology. In addition, they will spend two to three hours a week at service projects covering issues such as the environment, education, poverty, literacy and fair trade.

Living near each other also presents an advantage, allowing students to explore justice issues in small groups or one-on-one conversations at just about any time of day or night, McMahon said. Resident advisers will be able to faciliate discussions as needs warrant.

 “Students who are involved in living and learning together do better academically and are more engaged. Critical thinking skills tend to be greater,” McMahon said about the university’s hopes for the program.