In his email letter Fr Harrison cited Senator Kennedy's strong anti-life/anti-family record; and argued that the funeral
"effectively communicated a tacit but very clear message: the Church does not really take too seriously her own ‘official’ doctrines on these matters! I feel impelled, therefore, to make known to anyone willing to read these lines that there are many other representatives of the Catholic Church ... who take those doctrines very seriously indeed."Fr Harrison added that the Church leaders who granted and presided at the funeral would never have done so had the late senator been a white supremacist or an anti-semite or a Holocaust denier.
Pro-life supporters wonder why pro-life groups such as SPUC sometimes criticise the words or actions of Church leaders on pro-life issues. Shouldn't we encourage rather than criticise, and present a united front in public, with any mistakes addressed in private? Fr Harrison's letter provides the reason why such a well-intentioned approach is not enough. Public words and acts send public messages, in these days instantly to billions all over the world. The honours paid to Senator Kennedy undermine the Catholic Church's message on pro-life and pro-family issues. Bad examples of Church leadership on pro-life issues, such as the Kennedy funeral, therefore need to be corrected, immediately, publicly and charitably.
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