“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.