November 22nd, 2009
02:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Bishop bars Patrick Kennedy from communion over abortion

Rep. Patrick Kennedy told a Rhode Island newspaper that a Catholic bishop has forbidden him from receiving communion due to Kennedy's support for abortion rights.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy told a Rhode Island newspaper that a Catholic bishop has forbidden him from receiving communion due to Kennedy's support for abortion rights.

Washington (CNN) - Rhode Island's top Roman Catholic leader has asked state congressman Patrick Kennedy to stop taking communion over his support for abortion rights, the diocese said Sunday.

In a statement issued Sunday, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin said he told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, "and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so."

Kennedy is the son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and scion of the most prominent Catholic family in modern U.S. politics.

The Roman Catholic church strongly opposes abortion, which has been legal across the United States since 1973. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops lobbied for tight restrictions on federal funding of abortion in the health-care bill the House of Representatives passed earlier this month.

Full story

Updated: 2:01 p.m.


Filed under: Abortion • Patrick Kennedy • Popular Posts
soundoff (327 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    My family is NOT catholic. I don't want catholics lobbying our government to dictate to me.

    If churches are involved in politics, take away their tax exempt status (and pay off our debt with what they don't pay in taxes now).

    NO MORE TAX EXEMPTION FOR CATHOLIC CHURCHES

    November 22, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Priests are still allowed to receive communion, even after having their way with the delicious little boys.

    November 22, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Death Panel Sarah

    What about the seperation of church and state?

    Why does the Catholic Church think it can influence politics?

    Why do they care about abortion, anyway?
    God LETS it happen, doesn't He??? Maybe He wants it to happen????

    They don't care about all the babies killed by bombing Iraq and Afganistan, do they?????
    I think they are hipocrits!!!!

    November 22, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. chris

    Who freaking cares Catholics don't like abortion he is Catholic he publicly supports abortion they said no to communion CNN stop stiring the pot this has nothing to do with JFK's death

    November 22, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. DB25

    So what? Join another church then.

    November 22, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. jerry

    What a bunch of elitest slime the Kennedy's are. A bunch of hypocrites at least as far back as Joe. Including John, Robert, and of course Teddy.

    November 22, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    So why was this bishop silent when Bush launched an illegal and immoral war based on deceit that has now killed 4,700 US troops and 1.3 MILLION Iraqis? More and more it looks like these "right to life" folks value ONLY embryos and fetuses...once they born they are SOL and fair game. What hypocrisy.

    November 22, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Buckeye

    WWJD? Jesus welcomed everyone. even the one who betrayed him, into the sacrament he instituted. Who the hades does the bureaucracy carrying his name think it is to deny anyone the sacrament of communion. What a bunch of elitist hypocrites!

    November 22, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. Bob

    Just like the Catholic Bishops pressuring for the Stupak language in the health care bill. I agree with GI Joe - take away the tax exempt status and watch our revenues (property taxes? New York?) soar.

    November 22, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. Steve

    The Church is right on here. They are doing the right thing by holding Catholics feet to the fire on this issue. You cannot support the murder of innocent children and expect to go to church on Sunday as if you actions do not violate what the Church stands for.

    November 22, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. Logan

    I believe the Catholic Church just violated the Internal Revenue Code regarding (501)(c)(3) organizations....will it be pursued? Nope. Just think...it took two decades to even file a civil complaint about an Islamic fundamentalist organization that supports Iran.

    November 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. wagon

    Hey duffuses...there is no separation of church and state issue here. The Catholic Church doesn't want to serve to communion to one of the creeps (another) of the Kennedy family. Good for them.

    They should have booted drunk uncle Teddy a long time ago. That's why Teddy was trying to make nice with the Church before he died. He knew he was in big trouble when we went to the other side.

