The Deacon's Bench

I posted some of the remarks below in the comment box. I’m putting them here for further thought, and prayer. And I place this here, mindful of the fact that several readers have written me personally, deeply distressed at the tone that has overtaken the blog in recent days.

I know: people are anguished about the Kennedy funeral. The liturgy, the politics, the conspicuous silence on abortion, the media over-kill…it’s all too much for some folks. They fear many Catholics (and non-Catholics) got the wrong idea about how we do funerals on this side of the Tiber. Some readers have gone a step further, discerning cynical political manipulation in the events surrounding the funeral.

Okay. Take a breath. Everyone. Please.

The funeral may have been more theater than liturgy, and may not have been to everyone’s taste. But what is done is done.

Me, I take solace not in the scattered thousands who watched the Kennedy funeral, in between picking up the dry-cleaning and driving the kids to the pool on a summer Saturday, but in the countless millions — billions? — who dropped everything a few years ago to watch the funeral of John Paul the Great. Lives were transformed that day. In the wake of that event, church attendance soared, conversions climbed. People saw what we are really made of.

For now, we move on, in joy and in hope. We pray that the Father of Mercies will be merciful toward Ted Kennedy, toward his family, and toward us, as we continue our pilgrimage on earth. We are all sinners. We all need whatever grace we can find, however and wherever we may be able to find it. Prayer is a good place to start. Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, even better.

Trust in God. He knows what He is doing. If we’ve learned anything from our wild and unpredictable history, it is this: no matter how hard we try to screw up God’s Church, He keeps fixing it anyway.

Further proof, if any were needed, that the Holy Spirit is in charge, not us…

Meantime, I’m shutting off new comments for this and all the other Kennedy posts. Let’s all chill, okay?

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