The liberal senator "was constantly in the front line in battles such as the protection of immigrants, gun control, (and) minimum wage for the poorest.
"But unfortunately there were positions on his part in favour of abortion," said a report in the Vatican's official newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
Kennedy, who died on Tuesday after a year-long battle with brain cancer, aged 77, "put his signature to many laws that - some say - redesigned contemporary America," the daily said.
The Kennedy clan is one of America's most prominent Roman Catholic families, and his brother, John, was America's first Catholic president, but Ted Kennedy's liberal political beliefs led him to back women's reproductive rights from the mid-1970s.
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