John Kerry’s Easter Message: I’m ‘First Catholic Secretary of State in 33 Years’

Terence P. Jeffrey | April 20, 2014 | 10:14pm EDT
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(AP Photo/Carl Juste)

( - In an op-ed published in the Boston Globe on Easter Sunday and posted on the State Department website, Secretary of State John Kerry recalled his days as an altar boy and pointed out that he is “the first Catholic Secretary of State in 33 years.”

Alexander Haig, who served as secretary of state to President Ronald Reagan from January 1981 to July 1982, was also a Catholic.

Last month, I traveled to Rome with President Obama, where I was honored to meet His Holiness Pope Francis,” said Kerry.  “As an altar boy six decades ago, I never imagined that I would find myself crossing the threshold of the Vatican to see the Bishop of Rome.”

“My wife, Teresa, and I took our own pilgrimage three years ago at Easter to Assisi, and traveled to Porziuncala to see the chapel which St. Francis restored out of the rubble, one of his own special ways of acting upon the prophecy visited upon him to “repair my house,” said Kerry.

“Two years later, Teresa and I sat in Mass at Georgetown as our priest shared the moving story of the moment Pope Francis decided to take Francis for his name as the Holy Father--after the Cardinal from Brazil shared his caution not to ‘forget the poor,’” said Kerry.

“Today, as the first Catholic Secretary of State in 33 years, I find special joy and pride in the way that the United States can partner with the Holy See to help meet some of our greatest global challenges,” said Kerry. “Among those challenges, we find perhaps no greater threat to human dignity, no greater assault on basic freedom, than the evil of human trafficking — what we call modern-day slavery and what Pope Francis himself denounced as ‘a crime against humanity.’”

Kerry supports legalized abortion. In January 2004, when he was running for president then-Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis said that Kerry should not go to communion.

"I would have to admonish him not to present himself for communion," Burke was quoted as saying by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I might give him a blessing or something."

"If his archbishop has told him he should not present himself for communion, he shouldn't," said Burke. "I agree with Archbishop O'Malley."

The Post-Dispatch noted then that Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston had "issued a statement saying that a Catholic official who favors abortion rights should not receive communion."

Archbishop Burke is now the cardinal who oversees the Vatican's highest court.

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