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. Tyler

    Says alot for the Catholic church huh????.....but yet they support raping little alter boys.

    November 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. The Black Sheep

    There is no way to debate a matter of faith.

    Moreover, it is unwise to debate a fool; soon, nobody can tell the difference.

    November 22, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Lisa

    Given that the Catholic Church hid and harbored molesters for so many years – and likely still does – I find this brand of hypocrisy to be astounding.

    November 22, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. tom

    It is about time that the church stand up to these murders and tell them to go straight to HELL. Abortion is MURDER!!!!

    November 22, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. TJM

    First of all, Kennedy supports the RIGHT of people to choose whether or not to have an abortion. This is an entirely different position than "supporting abortion." He is a politician in a secular country and should be applauded for keeping his religious theology separate from his duty to the citizens that don't share the belief of his church.

    To follow the archbishop's logic, to stay true to his faith, Kennedy must also support laws banning extramarital affairs, premarital sex, homosexuality, masturbation, Scientology, Mormonism, and everything else that is antithetical to Catholic theology.

    Defending someone's right to choose things that you yourself may not indulge in is the cornerstone of a real democracy.

    November 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. DJ

    If I may, not trying to speak for Senetor Kennidy but I don't necessary think his decision means that he believes in abortion, I think his meaning is he belives that the people have a choice and he's not willing to take the peoples choice away. I believe he is one that is not wanting to judge the people not like all the Catholic's and Christians out there that so want to throw the first stone... "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

    November 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. kevininkansas

    Perhaps he should convert and join another denomination. If he supports abortion rights it doesn't sound like he's a very good catholic.

    November 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. rhmagain

    Another example of religious idiocy.

    November 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Useyourbrain!!

    Don't worry Mr. Kennedy...the bishop does not have the power to forgive you of any sins anyway...they only pretend so...Only God can forgive sins and He knows what is in your don't have to go to church to communicate with God...hasn't the church informed you that God is everywhere and knows everything? If not, consider yourself informed...

    November 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. nadine

    This catholic bishops have no heaven nor hell to put anybody. They better worry about themselves. Molestation is a SIN!

    November 22, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. kbel

    Support revocation of tax-exempt status from churches engaging in political action. · Write to your Congressman or Congresswoman.

    November 22, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Jaxon

    I was raised Catholic ..however, they have become the biggest of all hypocrites.....they believe in no birth control (except for themselves), they don't believe in abortion (except in privacy) and they don't believe
    in rape (except when it's an alter boy). Other than all of this, they're okay. I'm now a Methodist.

    November 22, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. dave

    Catherine said it so well that I'm reposting her comments!!! (thanks Catherine!)

    "In the United States, churches have no business sticking their noses into matters of state. We are not a Catholic state–the Catholic Church does not dictate and shall not dictate government policy. I am an American, but not a Catholic and do not want Catholic doctrine turned into government policy and crammed down now my throat and the throats of every American. We are a government “of the people, by the people, for the people”–not a government of the Catholic Church or any other church for that matter."

    November 22, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. me and mr b, oak harbor WA

    So much for separation of church and state.

    And the Catholic church is in a snit because it is unable to repress women. Well darn the bad luck.

    There in lies the similarity between the Church and the taliban. women are 2nd class citizens and need to be controlled by men.

    Sorry, my God loves me because i was made in His image.

    November 22, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Emma

    New generations will be the decision makers of the future and may not subscribe to the Catholic's sense of entitlement about making the religious rules for all Americans. New generations are not likely to see things the same way as religious institutions and Right Wing Extremists,
    including Sarah Palin.

    November 22, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Jim Atkins

    Gee, if the Catholic Church started banning everybody that supports abortion, uses condoms or birth control pills, or thinks committing obstruction of justice to hide child molesters just might be a bad idea, there wouldn't be too many left in the pews. Sorry, Father. Your moral authority has melted away in the last few years.

    November 22, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Kate from Mystic, CT

    Patrick Kennedy was elected to support sound public policy for all of his constituents – not to enforce canon law. For all we know, Kennedy may be personally opposed to abortion but believe that in the public sphere the decision should be left to the moral conscience of the individual woman. Is the Catholic Church going to start denying communion to elected officials who support the death penalty, who vote for war, who don't support poverty programs? To me this is hypocrisy to single out politicians on one issue and not others. I agree that the church has a right to speak out on moral issues, but when they directly try to interfere with the elective process by censoring individual public officials they are over-stepping the separation of church and state.

    November 22, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Shaun

    Now will the diocese also restrict the remaining catholic senators and congressmen from communion?

    November 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Max Wendroff

    This Bishop must be removed.
    This Bishop literally has no right to say anything, publicly.
    This is a perfect example where you must separate church and state.
    The tax exemption must be take away from this church

    November 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. BHoly

    I pray for all of you that don't know what you are talking about. I pray for the defenless babies that die everyday without even a chance. Look at Tim Tebow he was suposed to be aborted!!! How many like him actually die everyday!! I pray that the Lord will warm your hearts and open your eyes to this awful reality. I pray that God will be back to our school and our nation before it is too late.

    November 22, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Daniel

    Which was worse? The amount of deaths from the catholic sanctioned crusades and inquisition or deaths from abortion.

    Evil religion is just as evil as everything else in the world.

    November 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Zago

    Tax the Church on the vast and enormous properties, real estate and other important revenue generating activities to pay for health care for the poor. Abortion is a cause of poverty. When a woman knows in her heart she will not be able to send a kid to school, to babysitting, to hospital etc, she's likely to seek an abortion. On the average, people would love to have the upsring with them and show them love. But when they know the kid would complicate matters, they likely to take an extreme decision. So, to mitigate the incidence of abortion, tax the Church on its properties and support program directing toward poverty reduction. Period.

    November 22, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. JP

    This shows that there are a growing number of Christian churches that do not show a religion of love. Jesus let all those in need come to him, why must any church deny anyone part of all of their access to him. If churches really showed a religion of love, all would be welcome to fully worship no matter what their sins were, no matter what they believed politically and socially, and no matter where they have come from. Until the church can have open arms to all, there will continue to be stories like this is the news.

    November 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Memoo

    Allyana, if you want to know more about the Catholic faith, then try attendiing a mass or joining RCIA. No, soldiers who kill in war are not barred from the Eucharist as they are in combat and are willing to die if necessary to protect others. An abortion takes the life of an unborn child – one who has no say as to whether he or she would like to be born. In war, adults are fighting either to protect their homeland or to protect the rights of others.

    November 22, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Byron Quick


    For someone who maintains trust in history; you seem to be extremely ignorant of it. Yes, the Catholic Church was guilty of many things. However, compare that to the spread of Islam. The spread was by conquest, my friend. It is not and has never been the religion of peace.

    By the way, the Spanish Inquisition was not under the control of the Catholic church hierarchy. Rather, it was controlled by the Spanish crown.

    I'm not Catholic or Christian and am only a dabbler in history. For someone who puts his trust in history, your knowledge of history seems to be seriously lacking in both depth and breadth.



    November 22, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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