Politicians and the Pope

Terry Mattingly uses the death of Ted Kennedy to opine on the issue of the relationship between liberal Catholic politicians and the Catholic Church. The central point of tension, as it was with Kennedy, is the abortion issue. The current pope, shortly before he assumed that position, wrote very strongly to the American archbishop about not allowing pro-abortion politicians access to the Eucharist. I wrote something last week about Kennedy’s errant thoughts on atonement, but this Mattingly article throws the window wide open to look into his, and the Catholic Church’s, faulty views.

Apparently Kennedy wrote to the pope to ask for an apostolic blessing. Here’s what Mattingly reports that he wrote:

“I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path,” wrote Kennedy. “I want you to know, Your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office, I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I’ve worked to welcome the immigrant, fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. …

“I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings.”

So many things could be said here, but let’s just focus on a couple. It seems clear that Kennedy’s belief that atonement is a process undergirds this appeal for a blessing—both his argument for it and his belief that it would be of some value. Kennedy thinks that he should be given this gift because he “tried to right [his] path.” IOW, he’s done his part, but he still could use a little help. And Kennedy thinks that the pope has the help that he needs. Rather than trust in the finished work of God’s Son, here we find a man trusting in his own efforts and hoping for the help of the pope.

What kind of help did he get? Apparently he received a blessing from the Vatican. Mattingly reports that these words were read at Kennedy’s graveside service, “Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord.” For those who claim that Catholicism has changed, anecdotes like this should slap them hard enough to wake them from their dream. Here is the pope pointing the hopes of a congregant to the intercession of Mary and usurping the title and privileges of God. Heresy and blasphemy tightly packaged in a single sentence.

How is it even possible that well-known, well-respected evangelicals can overlook such Christ-dishonoring and soul-condemning teachings in order to affirm what we share in common? 

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