November 22nd, 2009
02:01 PM ET
4 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. Cusan

    I'm not sure what 'Death Panel Sarah' is talking about. The Church vocally opposed the Iraq War and has been clear in belief that social justice demands extending health protections for illegal immigrants and their children. You may not like the Catholic position on abortion, and that's cool, whatever, but get your facts straight before you go painting Catholics with a broad brush and attributing to them every political position you dislike.

    November 22, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Onevoys

    No one is saying he can't vote and believe as he pleases regarding abortion. The church is just saying that they, too, have a position on this, and that if you can't abide the position, then you can't truly be part of the church body. The problem is one of repentance. Communion is given as part of forgiveness for sin. Before communion occurs, the person is to admit sin before God, and then ask forgiveness. Mr. Kennedy won't ask for forgiveness because he doesn't believe he's wrong. The church considers abortion a sin and won't provide communion because he isn't repentant. Mr. Kennedy won't ask forgiveness (due to his position on the matter) and the church won't grant forgiveness for unrepentant sin (due to their position on the matter). What he chooses to do and proclaim in legislative halls is his business and his right. What the church chooses to do in obedience to God is theirs. By the way, I'm not Catholic.

    November 22, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  3. LacrosseMom

    As a Roman Catholic who is preparing to attend Mass this morning, the fact the Thomas J. Tobin has decided to play.......... god........ and refuse the Eucharist to Patrick Kennedy or for that matter ....... anyone. IS AGAINST GOD'S LAW!

    (excuse the yelling, folks!) JESUS GREAT COMMANDMENT SAID "LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS I HAVE LOVED YOU"...... JESUS NEVER....... EVER........ SAID....... 'THOSE WHO ARE PERFECT MAY EAT MY BODY'....... NO....... HE SAID, "LET THOSE WHO ARE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE."

    So Thomas J. Tobin is PERFECT? To ALL Catholics, especially the 54.9% who voted for President Obama....... let's contact our bishops and protest!

    The bishops spent years and years ALLOWING PEDOPHILES TO HOLD THE BODY OF CHRIST IN THEIR HANDS, turning a blind eye to the CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN! AND NOW THIS?! HYPOCRITES!

    A agree with "GI JOE" NO MORE TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH!

    U.S. BISHOPS BEWARE YOUR PEOPLE ARE ABOUT TO REVOLT!

    November 22, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  4. Deb in Northglenn, Co

    Dmitri – What about the scandals the clergy brought on? The church is hypocritical at best. If the church cannot stay out of politics it needs to lose its tax exempt status. This is just the latest attempt by this "religious" organization to control political action – the church recently threatened to stop all charitable activities in Wash DC if the city recognizes gay marriage. Doesn't seem very "Christ-like" to me.

    November 22, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Luke

    Relying to Death Panel Sarah: No, the Church is not trying to influence politics. This was an internal matter until Kennedy turned it political by running his mouth to the paper so he could get people like you to cry foul and whine. The Bishop is only concerned about upholding the teaching of the Church and the soul of Kennedy.

    As for Iraq and Afghanistan, the Church has consistently been against the wars. Pope JPII condemned them from the start, unlike many in the democratic party. A case of selective memory on your part so you can rip the Church?

    November 22, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Ann

    Your beliefs are not a privelege – they are your right. That is what the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and other ideas from the Englightenment are all about. The governments job is to protect our indviivual rights. Here in the US we have a separation of church of state and if that is changing the Catholic Church and the Mega churches should pay taxes like the rest of us.

    November 22, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. Sue LaVoie

    Good for the bishop! Let's live what the Catholic church teaches or just choose another religion. The Kennedys have had it both ways for too long.

    November 22, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. ICARE

    Thank God moral values still counts in America, otherwise, we will all be DRUNK, NAKED and on DRUGS.

    Moral values = knowing right from wrong = decency = the ability to lead = SuperPower Status

    God has instructed his prophets to write us laws. WE must abide by them. The universe has laws to govern it to stay its course. We have laws to govern us to not ROT to hell. Outside the laws, there is only chaos and confusion.

    November 22, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. Old White Virginia Female

    The representatives of the Catholic Church now should be officially banned from "visiting" their Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill. They are not supposed to be a lobbying organization, and they should have no right to parade up to Capitol Hill to influence the political process. Their place is in church. They can preach from that pulpit all they want to and people have a choice whether to go sit in the congregation and listen. I personally hope that Patrick Kennedy will leave the Catholic Church now and join the Episcopalian Church where he will be gladly given Communion. If this does not turn Catholics away from the Church I do not know what would. Disgusting.

    November 22, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. not a catholic

    Come on people who have commented already. Catholics and most christians care about abortion because we believe that it is a human life at conception. Even if you disagree that a fetus is a human life that early, can you not at least be civil and respect that as our position?

    Death Panel Sarah, most catholics are against the war so yeah they do care about 'all the babies killed by bombing Iraq and Afganistan." Even though most of the civilian casualties are caused by extremists targeting the population of their own country.

