Titled “The New American Compact,” the ad denounced abortion as a drastic reversal of American progress towards liberty and justice for all. It declared the pro-abortion Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade to be “the most momentous act of exclusion in our history” which deprived every unborn human being of the “most fundamental” human right to life.
The ad also called for support for policies that help both mother and child, saying “We can choose to extend once again the mantle of protection to all members of the human family, including the unborn.”
If such choices are made, the signatories predicted, “America will experience a new birth of freedom, bringing with it a renewed spirit of community, compassion, and caring."
Columnist Fr. Raymond J. de Souza, writing in Canada’s National Post, compared Shriver favorably to other members of the Kennedy family.
“Robert Sargent Shriver lived his life as God intended. He was a devout Catholic, often at daily Mass and never without his rosary. A faithful husband and devoted father, he applied his considerable talent and influence on behalf of the weak and the poor. He knew the glamour of the spotlight, but worked for those in the shadows,” Fr. de Souza wrote.
“Shriver was the most outstanding statesman in a tradition that has almost entirely disappeared -- the principled Catholic man of the left.”
The columnist charged that the political left became allied with “the agenda of sexual libertinism” through “the corrosive politics of abortion.” This made the defense of traditional values and concern for the poor appear to be incompatible.
“Today's Democratic Party would never nominate a pro-life Catholic for national office; Shriver's nomination in 1972 was the last of its kind. The political left has become the party of secularism, something that pained both Sargent and Eunice Shriver in their latter years,” Fr. de Souza claimed.
He suggested that Shriver kept his values because for him politics was “only a means.” He also noted that Shriver’s former speechwriter and friend Colman McCarthy has suggested that Sargent and Eunice will be canonized as saints. Fr. de Souza said this was the right category for his legacy because “the true platform of Shriver’s life was the Gospel.”
A public wake for Shriver will be held at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday. A private funeral Mass will be held on Jan. 22 at Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac, Maryland on Saturday. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, will celebrate the Mass.