My first thought on seeing this headline: This is ridiculous. He's the pope, for crying out loud, does anyone honestly think he has time to send a personal response to passing of every prominent Roman Catholic in the world?
After reading the whole article: Fr. James Martin comments that Ted Kennedy was a complicated man. Well, of course he was, I tend to think most people are complicated in some facet or another. And I don't believe that those Catholics who take a stance on some issue in opposition to that consistent with Church teaching automatically sever all their ties to Her, least of all the emotional ones. Is it inconsistent, usually intellectually dishonest? Yeah, usually. But we're fallen humans. We all do that.
I'm the last to defend some of Kennedy's actions in life, and I agree the choices of politicians have moral consequences (which for Catholic politicians can include receiving Communion or not), but I don't think it's odd that he apparently stayed connected to the faith of his youth (especially since, you know, it's True and all, and it's hard to remove yourself from that once you're in it, though you may turn a blind eye to it sometimes, as he did). Nor do I believe Pope Benedict's silence is some indication of his take on Kennedy's life.
I'm also the last to make any judgment as to the state of his soul -- that's strictly between him and God. I always hope the deceased make it home. If they do, then there's hope for me.