Jay Lindsay quoted almost exclusively from liberals in his report on Ted Kennedy’s Catholicism for the AP on Friday. Only one of those excerpted by Lindsay was a conservative, not counting Catholic Church officials.
The AP correspondent led his article, titled “Kennedy’s Catholicism source of comfort, conflict,” with some glowing language, but at least portrayed how the deceased senator was not always a faithful believer: “Sen. Edward Kennedy was raised from birth to cherish his Catholicism, and it became both a source of comfort and conflict throughout his life. The son of the country’s most famous Catholic family defied church teachings when he divorced his first wife, then was granted an annulment only after he admitted he wasn’t being honest when he promised her he’d be faithful. His most significant and public break with the church came with his support for abortion rights.”
Lindsay followed this summary about the Democrats’s “significant and public break” with Church teaching by countering that “Kennedy also advocated for signature Catholic causes, such as help for the poor, health care and immigration reform, and opposition to the Iraq war.” While the Church does do significant work on those three issues, and Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI voiced their opposition to the Iraq war, they do not raise to the same moral importance as abortion and the sanctity of marriage, contrary to what many Catholic dissenters might say.
The correspondent continued by quoting from three liberal writers- Boston College professor Alan Wolfe, who extolled the senator’s commitment to left-wing politics and pondered the “future of Kennedy liberalism” in the Boston Globe on Thursday; Kennedy biographer and former New York Times Washington correspondent Adam Clymer, who admired Kennedy’s left-wing accomplishments; and “Catholic author” Michael Sean Winters, wrote about the “stupidity of banning gay priests” in 2005. Lindsay also included quoted from Ted Kennedy himself from his 1983 speech at Liberty University, where he defended his “pro-choice” position on abortion.
The only conservative Lindsay quoted in his piece was Russell Shaw, who earlier this year called on Catholic supporters of the President to apologize for saying “Obama and the Church would have a lot in common.” Shaw commented that “when Kennedy defied the church on issues such as abortion and later, gay marriage, he reinforced a corrosive belief among Catholics that they can simply ignore teachings they don't agree with.” The AP correspondent also included quotes from the Rev. Gerry Creedon, a Catholic priest who was “Kennedy’s friend” and was at the senator’s bedside shortly before his death, and Susan Gibbs, the spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington.