Santorum and Kennedy to Attend Pope Funeral

Jimmy Carter is out but apparently Rick Santorum and Teddy Kennedy are in for Pope John Paul II’s funeral.

Santorum will be at funeral (York Daily Record)

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., will join an official Senate delegation to Vatican City this week to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, aides said Tuesday. Santorum, a Roman Catholic, will travel to Rome tonight and return Friday evening, according to a statement. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., will lead the delegation of 14 senators, which includes former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Amy Call, a spokeswoman for Frist, said the delegation will travel on a military flight separate from President Bush and first lady Laura Bush. Call said preference was given to Senate leadership and Catholic senators who asked to go.

Interesting. One wonders why there is a 14 member Senate delegation and yet the White House only gets five slots.

Update (1201): A reader wondered if any House members were going. Apparently, yes.

Representatives to Attend Pope’s Funeral (AP Newsday, Guardian)

Dozens of senators and House members will attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II on Friday, though not as part of the official U.S. delegation.

Arrangements remained mired in confusion Tuesday even as lawmakers prepared for departures beginning Wednesday night. Hotel rooms are scarce in Rome, which could result in lodging at the American Embassy, a monastery, distant hotels or even the cozy seats of the airplane, Republican and Democratic aides said.

The Senate delegation of 14 will be led by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., will lead a House delegation of 26 members, including House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Rep. Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y.

Congress will be out of session Thursday and Friday. Members began lobbying their leaders last week for seats in the delegation even before the pope died, aides said.

The Senate delegation includes Republicans Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Pete Domenici of New Mexico and Mel Martinez of Florida, and Democrats Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Joe Biden of Delaware, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Richard Durbin of Illinois, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.


The House delegation includes Republicans Chris Smith of New Jersey, Chris Cox of California, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mark Foley of Florida, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, Peter T. King of New York, Steve Chabot and Bob Ney of Ohio, Phil English of Pennsylvania, Gil Gutknecht of Minnesota and Ray LaHood of Illinois. Democratic House members in the delegation include House Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, David Obey of Wisconsin, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Jerry F. Costello of Illinois, Michael McNulty of New York, Anna Eshoo of California, Tim Holden of Pennsylvania, Bart Stupak of Michigan and Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas.

If Sheila Jackson-Lee is going, surely they could find a spot for Carter.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. kappiy says:

    “One wonders why there is a 14 member Senate delegation and yet the White House only gets five slots.”

    There is only one President and there are 100 Senators. Under the Constitution, all branches of government are co-equal. The Senate has more powers relating to foreign affairs than the House. Also, Bush is a lame duck and I wouldn’t be surprised if more than one of these Senators makes a legitimate run for the Presidency.

    Are there any House members going?

  2. James Joyner says:

    The president is the Head of State as well as the Chief Executive. Each senator is 1% of 50% of the legislative branch. And from an external sense, not even that.

    I had presumed that the president’s five picks constituted the entirety of the official U.S. delegation. It’s odd to have the legislature pick separately.

  3. Michael says:


    Not exactly. The President is the head of state, and is the only person required, by etiquette, to attend the funeral. Since all of these presidents had personal dealings with the Pope – and from what I understand, the pop and Carter were on friendly terms, Carter should have been asked to attend if other presidents were.

    What Bush did sounds more childish than presidential.

  4. Fersboo says:

    Damn that tyrant Bush! I’m voting for Kerry in ’08!

  5. McGehee says:

    Michael, previously I downplayed the significance of Carter’s not having attended the funerals of Popes Paul VI and John Paul I, but the more of a stink is made about the fact he’s not going, I find myself wondering: if it’s so all-fired important that he be invited to this one, just why didn’t he attend either of those that took place when he was actually President!?

    The childishness is Carter’s, and that of his supporters.

  6. Just Me says:

    I agree with McGehee.

    Carter is just whining. His supporters are whining even more.

    I think the US foreign policy would be better off anyway, if he just stuck to building houses.

  7. Michael says:

    Kevin: I know you would support just about anything President Bush does, even to the point of trying to make this about previous popes’ funerals and the fact that Carter never attended. I know you would decry anyone who disagreed with much of what he does as simply partisan hacks and whiners. That’s fine, if you subscribe to a strictly partisan line of doing everything you can to avoid shedding light on the obvious silliness of the president’s decision.

    What this does have to do with, for anyone here who is still open-minded enoiugh to consider that President Bush is a fallible human being, is the fact that he invited all other presidents who were able to travel.

    Bush didn’t invite Carter for one reason and one only – to make a political point – which is childish, and actually quite disgusting considering he is using a great man’s funeral to make it.

    You can look at the president through your hero glasses if you want. It doesn’t negate the fact that what he did was wrong. And it doesn’t make it right just because Carter didn’t attend previous funerals – no matter how much you’d like to spin it that way.

  8. Fersboo says:

    Yeah Kevin! Like Michael said, “You can look at the president through your hero glasses if you want.” or you can look at him through ‘Reality-based’ glasses. I understand you can pick those up from various places, such as and DemocraticUnderground.

  9. Michael says:

    I do love it when others make my point for me. We’ll call this one “Fersboo’s Law” – it’s like Goodwin’s Law, except you’re called a Radical Leftist instead of a Nazi.

    Fersboo has obviously never read anything I have written. Not surprisingly, however.

  10. Begalke Blog says:

    No offense to Jimmy, but his request is obviously self-serving.

    Beyond that, he had the opportunity to attend Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I’s funerals, but snubbed the Catholic Church both times….

    In any event, it is sad that much of media’s focus is on Jimmy Carter, and not the Pope John Paul II’s life and accomplishments.

  11. chris says:

    My undertsanding is all the congressional attendees are unofficial, and were not invited by the Vatican. The “big 5” are guranteed to get in, the congress-folk not. In fact, they do not have anyplace in Rome to stay, and are staying at a US airbase south of Rome. At least this is what I have heard from Capitol Hill. The congressional delegation was a really hot ticket for some on the Hill.

  12. Fersboo says:

    How about Fersboo’s Hypothesis – Every action or lack of action by a politician with a (R) after their name will be ridiculed and be the basis for said politician to be run from office.

  13. Fersboo says:

    That should be ( R ) not (R).

  14. Juliette says:

    One problem, Michael, both the White House and the Carter Center say that the White House *did* invite President Carter, but the latter declined, likely because he couldn’t take Mrs. Carter.

    What Bush did sounds more childish than presidential.

    Is your name really Senator Corzine?

  15. kappiy says:

    Actually, Carter should be happy. This is probably the worst time to be in Rome–If you think the normal July vacationers that clog the streets making it a two hour queue to check out the Sistine Chapel are bad, 4 million pilgrims is going to make any visit to Italy ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL!

    My advice, Jimmy: visit in October–all of the tourists are home by then.

  16. RE Gardner says:

    For Chris – I know of no US Airbase South of Rome for the Congressmen to stay. There is Aviano AFB, which is near Venice (think DC versus NYC), and the Navy Facilities around Naples (SW – think DC to Philly). The Navy Airbase at Sigonella (Sicily) is way too far to the south. Naples might be an option.

  17. Juliette says:

    In case you haven’t heard already, former President Carter was asked by the White House to go with. Twice. Via his own misuderstanding of the situation, he refused both times.