Tuesday, November 25, 2003

At His Death, JFK’s Catholicism May Have Been More Pivotal Than During His Life

Catholic Exchange writer Michael H. Brown ponders the effect of the Catholic faith on both JFK himself and his wife Jackie, despite JFK's now well-known philandering as well as his indulgence in reckless behavior in other matters, including geopolitics (e.g., the Bay of Pigs debacle and several misguided covert attempts to assassinate Castro).

For example, Brown notes:

Kennedy, despite his roguish ways, had a streak of devotion inspired by his mother Rose — a daily communicant — and so did his wife, who in Dallas had prayed with a priest as he administered the last anointing.

…Did the sacrament count? No one was sure. Extreme Unction — as it was then known — was not valid if the soul had departed. Father Huber sensed that Kennedy's soul was still there. "Through this anointing, may God forgive you whatever sins you may have committed," he had prayed. Through a faculty granted by the Holy See he dispensed remission of sins and a plenary indulgence….

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