    Republicans are the American Taliban, you cant put down a whole religious order because of what some priests did. Those responsible should be punished, but as a whole, modern catholics are advocates for the poor, and peace.

    GI Joe, Catholic priests have every right to deny Kennedy communion. Part of the Catholic faith is being anti-abortion and the priests can do what they want. They are an organized religion that many, many people take joy in and deserve their tax exempt status. If you want to take tax exempt status away from a religion, then target scientology. Their illegal activities and abuse of their members makes them more of a cult then a religion.

    November 22, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Chad

    It's nonsense like this that led to the Reformation.

    November 22, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. sam

    Let see.. should the a religion rampant with child molesters cast the first stone?
    Shouldnt a religon that supports the killing of innocent childlren in other countries like Iraq be condemned under God 'slaw?

    November 22, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. kari

    There are plenty of practicing Catholics that are pro-choice and vote for pro-choice candidates.
    If they want to go down this path, they can start by denying communion to members of the "Catholics for Obama" organization and then move on to those that are pro-gay marriage and pro-birth control and so on.
    Obviously, they're not too concerned about the pedophile priests in their midst.

    November 22, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Thomas

    This narrow minded approach to life is why I left the church. I wish the church used its great wealth to help the millions starving each day and not in trying to bring more children into the world.

    November 22, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. FALSE NEWS...not really the news .. just propaganda from hate mongers to the no brainers

    Catholic bishops playing GOD, only when it suit their ideological dogma, but sleeping with kids and young boys...is all part of the catholic faith with no ideologocal objection – And those fathers continue to receive communion at the detriment of the innocent kids and young boys who've been molested and abused for life!!!!

    November 22, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. bill

    I wished I live in the future when all these cave people who believe in Jesus will be bred out of existence. There's a reason churches are closing all over the country. Every generation there are less and less believers of this nonsense.

    November 22, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. proud dem in nc

    Does this mean that any Catholic that uses birth control cannot receive communion either. Where were these phonies when the pedophile priests were molesting children. They turned a blind eye toward that. These Bishops make me sick. I am Catholic and I'm ashamed of these sanctimonius Bishops dictating and threatening politicians. Go to confession and absolve yourselves. Hypocrites.

    November 22, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Ramy

    What delightfully ignorant posts from at least the first three commentors! I shall ignore the misspelling of middle school words and focus on the meat of the issue.

    Separation of Church and State means the state will not dictate a national religion, not that those in government cannot be of any religion. And anyway, how is this religion infringing upon government? It's not like the Church is taking away Rep. Kennedy's vote in Congress is it?

    Second, The Catholic Church was and is opposed to the war in Iraq. However, ironically enough, courtesy of everybody's beloved Separation of Church and State, the Church has no power in this country to overrule the President.

    Catholics (and millions of non-Catholics for that matter). Oppose abortion because it is the killing of innocent life. And further to the point, the idea that everything that happens on Earth happens because it is God's Will is just silly and ignorant.

    Finally, to Mr. GI Joe, if we are going to remove the tax-exempt status of every group with which even one family objects, how about getting rid of Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Sierra Club and Greenpeace too? Some people dislike rival universities, perhaps they should pay tax too.

    Oh, and I'm not Catholic, I just have no patience for ignorance and intolerance.

    November 22, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. Catholic in WI

    If you don't care about Catholics, why do you care that this man has been told not to receive Communion? As a Catholic, it is his duty to know if he is in the state of mortal sin. His own conscience should tell him that he should not receive Communion.

    Of course good Catholics care about "all the babies killed by bombing Iraq and Afganistan." Catholics are pro-life – meaning against the death penalty, not only abortion – and against war and injustice toward humanity. Catholics are pro-dignity for all human beings.

    It's funny to me that only people who are obviously anti-Catholic have posted. How about listening to someone who knows a little something about being Catholic and what it means to receive Communion?

    November 22, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. sandy

    It's time for the Catholic Church and ALL churches to stay out of government business. If they don't, then take away their tax exemption status. Their teaching and their rhetoric belong in the church, not in the halls of government.

    November 22, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. sam

    Let see.. should the a religion rampant with child molesters cast the first stone?
    Shouldnt a religon that supports the killing of innocent childlren in other countries like Iraq be condemned under God's
    law?

    November 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. Mickey

    "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." ~~ Stephen F. Roberts ~~

    November 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. Ridgeway

    Dear Al,
    No application is necessary. Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll get your wish. In the mean time just keep kissing Obama's Muslim ass. Just don't do it out of doors in the winter as your lips may stick.

    November 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. ICARE

    It amazes me that DONKEY crats find it so easy to kill the INNOCENT, but allow the convicted criminals to live.

    I am for protecting the innocent and killing off the murderers. I believe in 3 strikes and you're hang. I dont understand thementality of locking up criminals for the rest of their lives if they are cold-blooded killers. What gives these murderers the right to live? It's because they have a heartbeat.

    Well dang! Babies have a heartbeat too!

    November 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Rumsfeld

    Lacrosse Mom, have to agree with you. Capital letters and all.

    November 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
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