Saturday, August 29, 2009
I am truly sorry that Steve Shiffrin finds a discussion of Senator Kennedy's legacy -- including noting lost opportunities -- to be insensitive. But I do think his description of the two postings here on Mirrror of Justice as "cold-blooded" is unfair. Those posts, as well as the articles linked in them, can be found here and here, for readers to determine for themselves whether we and others, on the Mirror of Justice and elsewhere, have been "cold-blooded." In particular, I submit that Rev. Sirico's reflection addressed both the man and his public legacy in a thoughtful, prayerful, and conscientious manner.
When a major public figure passes, an assessment of their public life, the choices they made, the actions taken, and how they made things better or worse for culture and society is not only appropriate but expected, with proper sensitivity of course. When Richard John Neuhaus died near the beginning of this year and when Pope John Paul II died four years ago, both general commentators and Catholic thinkers immediately began discussing and assessing their theology, Catholic leadership, and public actions from all angles and perspectives.
In the case of Rev. Neuhaus and Pope John Paul II, that public assessment was hardly delayed until after their funerals. And in the case of Senator Kennedy, many have seized the moment of his death to try to advance political agendas, most notably the stalled health care legislation, in his name. Nonetheless, I will say that, speaking for myself and in retrospect, Steve's suggestion to wait until that point would not have been too much to ask.