Friday, 22 November 2013

The death of Catholic hopes and aspirations

The John F Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede
On 22nd November, 1963, John F Kennedy, President of the United States of America, was shot down, like a dog, on the streets of Dallas.

As violent deaths go it was close to the top, taking place, as it did, so publicly in front of the world's newsreel cameras and alongside his wife who cradled his shattered head in her arms in the mad dash to the nearest hospital.

It was only some years after his death that the media began seeping news of marital infidelities and domestic discord. The media has a tendency to do that after the death of great men and women.

I am not saying that they were wrong, I do not know, one way or the other, and today is not the day for scandal mongering.

I do remember the build up to Kennedy's election; how the unthinkable became fact and a Catholic was sworn in to the most powerful office in the world.

Every morning at assembly, Sister Catherine Walsh OP, would beseech us to pray that Kennedy would get elected, and our prayers were heard and, on 8th November 1960, the USA had a Catholic President for the first time in history.

We owe a great debt to John Fitzgerald Kennedy; his facing up to Kruschev in the Bay of Pigs incident, his breaking of the unions hold on industry and his work on behalf of the civil rights of all citizens.
And many more endeavours as well.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace. Amen


  1. By "his facing up to Kruschev in the Bay of Pigs incident" I presume Mr Collins means "... the Cuban Missile Crisis"? The Bay of Pigs incident was an absolute fiasco which had occurred more than a year earlier.

    Oh yes, and JFK's middle name was "Fitzgerald", not "Francis".

    I find it hard to believe that a politician who referred - shortly before gaining the White House - to "this g*dd*mn civil rights mess" (see p. 288 of Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur Schlesinger, hardly a Camelot detractor) can be credited with moral authority on the civil rights issue. And then, of course, there was the November 1963 murder of free Vietnam's Catholic president Ngo Dinh Diem: a murder which, while not having been explicitly demanded by JFK, was committed with his knowledge and without his protests.

    There are, incidentally, good grounds for supposing (as Nixon believed at the time) that JFK was never elected in 1960 at all: that the election was, in plain language, stolen by his father, by the Mafioso Sam Giancana, and by Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley Senior. For an earlier Kennedy dirty trick against Nixon in the 1960 campaign, see this article, published, surprisingly, by the left-wing Washington Post:

    It is quite bad enough to see pagans joining in Camelot idolatry without Catholics feeling a visceral need to do so.

    1. Robert, forgot to say, thank you for the correction, now amended.

  2. Christ is King of kings. To deny that He is King of civil rulers, King of parliaments, King of kings, is, in effect, to deny that He is God. Cardinal Pie made that dramatic statement over 100 years ago.
    .....Dr. William Marra, himself a one-time presidential candidate, although unlike Kennedy a Catholic far more than in name only, correctly called this episode with JFK one of the most 'shameful' in Catholic American history. When in the 1960's John F. Kennedy-----hardly a Catholic, though unfortunately a Catholic in the eyes of the grossly confused world---campaigned for the presidency of the United States, he had the audacity to solemnly swear, in public and before the entire world listening in, that if elected president his religion would have no bearing on his public conduct and political decision, or on those of his future administration. He actually stated that the 'man-made Constitution', and NOT the DIVINE commandments or gospels or papal encyclicals, would be his moral guide as president. In so doing he not only caved in to the ruinous notion of the Separation of Church and State, he publicly and blasphemously repudiated the rights of God and the One True Church.

    ........ Such is the unrepentant, unabashed arrogance of these liberals.

    Pope Leo XIII, in 'Immortale Dei' is reminding us: ".......It is the Church, and not the state, that is to be man's guide to heaven. It is to the Church that God has assigned the charge of seeing to, and legislating for, all that concerns religion; of teaching all nations; of spreading the Christian faith as widely as possible; in short, of administering freely and without hindrance, in accordance with her own judgment, all matters that fall within its competence."


  3. Unfortunately- anon seems to have got there first- there is a baleful effect of a speech of JFK which in hindsight is not what it seemed at the time.

    One of my favourite anglosshere Bishops, Bishop Chaput , has a the kernel of a long thoughtful measured speech:

    "Fifty years ago this fall, in September 1960, Sen. John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. He had one purpose. He needed to convince 300 uneasy Protestant ministers, and the country at large, that a Catholic like himself could serve loyally as our nation’s chief executive. Kennedy convinced the country, if not the ministers, and went on to be elected. And his speech left a lasting mark on American politics. It was sincere, compelling, articulate – and wrong. Not wrong about the patriotism of Catholics, but wrong about American history and very wrong about the role of religious faith in our nation’s life. And he wasn’t merely “wrong.” His Houston remarks profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage"

    Oft mentionted on the "tradosphere" at al, well worth perusing in full:

  4. Robert and co - I did not intend to glorify JFK, merely to point out that he did have some great strengths as I can verify having lived through that period (and before) and that, as a Catholic, the whole Catholic world looked up to him at one stage in history.
    He is certainly worthy of our prayers and remembrance today.

    1. True indeed.
      But it has saddened me to discover that in many ways we were wrong.
      So much of the myth is wrong too.
      He was a catholic.
      RIP, as you say.

  5. There was a picture of him in my parents' house for many years.

  6. Will pray for the souls of the faithful departed, as is customary in November, but won't single him out for special mention for the following reasons: As a notorious evil-liver who died a sudden (and likely unprovided) death, his chances of having avoided Hell are rather slim. Even worse, if you consider the "I have no king but Caesar" speech, which can be taken as a very public apostasy, or selling his soul for the sake of winning the election. Sure hope he enjoyed his brief time in the limelight.
    Bad Catholics and apostates are a dime a dozen, and can't see how they could be a source of pride (except in the case when they reconcile with the Church in public and go on to lead exemplary lives). The cult of this unhappy man among English-speaking Catholics reeks of desperation.

    1. Anonymous @ 11.19pm - yours is a most unCatholic comment. We are not at liberty to second guess each other's likelihood of being committed to hell. I might add that, it was only some 7 or 8 years after Kennedy's death that the exposes began to appear. He was far from perfect but then that applies to most of us.

  7. Yes, we should pray for the repose of his soul, as we should for all the departed.

    There were great expectations at JFK’s election and it was a giddy time – for a while – for Irish Catholic Americans and Irish men and women everywhere.

    As with Obama initially, many were swayed by the rhetoric and the media presentation. Then, it was Camelot. More recently, it was Hope and Change. And then reality set in. Then, it was an assassin’s bullet. Today, it is an overweening Administration and government gone amok.

    JFK may have paved the way for future Catholics in American Government, but it was the way of the broad path, not the narrow gate. It has given us the likes of Ted Kemedy, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and John Kerry – not one of them a credit to Catholic orthodoxy.

    Richard Nixon may have been less presentable - and his failings more immediately apparent - but I had more regard for him.