CARDINAL CUSHING, Archbishop of Boston, said last week he-was offering his resignation to Pope Paul because of the hostile publicity and "hate mail" he had received after his defence of Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy's marriage to Mr. Aristotle Onassis.
The cardinal, who was born in Boston 73 years ago to Irish immigrant parents, had planned to retire when he became 75. If accepted, his resignation would take effect at the end of this year.
He said in a radio interview that he had never maintained Mrs. Kennedy could be married in the Catholic Church. "I said she could marry anyone she wished, and that's what the Press picked up.
-1 also told her that if the marriage was invalid, she could not receive the sacraments of the Catholic Church hut could participate in the liturgy the Mass, for example."
SISTER MARRIED JEW Cardinal Cushing likened Mrs. Kennedy's situation to that of his own sister. who married a Jew. "They lived together in perfect peace and harmony for more than 30 years." He added that the late President John Kennedy had asked him to take care of his wife and children if anything happened to him, and he felt he had discharged his obligation.
Mrs. Kennedy, said Cardinal Cushing, had visited him shortly before her marriage, simply to tell him of her plans and not to ask his advice. He denied reports in the Greek Press that Mr. and Mrs. Onassis had telephoned him after the wedding to thank him for his support.
TWO OFFERS TO RESIGN In a message to the Boston archdiocesan weekly newspaper, The Pilot, the Cardinal said: "Despite reports in the news media, I have not been in communication with Jacqueline Kennedy since her marriage. . .
"My recent remarks on this subject, which have been widely quoted and also somewhat misunderstood, have been intended to elicit a measure of kindness and understanding in a difficult situation. I continue to plead for charity in this regard."
Cardinal Cushing has twice offered to resign in the last ten years, each time saying he wanted to go to South America as a missionary in the Society of St. James the Apostle, a missionary order which he founded. Each time the Pope rejected the otter, preferring him to stay in Boston.
From his seminary days the Cardinal has shown a deep concern for the poor and afflicted. A few months after his installation as Archbishop of Boston in 1944 he opened St. Francis' Refuge for men on Boston's "skid row" the old, the poor and wanderers of all types.
Seven hundred a day were cared for regardless of religious belief. They received a substantial meal every day, and were free to come and go as they pleased.