(CAPTION: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaking recently at the shrine of St. Francis in San Francisco. See more photos from this event in the Fog City Journal. Image copyright Luke Thomas, 2007)
RFK JR. KEEPS THE FAITH
With so many politicians pandering to the interests of the religious right, too often promising anything they think will get the Christian vote (while ignoring the most basic of Christian values), it’s so refreshing to hear what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has to say. When he speaks of faith, one not only feels that he is talking from the heart, but that the convictions he holds are truly his own.
This was evident in a recent speech he gave in California. RFK Jr. flew to San Francisco in early September to promote his children’s book, Saint Francis of Assisi:A Life of Joy, and toured the construction of a replica of Saint Francis’ porziuncola.
The replica is being constructed inside the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, a church in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach district.
RFK Jr. attended a special mass at the National Shrine of Saint Francis where he gave a passionate speech about the life of Saint Francis before attending a book signing.
Kennedy (who is Catholic), takes his middle name from St. Francis, like his father before him. “Saint Francis is the patron saint of our home.” RFK Jr. told the audience.
“He is an ecumenical saint. He’s the most loved saint in the world, next to the Virgin Mary, and he continues to be today. I was attracted to him because of my love of nature. It was one of his core values as well.
“He represents so many issues that are relevant today. Not just the environment, but also the issue of peace.
“To be able to write this book and teach this story to children was just a great privilege and a great joy for me,” Kennedy said.
In his speech, Kennedy stressed the point that many of our elected leaders and presidential candidates always seem to miss: the fundamental duty of a society to render service to God by helping the least fortunate among us.
“Saint Francis said the way we find happiness in ourselves is by committing ourselves to the poor.” He said, speculating that “if Francis were alive today he’d be working the AIDS wards, among the most vulnerable of our society.
RFK Jr. encouraged all in attendance to ”try and live your life with the perfect imitation of Christ’s life. Do what he did, not what someone tells you to do. To me that’s the most inspiring message. It’s a message that’s relevant to all of us today – the message of peace, protecting the environment – and it’s a message of take care of the poor and ultimately democracy as well.
“GOD GAVE US A BRAIN SO WE COULD THINK FOR OURSELVES” – RFK JR.
“We should not sell ourselves to some ideology or some dogma, but rather think for ourselves. God gave us a brain so that we could think for ourselves and not so that we could believe blindly and ignore science. Search for the truth, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing.
“Fundamentalism is a perversion of religion. It’s a way of controlling people and expanding imperial ambitions. Religion is at its best when it searches for existential truth.
“God gave us such a wonderful world and we should be exploring it, learning it, understanding it, and not just saying, ‘ok, all I need to do is learn what’s in this one little book.’
“Most historians believe he single-handedly brought an end to the dark ages. He tried to bring everyone closer to the church and democratize the church.” And, Kennedy added with a knowing smile, “He was a quiet revolutionary.”
Source: Fog City Journal