Kennedy’s widow told priest Jackie letters could be ‘burned’

Cork-born confidant of Kennedy clan says Jackie’s privacy should be respected

The widow of Robert F Kennedy believes the letters written by Jackie Kennedy to a Dublin priest could be destroyed to end the controversy about the privacy of the correspondence.

Ethel Kennedy (86) made her views known to Irish priest Fr Gerard Creedon who is a close personal friend of the Kennedy family and is now based in Virginia.

Fr Creedon said Jackie's letters to All Hallows College priest Fr Joseph Leonard were private and that he agreed with the decision of the provincial of the Vincentian order to halt the auction of the letters. "When I talked with Ethel Kennedy about them, she came up with a solution – the letters could be burned," Fr Creedon told The Irish Times, speaking from his parish in Dale City, a town almost 30 miles southwest of Washington DC.

All Hallows

The Cork-born priest, who attended All Hallows in the 1960s, said their destruction could be done “to put an end to the story”.


Asked about the historical value of the letters, Fr Creedon said: “I just think that is a lot of malarkey. I think they are private letters.

“They belong to her and I think the respectable thing to do would be to allow them to be private.”


Fr Creedon has officiated at Kennedy family baptisms, weddings and funerals. He assisted at the funeral of US senator

Ted Kennedy

in 2009 and met Jackie Kennedy many times before her death in 1994.

“She was a very private person,” he said, referring to her letters. “I am sure that she would have wanted to have her privacy respected.”

The Cork priest said he had asked Jackie about her friendship with Fr Leonard and she said they had a “comment interest in literature”.

Fr Creedon began his friendship with the Kennedys in 1975 when he was assigned to St Luke’s Church in McLean, a Washington suburb, where Ethel Kennedy and her brother-in-law, Ted Kennedy, were parishioners.

The priest remained friends with the family after he moved to another nearby parish, in Arlington, northern Virginia.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times