Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I keep reading criticisms of Senator Kennedy and the Catholic funeral he received on Saturday in light of the fact that he was 1. divorced, 2. pro-abortion, and 3. responsible for the accident in Chappaquiddick that resulted in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.

I grew up attending Catholic schools, and the thing that I keep coming back to are the Works of Mercy (thanks, Sr. Irene!):
Corporal Works of Mercy
* Feed the hungry
* Give drink to the thirsty
* Shelter the homeless
* Clothe the naked
* Care for the sick
* Visit the imprisoned
* Bury the dead

Spiritual Works of Mercy
* To admonish the sinner (correct those who need correction)
* To instruct the ignorant (teach the ignorant)
* To counsel the doubtful (give advice to those who need it)
* To comfort the sorrowful (give comfort to those who suffer)
* To bear wrongs patiently (be patient with others)
* To forgive all injuries (to forgive others who hurt you)
* To pray for the living and the dead (to pray for everyone who needs our prayers)

"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?' And the King will answer them, 'I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me." (Matthew 25: 37-40)

Certainly the work that Senator Kennedy (and his staff) had done for the people of Massachusetts, including (although not limited to) the family members of the people killed on 9/11, would count for something with his naysayers. I didn't want to put this thought in the comments on the post I was reading because I didn't want to start a war with the "haters", but I have a hard time dealing with Catholics who are critical of the Senator's political positions and who don't have compassion in them to see the bigger picture or to have the heart to forgive him. He was a man who made mistakes like the rest of us (some of them were bigger than the mistakes that most of us make), but, because of his office, he also did good things on a far greater scale than most of us are able to do.

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