Well, the Lying in Repose, the Celebration, the Memorial Service and the Funeral are over. And the respect for Sir Ted Kennedy will live on. (You can read more here.)
And after it all, what I will remember most about this weekend’s activities will be the significant references to Mr. Kennedy’s religious life. For all of the liberals’ talk of the separation of church and state, it amazes me how much a governmental leader’s religious life seems more acceptable in death than it is in life.
There was a prayer service for “at least 80 current and former members of Congress for brief prayer service this morning at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum,” according to the Boston Globe.
According to a leading media agency–not an evangelical or conservative one but CNN itself–the “Rev. Daniel Coughlin — chaplain of the House of Representatives said a prayer and addressed the family” at a prayer service outside the U.S. Capitol.
A favorite prayer of his, the Magnificat, was relayed by a priest to a national audience watching on television.
“My father was not perfect,” said his son, Ted Jr. at the Memorial service, “but he believed in redemption.”
“Go now, to your place of rest. And meet the Lord, your God,” said the Rev. Daniel Coughlin, the House chaplain.
“Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost,” President Obama proclaimed. “May God Bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.” His full speech can be read here.
And Mr. Kennedy had written a letter to the Pope. “I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines,” said President Kennedy’s letter. “I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago, and although I continue treatment the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old, and preparing for the next passage of life.”
There is much talk of how Mr. Kennedy’s passing will affect the national health care debate. I, for one, wish the reflections on his spiritual life would affect our national spirituality discussion. We need the lift.