Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island is telling local media in the state that Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has "forbidden" Kennedy from receiving holy communion during Catholic services because of his strong advocacy of abortion rights as a public figure:
“The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,” Kennedy said in a telephone interview.

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 Bishop Tobin told him not to take the sacrament. And he declined to say whether he has obeyed the bishop’s injunction. ...

In an October interview about the opposition of the nation’s bishops to any health-care overhaul that did not include a strict ban on federal subsidies for abortion, Kennedy called into question the “pro-life” credentials of the churchmen. Health care for millions of uninsured is at stake, he said. Bishop Tobin shot back with a sharply worded statement, noting that the bishops are staunch and longtime supporters of reforming the health-care system. He said, however, that the bishops will not support a health-care bill that fails to include a ban on taxpayer subsidy of the procedure.

The exchange, via open letters and interviews, has continued, with Bishop Tobin pointedly suggesting that “obstinate” opposition to church doctrine on abortion should cause a Catholic public official to reconsider his membership in the church.

On Friday, in response to questions from a reporter, Kennedy asserted that Bishop Tobin had told him not to receive Communion. But like the bishop, Kennedy withheld key details about their discussions.

Asked how he reacted as a Catholic, Kennedy would say only that he has “personal feelings of disappointment” about the matter, but he declined to elaborate.



TOWNHALL MEDIA GROUP