On JFK’s Houston Speech

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

 

On the list of good company Sarah Palin finds herself in criticizing that Kennedy speech is Kennedy family friend Archbishop Philip Hannan from New Orleans (who is currently ailing). He has a fascinating new book out, The Archbishop Wore Combat Boots. (If you like history, you’ll probably enjoy it.) In it he writes: “From my perspective, Kennedy went overboard in emphasizing his independence from the Catholic Church, essentially promising an arm’s length manifesto as well as a wall of separation between himself and the Church ….” Archbishop Hannan describes urging resources like Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray — who wrote extensively on church-state issues — on speechwriter Ted Sorensen, but ultimately failing. Kennedy was true to his speech, I suppose, in this way.