    November 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. JBS

    Bishop Tobin is wrong. Abortion is not a moral issue, it's a medical issue. The Church practices moral relativism in many ways. Tobin could care less about life, if he did he would be demanding carbon curbs to save future humanity. The Church is only interested in controlling women's sexuality inorder to dominate. I'm Catholic. I support abortion rights and I receive communion. Kenndy can join my church.

    November 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  14. Al Brosseau

    With this action the chuch (note the small c) is blurring one the most important principle of democracy, the separation of government and church.
    Furthermore, how can an organization that protects pedophiles have any credibility?

    November 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  15. the One

    Let them deny communion to all who use birth control and have had or condone abortion. See how that works out for them. Perhaps deny them the right to make financial contributions, since that money is tainted by the giver's politics/morals.

    November 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  16. Cybersport

    Religious organization should have their tax-exempt staus taken away for this kind of thing. Contributions to these organizations... all denominations, not just the Catholic Church, should no longer be tax deductable

    November 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  17. Carl from AC

    The comments on stories related to the Church are so ridiculous they make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon. Like any other organization in our country, the Church is allowed to deal with its membership in a fashion befitting its purpose and charter. Catholics who have knowingly committed 'mortal sin' can't receive until they renounce and repent the sin (yes, including priests, or anyone else, who have committed mortal sexual sin). If the Church wants to withhold Eucharist, they can. If Kennedy doesn't like it, Catholicism isn't the only religious show in town.

    But! The Bishop denies the claim! So we don't even know what we're talking about here. Its hearsay. Its he-said/he-said. Why don't we wait to find out what actually happened before we throw an anti-Catholic riot, alright?

    November 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. bill

    The bishop should have been aborted.

    November 22, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. Obama = Abortion

    You cannot be both Catholic and pro-abortion.

    November 22, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  20. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    I can think of worst punishments, the bread is usually quite stale and, as a recovering alcoholic, he shouldn't be drinking wine anyway.

    Did this idiot also refuse communion to Catholics who supported Bush's Iraq War?

    November 22, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  21. TBA

    The most richest and most powerful corporation in the world is the Catholic Church. Tax exampt, muti billion dollars in revnue each year, presit never convicted for child molestation, church is the ONLY religion represented in the UN.

    November 22, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  22. Jim Higgenbottom

    Thank God for a man of the cloth doing what needs to be done. May God look favorably upon him.

    November 22, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. Marie MD

    This is why I am no longer a catholic nor any other religion. Take away exemption of all, any church, who meddles in politics.

    November 22, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Ryan

    Those are the three least thought out comments I have seen in a long time. All of you seem to confuse Kennedy the man with Kennedy the Congressman. This has nothing to do with the Church trying to influence politics. It has to do with a fundamental moral position of the Church, which abhors (as it rightly should) the murder of innocent children to satisfy the whims of a few malcontents.

    There is simply no consistent way to argue in favor of abortion rights. There is no express right to privacy, but there is a very clear right to life–a right, I would add, that is the ground for all subsequent rights. Thus, to deny the right to life is to deny all rights, including an implied right to privacy, thereby negating any affirmative argument one can make for abortion.

    Sarah, Taliban, and GI Joe, you all need to step back for a moment and consider how unreasonable, immoral, intellectually weak, and downright rude your comments are.

    November 22, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. Lucky B

    If the Catholic Church feels free to lobby and influence the political process, then its tax exempt status should be revoked. The same should apply to all churches pushing a political agenda. A faction of this country is trying to establish a theocracy in which a narrow view of reality should apply to all. My question is why their imaginary friend's ideas (or their intrepretation thereof) are supposed to be superior?
    This country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion, and more importantly freedom FROM religion. Let's get back to that, please.
    When the Catholic Church openly admits that it has been and still is a haven for pedophiles, and openly admits its abuse of the rights of young pregnant girls in Ireland, and makes proper financial amends to all, it just might have the time to pay attention to the fact that whining about abortion without putting the same energy into protesting war and violence (which kill the already born) and gain a tiny bit of credibility. What hypocrisy!

    November 22, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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