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. Houston Mom

    It is way, way past time to start taxing these "churches". The Catholic
    Church continually interferes in the government of our nation, states and localities. When is the IRS going to grow a pair and do something about it?

    We as a nation must begin to move beyond ancient superstition and progress as a society.

    Religion divides and the root of all evil is....Religion.

    November 22, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Religion is BS

    I sure hope pedophile priests have been barred from taking communion, also.

    November 22, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Roy from St. Patrick's

    The Chatholic Church, its Bishops & Priests are the biggest hypocrates going. What about the many innocent killings that are advocated by war mongering right wingers that hold prominant politacal positions? Why doesn't the Catholic Church withold the Blessed Sacraments form those individuals?

    November 22, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Michael, Chapel Hill

    When all the West cave in for Islam, they persecute the Church.

    November 22, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Joe the Thinker

    I'm not a Catholic, but from what I understand, there is no basis for distinguishing abortion from capital punishment, so why don't any bishops bar politicians and lawmakers who support the death penalty from communion? Also, from what I understand, the Vatican does not support bishops selectively jumping into the political fray like this, so on what authority do American Catholic clergy pull this kind of crap?

    November 22, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. ABG

    According to the Bible, since the churches supposedly base their religious doctrine on it, church leaders are ordered to stay out of government affairs.

    November 22, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Athiest and Former Catholic

    I agree with the Bishop. Anyone who supports abortion has no right to receive the Eucharist. A catholic who supports abortion is not a catholic. Receiving the Eucharist is a privilege not a right. This whole idea that every American has the god given right to do whatever they want is outrageous. That is a major problem in our society. The Bill of Rights was designed to give us all these freedoms. I would love to know why we think those rights do not extend to citizens without a voice, like our children born or unborn. On that subject I would love to know why everyone should have the right to free healthcare? Isn’t that a privilege?

    November 22, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. James

    Church leaders leap at the opportunity to rehabilitate convicted murderers, proud of their accomplishments to persuade people who have directly disobeyed one of the most clear commandments. The Eucharist is not withheld from them. Why, then, would a political stance on abortion be so grave and hold so much more weight over a person's ability to receive communion than actual murder?

    Personal opinions of whether abortion is murder or a woman's right aside, I think both sides of the fence should be able to agree political motives are the motive behind such a brazen and hypocritical move.

    November 22, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Kerry

    Many a Catholic have had abortions....they keep it quiet and privately critize others who have done the same.....and they scarf down many a communion wafer without blinking an eye.

    November 22, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Jose

    Why do people even subscribe to a so called religion that tries to control and manipulate their lives? Sad... that so many do this.

    November 22, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  11. spencer

    How can anyone take any organization seriously that didn't recognize Galileo was right until 1996?

    November 22, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. John Zeigler

    Time to remove their tax exemption!

    November 22, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Lori, Houston Texas

    Dear IRS,

    Please begin taxing all religious entities who are claiming tax exemption. They are interfearing with our Constitutional based government.

    Thank you,
    American Taxpayer who has been paying more in local property taxes to cover these so called "churches" for more than 50 years.

    November 22, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. David in San Diego

    If he also asked Kennedy not to believe any of the other medieval mythology that passes for church doctrine, we would be making real progress. The Church of the Ignorant in Latin America and Africa is the longest running con game in recorded history; that it has any influence on US public policy is an abomination.

    November 22, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. BobV

    I think this may be part of the reason that my Episcopal parish is about half former Roman Catholics.

    November 22, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Jean

    Does the catholic church deny communion to any politician that is for the death penalty?

    November 22, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. LDDVM

    You deny Kennedy because he believes women deserve safe medical care, but you protect priests who fondle little boys?! This is why I left this hypocritical faith after all those years of brainwashing in catholic school!

    November 22, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. David in San Diego

    Mike and Others–

    Thousands of Catholics WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS receive communion on a regular basis. Why pick a high-profile legislator for this injunction unless you are trying AS AN EFF-ING CHURCH to influence US public ploicy? That's cause to lose the tax exemption–and the sooner the better.

    November 22, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. Jerry

    The moment that the bishop "asked" Kennedy not to receive communion was the exact moment that the Catholic Chuirch in Rhode Island should have lost its tax exemption. They simply cannot have it both ways.

    November 22, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Billrmr

    Bishop Tobin's decision speaks to the fact why so many of us have left the Catholic Church. Maybe they should start practicing morality by reeling in their out-of-control abusive priests and spend more time being relevant in the 21st century. Educated people are not willing to be dictated to by any religion, least of all from one that is so hypocritical.

    November 22, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. bart fitzroy

    Those who know little about history (and cannot spell correctly) make comments about past evils of the Catholic Church. Geneva under Calvin, Protestant England and parts of Europe persecuted Catholics mercilessly during the Reformation. American Catholics suffered in the nineteenth century because of the Klan and the Know Nothing Party, among others. No one has clean hands. Today the Church calls for an end to capital punishment. It sees abortion as murder. It would be remiss to not fight for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves. During slavery, would all the self righteous hypocrites, who disparage the Church. have demanded that clergy that who supported emancipation be taxed? Four percent of Catholic priests have been accused of sexual misdeeds. The remainder have given their lives to faithfully serve God's people.

    November 22, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Ken, AZ

    Bishop Tobin should seek to provide for his own hypocrital spiritual well-being. I suppose the good Bishop is OK with the abuse and molestation of children by Catholic priests after a child is born. Give me a break.

    November 22, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Troy

    I'm a Catholic and I'm appalled by this type of behavior from the church.
    What's worse is them vowing to close off all community services in DC if the gay rights goes through.

    November 22, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Franek

    This issue is about faith and personal convictions. It has its roots going back to 1517 and Martin Luther and will not be settled on a CNN blog page.

    In my opinion religious faith is between God and the person and not between a "human representative of God" and a person. How many good Catholics are using birth control? Where does the Church want to go with this issue, does it want to start the American Catholic Church?

    November 22, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  25. Lackingcatholicknowlege

    Question: Is it a requirement according to Catholic faith to receive communion in order to get into heaven? In other words, are protestants like me who can't take communion in a catholic church doomed?

    November 22, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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