The overall tone of the funeral liturgy — from the three eulogies, to the prayers of the faithful, to the homily, to the celebrity musicians, to the guest list, and to the nationally-televised gushing color commentaries — seemed to communicate that it was more a public, political apotheosis of Senator Kennedy than a humble, insistent prayer of the Church his mother for the forgiveness of his sins and the repose of his soul. This was probably not helpful to the Senator eschatologically, obviously scandalous to devout pro-lifers spiritually, and likely injurious to the Church both doctrinally and practically.If the Church really wants to purify its parishioners they can start with the women. Most American women take birth control at some point in their lives.
On the last point, since lex orandi, lex credendi — “the way we pray indicates what we believe” — the overall impression left by the tone of the funeral will likely influence the way Catholics and non-Catholics understand the purpose of the Catholic funeral liturgy for quite some time. It will, moreover, doubtless impact what some Catholics ask for in the funerals of their loved ones; if pastors are unwilling to allow what they observed Senator Kennedy received, there will be wounds to pastors and parishioners both.
This last controversy was totally avoidable; all that was necessary was to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Catholic funeral rite. And the Senator, pro-lifers and the Church as a whole certainly deserved that the Senator’s funeral be an unambiguous and undiluted expression of the Church’s faith.
Somehow I doubt that people will now believe that every mass must have celebrities, three eulogies and national coverage. Or that they must say good-bye to their loved ones by enumerating their sins in public and begging God's forgiveness for the deceased's corrupt soul lest he burn in eternal damnation.
• Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.I have heard a priest mention, in a mildly scolding manner, that women are not confessing the use of contraceptives, but that was one statement over decades of mass attendance. If the Church were serious about denying Catholic rites (marriage, communion, and even extreme unction) to people who violate Catholic rules on contraception, they would face the audience at the altar during every mass and tell the women in the pews who are using contraception that they are forbidden from receiving communion with the men and children. They don't because they don't want to chase them away, or their money. They don't want them pulling their children out of sacrament classes or parish schools, or stopping volunteering. So they privately look the other way, while publicly pressuring vulnerable politicians to do what they will not. It's cowardly and hypocritical, and therefore Catholic women have few problems with being hypocritical in return.
• Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.
• 31% of the 62 million women do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had intercourse; or are not sexually active.
• Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using contraceptives.
• Among the 42 million fertile, sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing contraception.