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Cardinal Mahony calls Kennedy a champion of the powerless [Updated]

August 26, 2009 | 11:00 am

Lanow.mahoney Cardinal Roger Mahony issued a statement today calling the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) a champion of "the voiceless, the powerless and the most needy of our citizens."

Mahony, leader of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, recalled how the two worked together after the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act was introduced in 2007.

Kennedy "was keenly aware of the plight of immigrant peoples in our nation and was an advocate for their rights and their full inclusion into the culture and economy of our country."

Mahony was one of several prominent California figures to issue statements about the death of Kennedy on Tuesday night.

"Even though he lived in the far northeast corner of our country, he had a deep and personal sense of the needs of the poorest across the land," Mahony said. "He never tired in speaking up for them and their rights and needs."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement Tuesday night that said he and his wife were "saddened by the passing of Uncle Teddy."

Mahony said in his statement: "He was known to the world as the Lion of the Senate, a champion of social justice, and a political icon. Teddy taught us all that public service isn't a hobby or even an occupation, but a way of life and his legacy will live on."

[Updated at 11:55 a.m.: California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown issue this statement: "All through the years, Ted Kennedy has been a voice for the voiceless, fighting injustice and championing compassion and equality. America has lost a wonderful human being."]

 -- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahony in 2006. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times