Two weeks after President Obama hand delivered a letter to Holy Father from Sen. Kennedy, the Pope responded, writing, as usual, through a senior Vatcan official:
"The Holy Father has read the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and has asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness.
He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of the universal Church. "His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the Risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life."
Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord."
Pope Benedict wisely, and predictably, rendered no judgment on Kennedy's public record. . . . but [offered] his charitable and heartfelt expressions of support and prayer . . .