PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy from receiving Communion, the central sacrament of the church, in Rhode Island because of the congressman’s support for abortion rights, Kennedy said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.
The decision by the outspoken prelate, reported on The Providence Journal’s Web site, significantly escalates a bitter dispute between Tobin, an ultra orthodox bishop, and Kennedy, a son of the nation’s most famous Roman Catholic family.
Fox News is exhibiting bias. Bishop Tobin is not an ULTRA ORTHODOX bishop because he is standing firm on a Church position. This is an example of the Church not bending to the fashionable PC position, or as Pope John Paul II called it: moral relativism. Whether a non-Catholic, or a Catholic for that matter, agrees with this position or not, the Church has no gray area on abortion. The Catholic Church has been unequivocal on this issue: abortion is a sin; it is the manifestation of a culture of death that the Church believes we have in America. There is no maybe about it. If the Church and her bishops remain firm on a basic tenant against abortion, as most evangelical churches also believe, that does not make them ULTRA ORTHODOX. It makes them believers with a conviction.
“The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,” Kennedy told the paper in an interview conducted Friday.
Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him “that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official,” particularly on abortion.
He declined to say when or how Tobin told him not to take the sacrament. And he declined to say whether he has obeyed the bishop’s injunction.
Sorry, Congressman, but that is how it is. You cannot be “a good practicing Catholic” and at the same time be pro-abortion. And you cannot blackmail the Church into relenting on this by taking it to the press and trying to make the Church the bad guy. No one needs to tell a practicing Catholic that he or she cannot receive communion regarding this issue. ANY practicing Catholic knows that on this topic, if he is pro-abortion, he CANNOT receive communion.
The paper said the bishop’s spokesman declined to address the question of whether he had told Kennedy not to receive Communion. But the bishop’s office cast doubt on Kennedy’s related assertion about instructions to state priests.
“Bishop Tobin has never addressed matters relative to public officials receiving Holy Communion with pastors of the diocese,” spokesman Michael K. Guilfoyle told the paper in an e-mailed statement.
Kennedy could appeal the decision to officials in the Vatican, but the hierarchy of the Catholic church is unlikely to overturn a bishop, said Michael Sean Winters, a church observer and author of “Left At the Altar: How Democrats Lost The Catholics And How Catholics Can Save The Democrats.”
“It’s really bad theology,” said Winters, who opposes abortion. “You’re turning the altar rail into a battle field, a political battlefield no less, and it does a disservice to the Eucharist.”
Bad theology? BAD THEOLOGY? Who died and made this guy St. Augustine?
In the words of Pope John Paul II, “A society with a diminshed sense of the value of human life at its earliest stage has already opened the door to a culture of death.” For myself, I’ll take his theology and that of St. Augustine over this modern day secular writer. Even if I didn’t agree with John Paul or St. Augustine, they are more authoritative regarding Church teachings than Winters is.
If anyone is turning the alter rail into a battlefield, it’s Kennedy and those Catholic politicians like him. I’ll say it again: The Church has a stand on this issue and will not bend on it. Winters wants to make the Church into a social war-mongering institution but it’s the politicians who are going to war – in the press – because they want a pass for following their own conscience and not the edicts of the Church that they profess to belong to. If Kennedy can’t live by the teachings of the Church, he needs to find one that’s a better fit for him. But do not expect the Church to turn a blind eye to this just because he’s a congressman or a Kennedy.
The dispute between the two men began in October when Kennedy in an interview on CNSNews.com criticized the nation’s Catholic bishops for threatening to oppose a massive expansion of the nation’s health care system unless it included tighter restrictions on federally funded abortion.
In his CNSNews.com interview, Kennedy said this: “I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person – that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured. You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life saving health care? I thought they were pro-life. If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it’s going to provide health care that are going to keep people alive. So this is an absolute red herring and I don’t think that it does anything but to fan the flames of dissent and discord and I don’t think it’s productive at all.”
There are several gross errors in his quote, not the least of which is that there are NOT 50million uninsured people in America. What a movable number that is!
But I digress.
The Church is for health care reform and he knows that very well. To Kennedy I say, the Church does believe in the dignity of the “human person” which is precisely why it has such a firm stand against abortion, ya big dummy! And if anyone is fanning flames of dissent and discord, it’s milque toast politicians like you who keep expecting and demanding that the Church back down and back off on this and conform to the moral relativism that is far too pervasive in this country now.
The majority of Americans (Catholic and non-Catholic alike) do not want their tax dollars paying for someone’s abortion or their birth control. Most Americans, unlike our politicians, believe in some kind of personal responsibility, especially in areas as intimate as reproduction. Congress just refuses to get it. You don’t have to be pro-life or a Catholic to believe in personal responsibility. But you certainly can’t be a democrat and believe it.
“While I greatly respect the Catholic Church and its leaders, like many Rhode Islanders, the fact that I disagree with the hierarchy of the church on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic,” Kennedy wrote in a letter to Tobin, agreeing to a sitdown. “I embrace my faith which acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity.”
Again, ya big dummy, it DOES make you less Catholic! I’m not going to beat this dead horse anymore.
Yes, we are an imperfect humanity but does that give us permission to not strive for being more perfect and better humans? Should we all just agree that we aren’t perfect and therefore we have no reason to address those things in our society and our lives that would make this a better world? Or do we have to address only those things that YOU think would make us more perfect?
Face it, Congressman: You ARE just a big dummy!
[Bishop] Tobin followed up with a biting public letter published in a diocesan newspaper.
“Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an ‘imperfect humanity.’ Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your Communion with the Church,” Tobin wrote.