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. William, SJ

    Tax the church! These douchebags are so out of line.

    November 22, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. steve fielder

    If the Roman Catholic Church wants to behave like a Political Action Committee and target an officeholder for exercising his First Amendment rights, perhaps it's time to review the tax-exempt status of the Roman Catholic Church. We have the concept of "separation of Church and State" in this country for a reason!

    November 22, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Matty D

    Religion is only directly relevant to the delusional. Hey flock, time to grow up and leave the playground in the mist.

    November 22, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Jeanne

    I believe you can't pick and choose which facets of your religion you'll embrace. This is the church's stance and it's their perogative. Too bad they didn't take the same stance with other politicians.

    November 22, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Ken

    Did they deny pedophile priests communion?

    November 22, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Daryn Guarino

    Time to start taxing the churches! Sounds more like a social club than a religion anyway. Will they prevent Muslims or Jews from converting because they thought differently at one time?

    No more tax exemption for the catholic church!

    November 22, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. CA

    Reading these comments about how abortion is "slaughtering innocent beings" makes me think of the question how can you be pro-life and pro-war. Innocent people are dying around the world because of our conflicts. But does it not matter because these civilians are muslim? What about the thousands of people currently dying because of genocide? Or do you just care about not "killing" a being who hasn't started their journey of life yet? Not about grown men and women who are being tortured and suffering?
    Get off your high-horses. You support killing too, just the killing of adults.

    November 22, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. No Religion

    Yet another reason why organized religion is in itself, the devil.

    November 22, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Russ

    Apparently the Bishop and the rest of the religious fanatics missed the part about separation of church and state.

    November 22, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Ginny1955

    Whether Mr. Kennedy takes communion or not is between him a God. Every one else, including the Bishop should back off.

    November 22, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Kornel S. Gyalokay

    Folks actively living in sin (have accepted to live with sin and no longer struggle to be free) can and should be denied Christian fellowship and the breaking of bread (they have denied Christ and the Church). Their participation is a hindrance (like the yeast of the Pharasies) to the spiritual growth of the rest of the community. He who struggles may stay for there is hope yet for their freedom, he who has surrendered to sin (promoting abortion... etc) fights under a different banner then that of the Church's.

    November 22, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Adrift in Canada

    It's often been said that historically the real purpose of the church – as part of the ruling classes – was to contol and intimidate the people. Obviously, that's still true.

    November 22, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Ginny1955

    Whether Mr. Kennedy takes communion or not is between him and God. Every one else, including the Bishop should back off.

    November 22, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Otto

    I bet, or should I say "Betcha" that the Bishop would not stop him if he knew Kennedy played around with little boys! Betcha!

    These Bishops think they are the direct link to God but they are far from it; they however are closer to the Devil. It's ok to commit sin during the week then go confes to the Holy of Holies; who have them that power? They should be confessing on their knees every second of everyday.

    November 22, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Republicans are the American Taliban

    More human beings have been killed by the Catholic church in the name of God, than any other organization since the dawn of time...

    November 22, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Jock in Seattle

    If the Bishop and other posters here believe that Kennedy should be denied communion for supporting the right of others to an abortion, what about all those "devout" practicing Catholics who fully embrace birth control, a practice the Church says is sinful?

    November 22, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Barry In Las Vegas

    Why would Kennedy make what has been a private issue public? If he thinks he is going to garner approval he is wrong. The Catholic Church does not make its decesions based on polls.

    Unfotunately Kennedy is more interested in doing what he thinks is popular instead of having a spine and practiicing what his church teaches.

    If he is not happy about it – he can easily leave the Chruch – nonone is making him stay.

    I say good ridence.

    November 22, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. No Hillary = No Obama

    The Catholic church is nothing more than an oppressive, sexist, antiquated institution that imposes it's moral dogma as a means to control what people think and do. It has contributed more to human suffering through it's sexually abusing priests then it has allievated suffering. You have millions living in poverty who adhere to their birth control beliefs instead of practicing reliable birth control methods.

    November 22, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. charlie in Maine

    And one more thing while I'm thinking about it.

    Isn't the Catholic Church also against the death penaty? and divorce?

    Why is it just pro-choice Democrats who get "refused holy communion"?

    Seems odd to me. Do they bann Scalia from Communion?

    He has much more impact on the death penalty than Ted Jr. does on abortion?

    November 22, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. David

    If Kennedy doesn't like the stances that the Catholic church takes then don't be a member. It's that simple. The fact that he brought this out into the public tells a lot about the strength of his own faith. This was a personal matter between him and his spiritual leader. The church didn't bring this into the public, he did. So the Catholic church is not playing politics. Kennedy was treated no differently then any other catholic. Kennedy is trying to make himself look like a victim, just like most democrats. As a Catholic, I don't know if I agree with refusing him communion. But I do know that I don't agree with Kennedy coming to out to the media about it. By doing so he is backing his personal spiritual adviser and "beloved church" into a corner and bringing bad publicity to the church for his own benefit. Seems like Kennedy is begging for a hug, since the church won't give him one.

    November 22, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. smiff

    Maybe one day it will be illegal to say what you believe. Then no one will be offended by anothers views. Evolution minded individuals would then conclude that abortion on demand is detrimental to the procreation of a species. After all its not observed in the natural world. Of course we should be more evolved than animals who occasionally eat their young in time of need (or rather instinct). Besides who wants to claim faith in any system of belief unless there is a consensus as to what defines their faith as genuine. Nothing like wishy washy believers to question the BELIEF! Ask your neighborhood imam what he believes then march on his space if you disagree. I think you will get my point. HYPOCRITS DONT HAVE TO BE RELIGIOUS!!!

    November 22, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Mike, Albany

    The Catholic church needs to stop using the most holy of sacraments for political manipulation. Until Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion is legal. Kennedy is simply supporting a woman's right to choose. It does not mean he is "pro abortion" or would ever encourage someone near him to have one. This is an example of religion at its worst. But as history bears out, the Catholic church has done more harm in the world and murdered more people than probably ANY OTHER religious organization in existence (and in most brutal ways, as during the inquisition). The Catholic church also ensured centuries of ignorance during the dark ages. It's interesting to speculate about how much more advanced, technologically, scientifically, and philosophically, today if the Catholic church had never existed.

    November 22, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  23. Robert

    their a reason why we have separation of chruch and state

    we don't need priests lobbying, I would make a law that says priest can't lobbying under separation of chruch and state

    also patrick don't listen to this guy " suggestion " god does not judge us because of our views

    he loves all egual no matter what our views are

    November 22, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Luci The Light

    Modern day Christianity is so far from Jesus Christ that he is about to come back and make it right. Christians have become judgmental blasphemous narcisists who need to look in the mirror. The anti-Christ you see on the outside is actually the anti-christ with-in.

    November 22, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Karen, Maryland

    I spent 12 years in the Catholic school system and had a very devout mother. My disillusionment with the Church came at 15 when my mother spoke to the priest about getting an annulment from my alcoholic father. He told her that in the Church's I would be considered illegitimate (he used the "b&*SW" word) in the eyes of the Church if she went through with it. Needless to say, my mother never went through with it and divorce was out of the question for her.

    The problem with ALL organized religions is that they have nothing to to with God, but control of the Church hierarchy over their "sheep."

    As far as I'm concerned, ALL churches should lose their tax exempt status since they all get involved in politics.

    November 22, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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