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. Doug

    This seems manipulative and petty to me, but isn't at all surprising given how often communion is denied over this same issue.

    I'm not religious myself, but am respectful of it. Still, I am curious if any Roman Catholics out there can explain why one would stay with their church after something like this happens to you personally? And what does being denied communion mean to you?

    November 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. nija

    Catholic Church is an Empire and they use the authority to purnish her congrants. What would Jesus say?

    November 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. proud dem in nc

    Amazing, and they wonder why people are leaving the church!!!! Look to thine own self Bishops!!!

    November 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. CherylS

    All Patrick and the rest of the Kennedy clan need to do is withdraw their financial support from the Catholic church and suddenly it will all be resolved. He'll be offered communion in no time flat.
    Or, he can just start going to the Episcopal Church. It's known as "Catholic Light" by the Catholic church anyway. And it's all the same God anyway.

    November 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Bill

    Mr. Kennedy should pass legistlation to hunt down and bring to justice the 500- 3500 child rapist priests that Pope Benedict said were still serving in the church.

    November 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Beth

    And this is exactly why I'm not Catholic any longer.

    November 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Jese

    I am just about done with the church and the pharisees that have been put in leadership roles. If Jesus Christ showed up at the Vatican tomorrow these pharisees would probably excommunicate him.

    November 22, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. Luke

    All you separation of Church and State people: try reading the constitution. The separation of church and State refers to keeping the governement out of church policy, NOT keeping the church from influencing government. The founding fathers were all God-fearing men and based the Constitution on Christian principles.

    November 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Mike B.

    NIce move by the Bishop, unfortunately, the Catholic Church is
    inconsistent and he will just move his financial support to
    another parish and get communion.

    It's about money and Power!!!!

    November 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. mgadell

    Sarav,

    "Logical, educated, fair minded people" have already shunned Roman Catholic churches. So guess who's left in them.

    November 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Mickey

    Those in the Catholic church are nothing but hypocrites.

    Jesus is weeping, and God is pissed!

    November 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. John Fremeau

    Ha Ha that is a good one – No Bishop never stopped his Father from receiving communion with all the Roman Catholic Laws that he broke in his life – Of course not with all the Kennedy money coming in all the time why would they?

    November 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Bev

    Yet, some of these people who are criticizing the Catholics---have no problem with Muslims lobbying our government.

    They have no problem with unions lobbying our government.

    They have no problem with Hollywood lobbying our government.

    They have no problem with support groups for illegals lobbying our government.

    They have no problem with trial attorneys lobbying our government.

    Etc. Etc.

    November 22, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. ICARE

    Well, I saw a documentary on a non-believing nurse in Paraguay. She didnt believe in God and performed illegal abortions for her patients. One day, her patients DIED and she was jailed for it.

    While jailed, God spoke to her and taught her how wrong it was to perform abortion. She became a Christian and never performed another abortion again.

    If GOD said it was wrong, then it is wrong. We need to focus on preventi9on and adoption, NOT abortion. That thing has a heartbeat and like a criminal, that baby which is so much more innocent than convicted murderers in our jail system, DESERVES the right to live and to grow up and to make a decision to either be a decent human or a one from HELL>

    November 22, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Jason B.

    I agree with other statements here: if churches (of any denomination) want to be involved in politics, take away their tax exempt status.

    As I recall, Jesus didn't turn anyone away. Ever. He never said "Only those that meet my standards can be with me."

    November 22, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. steven STEVENS

    this sounds liken an out and out case of extortion...if you vote or support abortion...your church will kick you out...in fact this the worst kind of extortion...the person being extorted is a congress person..and influencential person in government....thawt bishop should go to jail and the catholic church should lose its non-tax status..

    November 22, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Duckie

    Americans need to start standing up to the Catholic church and put an end to its interference in politics. This is a secular democracy. The church has no role in government and no right to impose its teachings on the public. This is not Europe in the Middle Ages!!

    November 22, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. ken

    that is what you get for being a superstitious moron.

