Abortion and embryonic stem-cell research are, of course, the front runners in the list of evils I'm talking about here. This isn't about a woman's right or privacy. This is about killing. Whether you think women should be priests or nuns should wear habits or the priest should face versus populum are not issues of life and death. None of the excuses that "pro-choice" advocates give for allowing abortion trump the fact that an innocent human being dies in the process (and a second human being is put in danger).
The most tragic thing about Senator Kennedy's death is not the grief of his loved ones at his passing but the fact that he never publicly denounced his previous positions on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research. Thousands of American Catholics can point to him, and others like him in positions of power who call themselves Catholics and advocate otherwise, as a justification for their own beliefs. This is a great disservice not only to the Church but to those individuals who use pro-choice Catholic politicians to prop up their own misguided opinions.
Kennedy advocated for signature Catholic causes, such as help for the poor, health care and , and opposition to the Iraq war. Working at social justice is very admirable but is ultimately not enough. In these issues he did much good but left much to be desired in his work for the justice of the weakest and most innocent among us. So let us pray for this man, let us pray for each other and for the Church, but we should not exalt him like some modern-day martyr. Let us grieve for the pain his family must be feeling, but most importantly let us use his death as a talking point on these contradictions between his Faith and his politics to illustrate why his politics were wrong. Let us hope that on his death-bed he remembered his words from 1971 (before Roe V. Wade and before his political party was influenced more by NARAL and "Feminist" organizations instead of pro-life Southerners and pro-life Catholics) in his letter to Catholic League member Tom Dennelly:
While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized—the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.
...[O]nce life has begun, no matter at what stage of growth, it is my belief that termination should not be decided merely by desire.
When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.