November 22nd, 2009
02:01 PM ET
9 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. LeeB

    If the Church wants to play a political role and insists on putting pressure on political figures to influence their vote then they are in violation of their Tax Exempt status.Make the church pay income tax, property tax, etc. Threaten their money, aand watch how quickly they change their tune.

    November 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Senior Lilarose in Oregon

    Hmmm, apparently Bishop Thomas J. Tobin now believes he "sitteth on the right hand of God Almighty" in decreeing WHO receives communion!

    Will his parishioners begin washing the bishop's feet daily?

    The Roman Catholic Church began on the right foot after Jesus' death, but it has steadily gone downhill since then because the people have forgotten Who is in charge and Who makes the decisions, especially the final one–who gets through the Pearly Gates.

    If Patrick Kennedy isn't allow through the Gates, will it be the Bishop's decision or God's????

    Stay tuned!

    November 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. John in Brooklyn

    If the bishop isn't also banning all others who support abortion rights, then it can be assumed that he is focusing only on influencing public policy, not the issue of abortion in general. As such, he violates the laws that protect his diocese's not-for-profit status.


    November 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. Stephen

    IThe Bishop is absolutly right. The Bishop is an spokes person for God, picked by God. In reality he is doing Kennedy a big favor. Jesus said"anyone recieves me under mortal sin condems himself.
    It is about time.
    This is a question that shouldn't even be asked. It is commen sense.
    Thank You
    Stephen Cataldo

    November 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Sheryl

    @Debbie–you'd better watch just confirmed your faith and your contradiction to their anti-abortion stance. They'll issue a Non-Debbie Communion policy!!

    November 22, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. bill

    Hey Theresa – I don't want my tax dollars spent murdering babies in Iraq and Afghanistan either. Look in a mirror, sister.

    November 22, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. AppalledByReligion

    All of this fuss over a sip of wine and a cracker.

    Kenedy can get the same effect out of a bottle of Yellow Tail and Some Saltines.

    This whole conversation is completely pointless.

    November 22, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. James Norman

    For someone to day "The Priest must be a Republic" is just stupid. The Priest is a Catholic. If someone wants go to a church that supports abortion and divorce then join a faith that supports what you believe in. Don't be so fake that you just go to the church your parents showed you when you don't support anything they teach. That just shows how fake most "Catholics" are that hold office.

    November 22, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Rich


    Because the third position makes no sense. It is a huge intellectual cop-out.

    Abortion does not "live and let live", it "lives and actively ends the life of another".

    And what does your position have to say on murder of a person after he or she has left the uterus? Would you impose your views on that on other people, or let someone kill another and just "not agree"?

    November 22, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. methuselah

    And yet another reason not to join the Catholic church. I can respect their view on abortion, but not the point of refusing communion to someone who politically supports abortion within our legal framework. The Catholic church is still the ultimate thought police organization. No Condoms for Africa is their cry while many die from preventable std transmission.

    November 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Diesel

    All you people whinning about paying taxes for murder, are the same people who support the Death Penalty.

    you can't have it both ways. It is absurd!

    November 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Bigfoot Never Lies

    Ahh the hypocrisy of it all. The organization that has killed millions since its creation for power and control, killed those who thought differently and believed differently is refusing one of there own in power. I love it.

    Non believers will cause the fall of the church so we must protect it hahaha. They bring themselves down from the inside once again trying to fill people with hated, doubt and hiding the wrong doings of trusted members of the community.

    Abortion is murder so you can't follow our instructions to be saved blah blah blah. Several inquisitions, religious purging in many countries and they go against what can, when needed, save the lived of many women. Great job, great job. Keep up the good work so all you have left are fanatics, I see several in this tread.

    November 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Zoeysmom92081

    As a recovering Catholic I'm not surprised especially with Ratzinger sitting on the papal throne. What would Jesus do?

    November 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Greg the Apostate

    Once again, these perverted male "celibates" force their will on reproductive issues, ignoring the "render unto Caesar" admonition. The solution here is to take away the tax exemption of the church and with all the child molestation monies flying out the door, they will be worthless, as they are morally bankrupt. anyone in your love life, Bishop Tobin? LOL

    November 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Royster

    This is the same church that believes women are second class citizens and cannot become priests; that gays are a aberration to the world; and the same church that hushed up the priest child abuse i this country.
    How dare the bishops try and stop a person from communicating with their own god? This is a fundamental difference between catholic and protestant........protestants believe our relaitonship is directly with god, not thru an intermediary which, especially these days, an intermediary with an agenda.

    November 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. dwayne cobb

    TAX the catholic church as a political action committee.

    November 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. PAUL

    I don't want these Papists who were appointed by an evil , threatening and deceitful church, telling people how they can think and govern. This is the same church that instilled fear and death to millions of good people throughout the world for hundreds of years.

    November 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Philippa Catling

    Choice is indeed every persons prerogative – but remember that in the case of abortion there are two people involved, one of which has little choice.

    November 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. Alex

    I'm Catholic – Catholic school all the way. I was raised so much differently then what I see coming from the Catholic Church right now. All my schools and my parents taught me the main goal of Christianity – Fellowship. This means loving all and helping all not matter what. No judging, treat others with respect and dignity. The Catholic Church has strayed from this so much, it makes my soul hurt.

    The latest news that the Church will no longer help the poor in D.C because of a City Council vote on same sex marriage, and now this, is a strong sign that the Church should start paying taxes since they are very definitely playing politics.


    November 22, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  20. JeremyTurner

    Derek in Colorado –

    Bishop Tobin wasn't executing his freedom of speech as an American citizen by banning Kennedy from communion. He was acting as a Bishop for the Catholic Church trying to influence a potician through religious means. I'm a Catholic, but I don't like seeing our religious leadership trying to influence politicians this way. It's tantamount to religous extortion.

    November 22, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. GAK

    Lets see.the Bishop's are upset because politicans(catholic) support abortion rights and will deny them communion. Well every priest,bishop or cardinal that hid and supported those priest's that abused children should be denied communion at the least and ex-communicated at the most..What a bunch of hog wash for them to stand up on their pedistal and act rightous.They have NO right ot even talk on the subject with the sins they committed!!!!!

    November 22, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. musing

    What is the value of choice if you cannot make that choice? Is it better for a woman to be forced to have a child of rape or incest, to prove a point about the human soul? Should the entire question be denied to her to work out, as she works her own salvation? If so, then by all means excommunicate Kennedy, because that is what the denial of communion means.

    When Sandra Day O'Connor upheld Roe v. Wade, she did it by asking an important question about state interest in abortion: if the state can deny the right to abortion, can it also force abortion in other circumstances (as China has done)? If the state can rear its head to stop something, it can also exercise its force to compel something.

    Abortion should always be a matter of a woman's individual conscience. There is no other way which does justice to role of mother in this society, or to a woman's autonomy.

    November 22, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Daclane

    So every catholic who supports choice for women and is public about it is now going to be banned as well? So who is going to police this? The RC church has so many bigger problems...rampant peodophilia among priests, massively declining attendance and contributuions to the church and it mysogynistic treatment of women ..........take your heads out of your butt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 22, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Eric in Arlington

    Children, please.

    Religions – ALL religions – are a series of fairy tales fabricated by humans in an effort to control other humans.

    Hopefully, humanity will someday come to its senses, like a child realizing the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny,

    Unfortunately, there's a good chance that we'll destroy each other first.

    Nice job, religion!

    November 22, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Daniel

    For all of you who support abortions, you are supporting a murder.
    Why did your mother did not aborted you?.... that would save us a lot of problems in this liberal world that we live.

    November 22, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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