As U.S. president, John F. Kennedy the World. 50 years ago today he was murdered in Dallas. In the Texas oil metropolis, there will be an official commemoration for the first time.
Dallas has long refused to change its image from the bloody deed of the 22nd president. November 1963 accept. In the rest of the U.S., bookstores have been selling special editions of all kinds of magazines with pictures of Kennedy's short but eventful term in office for months now; the television program is overflowing with JFK documentaries. To his 50. On the 50th anniversary of his death, America is once again fascinated by this man, and it also wonders why.
While scholars assign him a middle ranking on the popular "presidential rankings," John F. Kennedy in surveys of the population as one of the very "great" U.S. presidents. His charisma, witty repartee, and also – after initial setbacks such as the Bay of Pigs affair in Cuba or the failed summit meeting with Soviet party leader Nikola Khrushchev – his political achievements are highlighted: He supported the civil rights movement – albeit late and in all determination only from the summer of 1963 onward. And he found a way out of arguably the most dangerous situation of the Cold War: the Cuban Missile Crisis with the Soviets deploying intermediate-range missiles on the Caribbean island.
JFK's reputation always remained high – although in the years after his death, few sympathetic details of his private life were released to the public. Kennedy's reputation as a "good Catholic" was hardly harmed by his almost pathological sex addiction, his numerous affairs with actresses, interns and prostitutes.
Already during his term in office, this behavior, which was irresponsible not only towards his admired wife Jacqueline ("Jacky"), but ultimately also for reasons of state, was known to a narrow circle.
The church hardly seems to have admonished him to mend his ways. Neither Rome nor any U.S. cardinal would have wanted a break with him or damage to the first Catholic president of the United States. This is how Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing celebrated on 25. November 1963 in the Catholic St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington before state guests from around the world, including German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard, the funeral Mass. Cushing had married Kennedy and Jacky ten years earlier and baptized their children. If there ever was dissonance between the Kennedys and the Catholic Church – to date, none has come to light.
Kennedy's 1960 presidential election broke a political wall. Many augurs had not believed the U.S. would ever elect a Catholic to the highest office of state. Kennedy became a pioneer referred to again and again for more than half a century. In his footsteps came the first Jewish vice presidential candidate, Joe Lieberman (2000), the first Mormon presidential candidate, Mitt Romney (2012), and also the first black U.S. president, Barack Obama. And now, when politicians again commemorate the life and legacy of John Fitzgerald Kennedy at the official ceremonies, the vice president of the U.S. will also speak at the occasion. His name is Joe Biden and he is a Catholic – as a matter of course.