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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kennedy to Cardinals: You're All Bigots!....Cardinal to Kennedy: You're a Fat Drunk!

Rome (AP)--Senator Edward Kennedy wasted no time in commenting on the proposed federal marriage amendment to the United States Constitution. In harsh language, characteristic of the reigning Kennedy patriarch, he denounced amendment supporters by thundering "[a] vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry, pure and simple." The Senate takes up debate on the issue today. This statement is not unusual for the socially-minded and outspoken Dean of the congressional liberal establishment. What is surprising is the fact that he includes senior churchmen of his own Church as the object of his statements. The 7 Catholic Cardinals of the U.S. signed a statement in support of the amendment. Richard Lessner broke the story for Human Events yesterday.

While the U.S. Cardinals have been silent in the face of these attacks, an outspoken retired Cardinal in Rome has not been. Giovanni Cardinal Marotta, 98, a retired official of the Roman Rota and Titular Archbishop of Colossae, spoke out forcefully today against the senior Senator from Massachusetts. "Senator potor corpulentus est! " (Which roughly translates as "The Senator is a fat drunk!") The frail elderly Cardinal, who makes his home at the Villa Santa Zita on the outskirts of Rome, still keeps abreast of the American political scene. Fr. Hilario Lim, J.C.D., canonist and former student of Cardinal Marotta said, " This is vintage Marotta. His Eminence has for a long time been critical of Catholic politicians espousing positions contrary to the Faith. While some might disagree with Cardinal Marotta's approach, he sees it as an imitation of Our Lord when he called the Pharisees a 'brood of vipers.'"

A cigar chewing, scotch drinking native of Florence, Cardinal Marotta was styled by one Vatican observer as a "modern day Dante." An outspoken cleric, he has held a number of influential posts and was once considered a papabile. He and colleague Cardinal Silvio Oddi were critics of the Vatican's permissiveness with regard to the liturgical reforms initiated by Vatican II. He was the canonical advisor to Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, the powerful Head of the Holy Office (now, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and, most recently, helped author Dominus Iesus, a controversial document that stated that Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church are the only means of salvation. In his later years, Marotta retired to a villa outside of Rome where he writes and offers spiritual direction.

In a famous incident in 1985, the Cardinal and some Jesuit seminarians were seen in the Campo de' Fiori drinking scotch, smoking his trademark cigar and singing boisterously. "It was unbelievable! I was deeply offended," said Francesca Delle Torre, then a student organizer of Marxista. "The Cardinal and seminarians were obviously intoxicated and the disrespect...(sob)...(sob)...it was too much." Delle Torre, now a campus minister, recalls that the Cardinal and his young confreres were toasting the statue of the bound Giordano Bruno and singing the Platters' famous hit Smoke gets in your Eyes. The Vatican did not take disciplinary action.

"He calls it like he sees it, and unlike the Senator from Massachusetts, he also tells the truth," said Fr. Lim.