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Boston Globe asks and answers: Is Ted Kennedy going to heaven?

Having exhausted the angles of Ted Kennedy's life and death, Boston's newspaper of record yesterday took the extraordinary step of addressing the Senator's afterlife. Actual excerpt from Sunday's Boston Globe

Q. Is Senator Kennedy going to heaven?

A. Catholic theologians say that is a question for God, not church officials or any of Senator Kennedy’s fans or foes. An archdiocesan official says, “The purpose of the funeral liturgy is to pray for the soul of the deceased person. Our prayer is inspired by our hope in God’s mercy and forgiveness. Senator Kennedy, like any person, was imperfect and in need of God’s mercy.’’

Just in case it isn't clear from the format, the "Q" and "A" are not excerpted from the Globe interviewing an expert. It's from the Globe interviewing itself. Which makes the piece -- written by Michael Paulson, author of Boston.com's "Articles of Faith" blog, and wedged on the page next to the text of Kennedy's correspondence with the Pope -- appear a little stranger than it might have been if it'd been written as a narrative. Most of the article is devoted to parsing Kennedy's funeral from a Catholic perspective, including the news that the archdoicese gave special dispensation for the mass to depart from the traditional one-speaker rule in order to acommodate, among others, the President of the United States.

Still, it seems supremely odd to see a newspaper attempt to handle, journalistically, a question that on its face cannot be handled by journalism. We half-expected to read a qualifier along the lines of, "At press time, God did not respond to a reporter's immediate request for comment." 

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