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Remembering Ted Kennedy’s Faith, Friendships and Persona

A journalist, clergyman and congressman who were close to Sen. Ted Kennedy reflect on his personality, faith and friendships.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    We get some personal reflections now from people who knew Edward Kennedy well.

    Representative John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, worked closely with Kennedy on civil rights legislation. He joins us from Atlanta. Tom Oliphant covered Kennedy for the Boston Globe for four decades. And Father Gerry Creedon, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, a longtime family friend, Father Creedon will be one of the celebrants at the senator's funeral mass on Saturday.

    Thank you all for being with us.

    Father Creedon, to you first. What drove Ted Kennedy?

  • FATHER GERRY CREEDON:

    Well, I believe he had a passion for peace, for justice, and I think underneath that was a deep conviction about values, about faith. And I think that, in some ways, the whole history of Ireland is written into some of his history and his values, a search for freedom, a search for a better life.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    What do you mean by that?

  • FATHER GERRY CREEDON:

    Well, I first met him going to church on a Sunday at St. Luke's in McLean, and I would preach on topics like peace and justice, particularly peace.

    And while the congregation sometimes disagreed, or slept, I'd meet Ted after mass, and he'd continue to talk about the theme I was talking about, backing up the principles of Catholic social teaching, the gospel that I was addressing, with specifics, with statistics. He was somebody who was engaged and engaged in those values, especially about peace.

    And I remember the way he came out about Iraq in a prophetic way at the beginning of that press conference he invited me to that morning. And I could see the passion behind him with regard to peace, justice, nonviolence.

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