Monday, March 23, 2009
Kennedy to speak on "Being Catholic" at Sacred Heart University
By Amanda Cuda
Catholicism has long been a cornerstone of Kerry Kennedy's life.
Kennedy, daughter of the late senator and U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, came from a devoutly Catholic family, where she was the seventh of 11 children. They prayed every day, and went to church every Sunday. The Catholic church, she said, has been a tremendous influence in her life. "It's been very central to my sense of values, my sense of justice, my belief system," said Kennedy during a recent phone interview.
Yet, like many devout Catholics, Kennedy has had her faith challenged. She has disagreed with the Catholic church's stance on many issues, including abortion, stem cell research and gay marriage, and was hurt and disappointed by the handling of the sexual abuse scandal in the church.
Though her faith remained strong, Kennedy, a human rights lawyer, decided it was time to take a deeper look at Catholicism and what it means to be Catholic. The result was the bestselling book "Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning."
Kennedy will speak about her
book 7:30 p.m. Thursday at
Sacred Heart University in Ffld.
For the book, released last year, Kennedy interviewed 37 well-know authors, entertainers, politicians, activists and other public figures on their feelings on this embattled religion. Her interview subjects were an eclectic lot, including novelist and journalist Anna Quindlen, comedian and actor
Kennedy said the idea behind the project was to intensely examine Catholicism through the eyes of these prominent people, and their experiences with or ideas about the religion. She said she selected her subjects with an eye to providing a good mix of backgrounds and ideologies. "I wanted a balance of men and women," she said. "I wanted a geographical balance and diversity. I wanted different voices."
What she ended up with was a surprising mix of stories, from Quindlen discussing her son announcing at the age of 16 that he was an atheist to Sheen talking about coming back to the church after a long absence to actor Gabriel Byrne's emotional confession about sexual abuse by a priest. "It was very eye-opening to me," Kennedy said.
However, her discoveries weren't all dark and deep. "The thing that surprised me the most [during the interview process] was how much I found myself laughing," she said.
For instance, in her interview, Pelosi reveals that her mother always wanted her to be a nun. When Kennedy asked Pelosi if she ever wanted to be a nun, Pelosi replied "No, I wanted to be a priest."
Kennedy said she's hoping her book will inspire people, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to ask questions about faith, and to search diligently for the truth. Or, to quote journalist, author and "Being Catholic" interview subject Peggy Noonan, "God gave us brains, and he wants us to use them."
Kennedy's lecture will be held in the University Commons and is free and open to the public. She will also be signing copies of her book. For details, call 396-8097.
Posted by padre seraphim at 23.3.09