Add Cardinal Roger Mahony to the legions releasing official condolences and praise on last night's death of Sen. Edward Kennedy. From the Archdiocese of Los Angeles:
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony
Archbishop of Los Angeles
The voiceless, the powerless, and the most needy of our citizens have lost a great champion with the death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Even though he lived in the far northeast corner of our country, he had a deep and personal sense of the needs of the poorest across the land. He never tired in speaking up for them and their rights and needs.
Praise for Kennedy's support of the farmworkers and other causes — and a lament that " I was never able to bring him to promote fundamental rights for one important group in our society—the unborn" — follows after the jump. Kennedy also is featured now on the United Farmworkers union website.
His deep and personal commitment to causes affecting the poor and needy among us flowed from his deep Catholic faith, and the life and outreach of Jesus Christ. He knew well the words and command of Jesus found in the 25th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel.
My last collaboration with Senator Kennedy was in 2007 when he and Senator John McCain introduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. With immigrant roots himself, Senator Kennedy was keenly aware of the plight of immigrant peoples in our nation and was an advocate for their rights and their full inclusion into the culture and economy of our country.
I marveled at his ability to work with Senators from both political parties, always open to listen and to find ways to accommodate their views and to craft compromises that would benefit those most in need. While that comprehensive immigration reform measure was never voted on by the full Senate, its various features and overall outline remain in place for eventual reform legislation.
Senator Kennedy never gave up on issues affecting the most needy citizens in our midst. He became their voice and their supporter regardless of misunderstanding and opposition. That same passion led him to fight energetically for health care reform to include all Americans, for quality public school education, for minimum wage and benefit provisions for all workers, for the farm workers of the country, and for those with disabilities.
His recent struggle with cancer inspired many as he carried forward his many legislative issues to benefit the most needy even as his health and energies declined. He was relentless in his commitment to the people and causes which he embraced so wholeheartedly.
Over the years, however, I was never able to bring him to promote fundamental rights for one important group in our society—the unborn. But he did struggle with this aspect of his Catholic faith, and I was hopeful that at some point he would see that all of his work for the most needy had to begin with a commitment to every person—born and unborn.
May God receive him into the fullness of life and light in the Kingdom of Heaven, and may his passionate concern for others inspire us all.