Ted’s Funeral – introductory speech

Ted Kennedy had a great love of Ireland and empathy with the struggles of the Irish. He was very familiar with what Patrick Pearse had to say at the grave side of O’Donovan Rossa. What Pearse had to say was this:

“Splendid and holy causes are served by splendid and holy men.”

The cause to which Ted Kennedy selflessly devoted his life was the liberation of the human spirit. Ted found the expression of that liberation in poetry, in art, in theatre, in friendship and in the sheer joy of life. Of course for Ted, the most potent expression of the liberation of the human spirit was to be found in the teachings of Jesus Christ and in the exploration of those teachings by people such as Cardinal Newman, Karl Rahner, Dorothy Day, the liberation theologians of South America, Thomas Merton and of course Shirley Smith.

The liberation of the human spirit is surely a splendid and holy cause and Ted, was a splendid and holy man. He was splendid and holy in the fierceness of his love for Aboriginal people; in his heroic faith, a faith untrammelled by dogma. He was splendid and holy in his disobedience to the forces of gravity that defeat so many of us. He was splendid and holy in his authority, an authority bestowed not from clerical office but from the very significance of what he had to say. Ted was splendid and holy in his action, in his refusal to act, in his gentleness and in his anger. He was splendid and holy in conscience and in the imaginative possibilities of what it means to be fully human. Finally, and of course most magnificently, he was splendid and holy in his friendship and love, of which so many of us are the rich beneficiaries.

Ted Kennedy was a great friend and I loved him.

On behalf of Ted’s family, his friends and the community of St Vincent’s Redfern, I welcome you all to Ted’s Requiem which will be celebrated by his friend Bishop David Cremin.

Before we commence the Mass, let me thank the Aboriginal people of Redfern for their invitation to farewell Ted on this their sacred land, and introduce Richard Green, who will Welcome us to Country. Following the Welcome to Country, the Mass will commence.

Danny Gilbert

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply