There was a poignant footnote to President Obama's historic July 10 meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Behind closed doors in the papal library, Obama handed Benedict a letter that Senator Edward Kennedy had asked him to personally deliver to the Pontiff. [...]
Back at headquarters, however, there is little room for nuance. "Here in Rome, Ted Kennedy is nobody. He's a legend with his own constituency," says the Vatican official. "If he had influence in the past, it was only with the Archdiocese of Boston, and that eventually disappeared too." Some say the final sunset on the Kennedy name within Catholic halls of power was the Vatican's decision in 2007 to overturn the annulment of the first marriage of former U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy, the eldest son of Robert Kennedy. The successful appeal by Joe Kennedy's ex-wife Sheila Rauch, an Episcopalian, was another blow to the Kennedy image in Catholic circles.