The Shrivers represented the old Democratic Party—economically liberal and culturally conservative. They were routed by the new Democratic Party—economically liberal and culturally libertine—of which Ted became the poster boy. The tortured relationship of the Catholic Church with the Democratic Party mirrored that cleavage. Eunice was the ideal of the Catholic in public life—passionately committed to the poor, defender of the weak, pro-life, morally upright and a woman of faith and family. But the party followed Ted.
The Shrivers were devout Catholics who lived their faith with integrity privately before bringing its implications to the public square. Before Alzheimer’s took its toll on Sargent, he was a daily communicant, attending Mass either in Maryland or in Hyannis, Mass., a well-worn rosary often in hand.
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