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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Catholicism and Civic Duty

Dotson Rader writes at Parade:
It’s not surprising that the Kennedy tradition of service is steeped in religion: The family is famously Catholic. “Bobby almost was a priest, so he was very religious,” says Jean [Kennedy Smith, sole surviving sibling of JFK]. “We all were, in different ways. Because our parents were.”
Tim Shriver, whose mother, Eunice, was one of Joe and Rose’s nine offspring (his dad, Sargent Shriver, a former U.S. Ambassador to France, ran for vice president in 1972), credits Catholicism for rallying his family to serve not out of obligation, but because of a uniquely sincere desire to help others. “I don’t think ought is enough to sustain a commitment,” he says. “What our Catholic tradition has done well is make you not just ought to help, but want to help—hunger for it. Be hungry for justice, be hungry for healing, be hungry for connection, be hungry for leveling the playing field. That’s more than just a moral imperative. It’s believing that your best self will always be in solidarity with those who are having a hard time.” After all, he adds, “Jesus was all about [taking care of] the poor and the marginalized and then having a party.”