A Cautious Man
August 27, 2009
Show A Little Faith
There were some interesting reminiscences on the PBS NewsHour last night about Senator Kennedy, in particular on the role his faith played in his life (despite his well-known personal failings) -

TOM OLIPHANT: His own family. Well, you know, one of the aspects of Senator Kennedy that I think has been least discussed in his lifetime and about which people knew the least was just alluded to by the father, and that was his faith.

I mean, he did not always have the best of relations with Catholic officialdom because of his personal life and also some of the issues that he championed, but he was a devout believer. I wish I had a dollar for every mass I've been to with him on the road when there was, like, nobody else except a driver.

And I remember one occasion. It was getting toward the 20th anniversary of President Kennedy's murder. And he was making a national tour. And rather than talking about President Kennedy, he was talking about poverty.

And he broke off one morning -- I'm pretty sure it was in St. Paul, Minnesota, a Catholic town -- and went to a mass in the middle of the week. And afterwards, I -- you know, we all know about his father saying you have the obligation. We all know the secular call to service.

But I asked him, "Where does this rabid concern about poverty come from?" And he looked at me like I was from Mars. And he said, "Have you never read the New Testament?"

And that was behind so much of his politics, but he was the kind of politician who would not bring it up. There was nothing evangelical about his political behavior.

Just something to keep in mind when any random politician starts trying to tell you that he's a "person of faith" - always check the output.



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