Catholic Bishop Bans Rep. Kennedy From Communion

November 22, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, the Democratic lawmaker from Rhode Island, and the son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, told reporters on Friday, that he has been banned from receiving the Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion, because of his pro-choice views. Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin told the Catholic Congressman that he could no longer participate in the Holy Communion ritual, while attending church services.

Rep. Kennedy said in a telephone interview, “The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion.” Kennedy said the bishop explained “that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official,” particularly on abortion.

Kennedy didn’t offer any further details and Bishop Tobin would not respond to inquiries about the ban, but his office refuted Kennedy’s claim that he ordered diocesan priests to refuse Kennedy Communion.

The bishop’s spokesman Michael K. Guilfoyle said in an e-mailed statement: “Bishop Tobin has never addressed matters relative to public officials receiving Holy Communion with pastors of the diocese.”

This latest dispute between Bishop Tobin and Rep. Kennedy seems to be the culmination of a heated public battle between the two that began in October over health care reform. Kennedy gave an interview on CNSNews.com criticizing the Catholic Church’s opposition to health care reform, unless the bill contained a strict pro-life measure to ensure no federal dollars would fund abortions.

Bishop Tobin demanded an apology from Kennedy for his remarks, and the dispute escalated to the point that the bishop published a scathing diatribe against the Catholic lawmaker in a diocesan newspaper. “Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your Communion with the Church,” wrote Tobin.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has come under increasing criticism for its heavy-handed involvement in political issues, relating to abortion and gay rights. During the passage of the historic House health care reform bill, Democratic pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan joined with the Catholic Bishops to draft a strict anti-abortion amendment to the bill, which went well beyond the current Hyde standard.

The Catholic Bishops were actually sitting in a side room off the House floor, to ensure that the strict anti-choice measure passed. Kennedy voted against the strict Stupak measure, but voted for the House bill that contained it.

And recently, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, issued a threat to the D.C. City Council saying, it would stop helping about 68,000 residents under its social service programs, unless a proposed same-sex marriage law is changed to its liking.

Bishop Tobin’s public condemnation of a Catholic lawmaker and a Holy Communion ban is extremely harsh. And not every Catholic official is in agreement with Tobin’s politicizing of Holy Communion.

Michael Sean Winters author of “Left At the Altar: How Democrats Lost The Catholics And How Catholics Can Save The Democrats” condemns Tobin’s punitive actions.

“It’s really bad theology,” said Winters. “You’re turning the altar rail into a battle field, a political battlefield no less, and it does a disservice to the Eucharist.”

The actions of Catholic officials of late, certainly give off the appearance of a religious abuse of power and overreaching into the secular political arena.

Kennedy expressed “personal feelings of disappointment” over Tobin’s Communion ban.


Comments

7 Responses to “Catholic Bishop Bans Rep. Kennedy From Communion”

  1. Fred on November 22nd, 2009 2:41 pm

    How does the Catholic Church always involve themselves in government discussions and continue to keep their tax-free status???

  2. About rep. patrick kennedy, abortion, communion, catholic church, catholic bishop | Find me About on November 22nd, 2009 5:07 pm

    […] (ChattahBox)—Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, the Democratic lawmaker from Rhode Island, and the son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, told reporters on Friday, that he has been banned from receiving the Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion, …Read Original Story: Catholic Bishop Bans Rep. Kennedy From Communion – ChattahBox […]

  3. “Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D, RI) denied Communion.” and related posts | Top USA News on November 22nd, 2009 6:20 pm

    […] Catholic Bishop Bans Rep. Kennedy From Communion – ChattahBox News Blog […]

  4. About bishop thomas, patrick kennedy, bishop abortion, rep. kennedy, communion, catholic church | Find me About on November 22nd, 2009 7:07 pm

    […] (ChattahBox)—Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, the Democratic lawmaker from Rhode Island, and the son of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, told reporters on Friday, that he has been banned from receiving the Catholic sacrament of Holy Communion, …Read Original Story: Catholic Bishop Bans Rep. Kennedy From Communion – ChattahBox […]

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  6. frank conway on November 23rd, 2009 1:43 pm

    I heard lawrence O’Donnold on Scarborough say the bishop was penalizing Kennedy for his thoughts on abortion but that is not the complete truth,he was being disiplined for the ACT of promoting a bill for abortion and voting for it.Technically he should have been excommunicated from the Catholic Church as well as the rest of the Kennedy’s.

  7. “Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D, RI) denied Communion.” and related posts « Twitter on December 20th, 2009 11:37 pm

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