    November 22, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Jim Jordan

    This is not just about abortion issues, it's about a church where a few "old" men dictate to millions of followers. Catholics, we need to stand up and push for democracy in our church.

    November 22, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. Michael Arnaud

    #1. No where in the Constitution does it call for the seperation of church and state. What all the church/state people cry about is the line in the First Amendment that says CONGRESS will not establish a state religon. ALL US CITIZENS are free to worship in the faith of their choice free from government intrusion. So I challenge ANYONE to show me where in the Constitution that SPECIFICALLY states that church and state are to be seperate.

    #2. The Catholic Bishops and the rest of the Catholic clergy here in the US are US CITIZENS. Which means that according to the FIRST AMENDMENT that they can speak on social matters no matter how political those issues have become. So it's not just the atheists that can speak their mind.

    #3. If memory serves, the Pope and all the clergy here in the US have spoken out about the war in Afganistan and Iraq and saying very clearly that the Church is opposed to the war. The Catholic Church was the first to say that the US should even negoiate with IRAN. So the idea that the Catholic Church in any way supports the war is uneducated BS.

    Bishop Thomas Tobin had privately asked Rep. Kennedy not to take Communion if Kennedey was going to support abortion. If he had let Rep. Kennedey have a pass on that then everyone would be screaming about how Bishop Tobin wasn't in keeping with the tenats of the Church teachings. Since Rep. Kennedey chose to not respect the Bishop's request, what else was the Bishop supposed to do?
    The teachings of the Catholic Church are simple and straight forward.
    Abortion is the murder of the totally innocent and defenseless who have done no wrong to anyone. Hell, the Catholic Church tried to get Timoth McViegh's execution commuted. So to all of you who don't really pay attention to what the Church does and says need to educate yourselves.

    Good work Bishop Tobin.

    November 22, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. mn

    Will the bishop refuse to allow communion for all of the pedophile priests, and the other MILLIONS of Catholics who have the same beliefs as Kennedy? I guess not because the Bishop isn't doing this for God he is doing it for the media attention. Wonder what God thinks of that faith based behavior.
    The communion denial would only matter if it meant something real.
    But, like all the other non religious political things done in the name of religion it is BullS***.

    November 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Cheryl

    Well, how Catholic! The Church never touched Teddy or his brothers–oh, no–because they had too much clout! But poor little Patrick, the ne'er do well, will be the example because he costs them nothing. So, true to form, I'll wager that Biden will go untouched as well!! Hypocrisy is alive and well in the cult!!

    November 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. TCM

    yeah, that's a shame...if anyone needs saving, it's a Kennedy.

    November 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  24. nikki

    The catholic church... the sanctuary of pedophiles. They need to be shut down... Who do these pervies think they are, trying to shove their s.t.u.p.id morals on us? They want to play politics, they need to pay taxes instead of taking money and expanding their wealthy empire. These arrogant arms-dealers and traffickers who help perpetuate wars in Africa are despicable. The vatican – the richest "nation" on earth – should be liquidated help restore all the African nations it has destroyed, distribute some of its wealth to the little boys who were raped by Catholic priests... and BANNED from ever operating on this earth!

    November 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  25. Joseph

    Kennedy is also a member of the Catholic Church. The guidelines for receiving communion are clear. You cannot receive communion in a state of mortal sin. Material cooperation with evil is a mortal sin. Catholics believe that abortion is in itself an evil. He has rejected Church teaching and his own obligations for the sake of his political career. The Church has every right to deny him Communion. Communion is a Sacrament and a Grace. It is not a right to partake of the sacrament–it is a privilege. He sinned, continues in his sin, and like some of the misguided posters here, presumes that he can change the teachings of his Church because they don't suit him. The Gospel is not a political platform, nor is the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church. His own revelation of a private determination made by the bishop is evidence of his own misguided pride. As for the rest of you, your anti-Catholicism is the best evidence that the Bill of Rights is the best defense against totalitarian bigotry. You cannot outlaw those who disagree with you based upon their moral beliefs. Religious citizens have every right to make their views known in the public square and to act upon them. Your own intolerance will be your downfall in the end.

    November 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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