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. Mike

    This is shameful, and another hit to the credibility of the Catholic church.

    I was raised Catholic, but switched to non-demoninational Christian, in part due to the hypocricies (like this example) of this branch of Christianity.

    November 22, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Sarav Chithambaram

    This got to be a joke. What do they think of themselves? Look in this country in 2008 approximately 510,000 children were in foster care. How many of them get adopted by these pro life people? Look how many Palestinian children gets killed by our bombs and bullets in Palestine? Thousands died in Iraq/Afghanistan and who is responsible? It is still going on.. whose war it is?

    The Catholic church had been a very bold player in the political arena, recent Prop 8 in CA and similar ballot in ME is proof that these religious organizations use our money to engage in political battles.

    Its about time logical, educated, fair minded people should shun Roman Catholic churches. Religious groups are supposed to spread peace and tranquility. Not hate and excommunication.

    I am sure Jesus didnt teach anyone to act this way.

    November 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Luke

    Good for the Bishop. If Kennedy doesn't want to adhere to fundamental Church teaching, he is not in communion with the Church and shouldn't receive Communion. I'm not sure why he doesn't just formally leave the Church, since he obviously is not a member by his actions, and join one of the many Churches in which he can pick and choose which Commandments to obey.

    November 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. Brad - Ohio

    Did the Catholic Church deny communion to the dozens of priests who assaulted altar boys? Or the priest whose secret child they helped to conceal for 20 years. Or the Popes who launched the Crusades with the sole purpose of killing Muslims because they worshipped differently. It is time for the Vatican to play by the same rules they try to impose on others.

    November 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. annie against biased news

    Good for the Catholic church!

    November 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. hankers

    If this is true, then the goverment needs to go to war with the Catholic church to firmly establish the need for separation from state. If not, then ANY religion will use this precident to influence the politicians. This is no different than bribery or threat.

    November 22, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Dmitri

    Finally, a Bishop with a spine disciplined a wayward son! What scandals some of the Kennedys bring!

    November 22, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Pat

    Patrick's father, who also supported abortion rights, was entitled to a lavish Catholic funeral. Why the different treatment?

    November 22, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. New York

    Can the Catholic church really afford to lose any more members?

    November 22, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |

    WOW! What hypocricy!!

    I used to be Catholic (now Wiccan). I was NOT ALLOWED to have my second marraige IN the Church because I hadn't 'patitioned' them to have my first marraige annulled.

    The Catholic church will not allow him to have communion, while the pedifiles have their way with little boys.



    November 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Brian

    Please see Johnny Cash's song Cry, Cry, Cry. That is how much I care about the Kennedys.

    November 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Good Catholic

    That's like the Germans being sympathetic to the Jews, then showing up to work on Monday to help in the camps. How can these two-faced politicians from both sides of the isles claim to hold any morals in their personal lives and then claim they are not compromising themselves when they vote against their own self proclaimed moral beliefs?! If Mr. Kennedy wasnts to take the sacraments, he knows he follow the Catholic faith, he of all people should not be surprised by this. The same goes for people of all faiths. If a Rabbi who was elected based on his following the Jewish law proclaimed Babyback Rib Day in Tel Aviv I doubt he would remain in good standing with his constituents or his faith...Only in America can politicians like Pelosi, Gore, Bush, etc. and their mouthpieces hold the country on their every word. VOTE out all incumbants! Start fresh with people that are honest, decent hard working folks.

    November 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    the hypocritical catholic church needs to stay out of politics or maybe we should start taxing their vast estates in thie country....

    November 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. Susan

    GI Joe I agree. There are many religious organizations that claim tax exemption, but meddle in the political process. You want a theocracy, move to Afghanistan. I hear Saudi Arabia does a sharp job at fusing religion into the political process as well. I've always maintained my religion is a private matter between myself and my God. What I believe can't be forced onto you by the legal political process. However, too many of our lawmakers consider their election a mandate to "follow their conscience" even when the majority of those who elected them did so under their conscience which defined a different priority in lawmaking that what the (now secure in office) lawmaker espouses. Mostly, I hate politicians for that. Good for Patrick!

    November 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  15. Julie

    I'm in shock. Not that he was or wasn't denied communion but that in 2009 it still matters.

    November 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  16. klm

    Taking communion means recognizing the "Body" of Christ, which is every living human being, including the unborn.

    November 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. A. Smith, Oregon

    Its time for the US Supreme Court to decide if American Taxpayers will continue to provide Tax Exemption to the Catholic Churches and their billions of tax free property havens across America which pay zero property taxes.

    As the Catholic Churches continue to fly in the face of laws pertaining to illegal immigration, serial pedophiles, sex offenders and harboring fugitives, the US Supreme Court needs to debate if continuing the present Tax Exemption for the Catholic Churches is in the best interest of American society as a whole.

    November 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  18. Bill

    Spiritual blackmail – that's the work of the Lord.

    November 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Dude

    There is a separation of church and state here. The Church is separating itself from a man who chooses to hold views contrary to Catholic teaching while maintaining his public office. Kennedy can now decide which is more important to him. His public job, or the Church. I'm sure he'll remain obstinate and continue to promote abortion. So is the way of the so called Catholics such as Pelosi, Biden, Kennedys, etc. Being Catholic is not a right, it is a privilege. For too long loons such as the Kennedys, Pelosi, and Biden have used their public life to try to influence Catholic Doctrine. It is the Liberal abortion supporting Catholics who are violating Separation of Church and State. Not the Church.

    November 22, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. annie s

    I was raised a Catholic and I DEMAND that this hypocrite Bishop also deny Communion to everyone who supports war or the death penalty.

    November 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  21. Al Brosseau

    Anybody knows where to apply for excommunication?

    November 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. ICARE

    Good for the Bishop! I am against abortion. The baby has a heartbeat and it has the right to life.

    As for the criminals, I believe in the death penalty.

    I dont understand DonkeyCRATS way of killing the innocent and saving the criminals..

    Of course, I voted DUMMY KRAT my whhole life, but it's just weird....

    November 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. NY'kr

    Virtually all churches influence politics when they can, and have done so for probably a few thousands of years. I do not like it either, but the separation of church and state is not implicated unless Rep. Kennedy changes his vote to satisfy his church. Here in New York we have a problem with some legislators who likely will not support gay marriage because of their religious views - that is a clear violation of the separation of church and state. If they do not have a secular basis for opposing the granting of such a fundamental right equally, then it is improper to elevate their religious belief to the level of government policy. The church however is free, under the First Amendment, to follow its precepts and issue its own discipline to members of its congregation.

    With respect to tax exemption I'd agree that houses of worship should not receive a general tax exemption, however, to the extent they offer much needed social services: homeless shelters, foster care, medical services, food pantries, meeting spaces for therapy and support groups, etc., those operations should be given tax exempt status just like any other non-profit offering those services.

    Also singling out the Catholic Church is fallacious. All religions lobby their members who serve in government. Anyone ever heard of Jerry Falwell and his supporters? The Moral Majority was a political organization in the 80's which had an agenda of evangelical Christian-oriented political lobbying. And there are plenty of other groups that lobby their politicians.

    In any event, I am not concerned that Mr. Kennedy will bow to this pressure.

    November 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Curious

    So, is the church going to go after ALL of the Catholics in Congress? Do they choose to harrass the Kennedy's because they know it will get them headlines? The church has always chosen to apply the rules selectively, and have meddled in politics whenever it suited them.

    November 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Steve

    Catholic Bishops do not need to worry about tax money being spent on abortions. Since they do not pay taxes their money cannot be used. It' s really that simple.

    November 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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