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JACKIE KENNEDY RECORDS THIRD CONVERSATION 48 YEARS AGO TODAY

March 4, 2012


JACKIE KENNEDY RECORDS THIRD CONVERSATION 48 YEARS AGO TODAY

Georgetown, District of Columbia (JFK+50) 48 years ago today Jacqueline Kennedy recorded her third in a series of oral history conversations with historian & former JFK assistant Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

The audio recording, released late last year by the decision of Caroline Kennedy, was intended to help take the place of the memoirs that President Kennedy did not live to write.

Both the transcripts & the audio tapes, published in a set retailing for $60, are available from the JFK Library as well as other sources.


President & Mrs. Kennedy, Washington, D.C. May 3, 1961, Photo by Abbie Rowe, NPS, JFK Library

JACQUELINE KENNEDY, HISTORIC CONVERSATIONS, THE THIRD CONVERSATION III

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 concludes our report on the third conversation from “Jacqueline Kennedy, Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy”, published by Hyperion.


The third conversation was recorded 48 years ago today on March 4, 1964.

Arthur Schlesinger asks Mrs. Kennedy:

“Would you say (JFK) was a religious man?”

Jacqueline answers:

“Oh, yes….he never missed church one Sunday that we were married…he wanted to have that on his side.”

Mr. Schlesinger asks:

“He’d say prayers every night?”

Mrs. Kennedy responds:

“Yeah, but he’d do it so quickly.  It was really a little ritualistic thing. I thought  (it) was so sweet.”

Arthur Schlesinger then asks:

“And what about (Cardinal) Spellman?”*

Jackie answers:

So many of the Catholics were so to the right–to the right of Barry Goldwater. Spellman was one of them.  And now he’s left in the backwash–in the new wave of the Church.  I’m so pleased.”

*Francis Cardinal Spellman was Archbishop of Boston (1932-1939) & Archbishop of New York (1939-1967).

Spellman, born in Whitman, Massachusetts, has been described as a close confidante of FDR & a supporter of Joesph McCarthy. He was a strong anti-communist.

And in spite of having a”long partnership” with Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., Cardinal Spellman supported Richard Nixon in 1960.  4 years later he backed LBJ.


Francis Cardinal Spellman (1889-1967)

Cardinal Spellman once said:

“Pray as if it depends upon God & work as if it depends upon man.”**

**This quotation expresses much the same idea as JFK’s concluding words of his Inaugural Address:

“So let us go forth to lead the land we love.  Asking His blessing & His help. But knowing that, here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own.”

Mr. Schlesinger asks Mrs. Kennedy:

“What happened at confessional?”

She answers:

“He’d have a secret service man go stand in line (for an hour) for him, then he’d ….just slip in the line so nobody really knew who he was.”

Schlesinger expresses the view that he always considered Bobby “more religious” than the President.

Mrs. Kennedy agrees:

“Oh yes.  Much.  I mean, you know, go to things like First Friday.”***

***First Friday is the Catholic custom of Prayer & Holy Communion on the 1st Friday of 9 consecutive months.


Saint Matthews Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Photo by John White (2011)


               

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