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. bill

    And shouldn't you catholics be in church right now?

    November 22, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Tired of Hypocrites

    ICARE: so the fact of a heartbeat makes it murder? I take it you must be a vegetarian, then.

    November 22, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. Glad

    Well, well....gee, that's mild compared to all of the other terrible things the Kennedys did to which the Catholic Church turned a blind eye.

    Some people like to play God, and others prefer to listen to God. I sincerely hope Mr. Kennedy isn't using this "news item" as a political strategy to boost his voting base. That would be, uh, hypocritical.

    November 22, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. steve

    ICARE: God told me that until a baby is born it's an angel. Why would he say something different to everyone else? Obviously someone is lying. It's not me. God tells me so. every day. I dare anyone to tell me different. After all, it's God's word, not mine..

    November 22, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Anthony Sellers

    Just goes to show how deep the Catholic church has dug it's own grave. I hope the Catholic church falls hard, hard on it's ass.

    November 22, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. M.J.

    I am not religious but those bashing the church are flat out wrong. The church did not make this public, Kennedy did. It is the Church's obligation to bar him if he is acting and living outside their teachings.

    November 22, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. ICARE

    To Tired

    A human heartbeat is worth more than an animal. God values us above all creatures and God expects us in return, to treat them with decency.

    November 22, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. AppalledByReligion

    It is my uttmost wish that the entire world would stop paying attention to the ridiculous mumblings of every single religious person on the planet. It's high time we all grew up and stopped believing in the tooth fairy, as well.

    My point being, what does it matter what a bishop or priest, or pope, or immam, or rabbi says or does. They base their oppinion on religion so their thought process is warped to start with.

    November 22, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Devin

    To all of you people criticizing the Catholic Church for this; It is the Catholic Church's prerogative to set standards for their members and is none of your business. If someone does not like the standards, they are free to leave the church.

    November 22, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  10. Philip English

    It is part of catholic faith to not murder. If Mr. Kennedy supports abortion, then he is not Catholic and should not receive Holy Communion just the same as any other non catholic is not allowed to receive Holy Communion.

    November 22, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Randy, San Francisco

    If the Roman Catholic Church refuses to enter the twenty first century, disaffected Catholics are welcome to join progressive Protestant denominations.

    November 22, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Tom in Wheaton, IL

    To ICARE: You should adjust your medication.

    November 22, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. John Ahearne pro-choice catholic Michigan

    I want my church to unconditionally support Health Care, for the needy, rather than throwing roadblocks to defeat a Pro-Choice issue that should be fought in another arena. My congressman Bart Stupak and the Catholic Bishops are off base using the bill to defeat an issue that has been resolved in our highest court.
    I do not want to be told how to vote by my church!

    November 22, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Francisco Cardenas

    If Kennedy doesn't want to follow the dictates of his religion, he should leave the church. I did.

    November 22, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. dan dalton

    The hypocrisy of THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! Refusing comminion to Patrick Kennedy because he believes in abortion. How about the Catholic priests that drive a nice car, life in a nice rectory, drink out of a gold chalice, and yet people living around them are homeless and starving to death? Should they receive communion? How about the thousands of nuns and priests that are gay and living with other gay nuns and priests? Should they receive communion? How about the thousands of priests who have rapped and molested children? Should they receive communion? How about the Bishops and Cardinals who knew about these perverts and kept transferring them to another parish without telling anyone about what they did, so they could continue to molest other children in the new parish? Should they receive communion? Cardinals like Cardinal Maloney in Los Angeles. Should he receive communion? Receive communion? They should all be put in prison for aiding criminals! How about the Pope and all the Cardinals in Rome who live in beatiful villas, drive expensive cars, eat steak and lobster, and have millions and millions of dollars in the Vatican Bank, while people all around the world are homeless and starving to death! Should they receive communion? How about Pope Pius X11 who helped Hitler eliminate the Italian Jews? Should he have received communion? If the Jesus Christ I know from the Bible came back, he'd go straight to Rome and have the Pope sell all the Churches and schools in the world, for The Catholic Church are the biggest land owners in the world, and take all the millions of dollars from the Vatican Bank and FEED THE HUNGRY, CLOTHE THE NAKED, SHELTER THE HOMELESS, VISIT THE SICK AND BURY THE DEAD(words of Jesus). The Catholic Church could end homelessness and starvation in the world, all by themselves! Then maybe they would all deserve Comminion.
    Dan D.

    November 22, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. cocopial

    Did the Bishop bar those priest from receiving communion who sexually molested young boys too?

    November 22, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Lisa

    And what of Nathan, Father Henry Willenborg's son? Born in 1977 and now dying of brain cancer. The church has supported him and refused to assist in the costs associated with his last days and his expected funeral.

    "Father Willenborg’s Franciscan superiors were aware of his relationship with Ms. Bond well before Nathan was born. A year earlier, Father Willenborg and Ms. Bond had conceived another child. Ms. Bond said that Father Willenborg suggested she have an abortion, which she found unthinkable. He finally informed his Franciscan superiors of their liaison."

    The church (and I was raised catholic-- even went to a convent school!) cannot "pick-and-choose" when to intervene. If they are this vocal on abortion then they need to be equally vocal on the wars, death sentence, environment, global warming, and anything else that endangers human life.

    Should they CHOOSE to try to influence these decisions then we can CHOOSE to revoke their tax exempt status.

    I'm up for the fight!

    November 22, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Phillip

    The church is worried about abortion. They couldn't protect little boys from perv priests but they are WORRIED about abortion.

    November 22, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. ICARE

    To FalseNews

    Dont worry, when the rapture takes place and all the decent Christians are taken away, you'll have your FALSE religion with your FALSE gods and your FALSE leaders to give you hope.

    The end is near so dont worry about the churches. What is left behind are the lost and the lukewarm who will have to decide whether they want to follow God or the Devil.

    Relax, the FALSE church and one world government is coming soon...

    November 22, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    The Catholic Church, which is ... need I remind everyone ... governed internally by the Pope, a man who ... I might add ... Is NOT a United States citizen, has decided to lobby against American policy making, trying to influence our American congress.

    Go figure.

    Question is, were all the priests who sexually abused the young year after year after year also not given communion, or was that an "internal" concern as well?

    Hyprocrits, all. Loose the tax exempt status for ANY church willing to meddle in American politics.

    November 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  21. mat

    Bishop bars Kennedy from communion
    The church as far refusing to give communion to Kennedy who was debating issues in the healthcare bill, may as well refuse it to half the catholics.
    Since when is communion an award, it's food for the road.
    This healthcare bill as many bills is a bigger issue than just simple black & white answers, we need to talk about the differences, debate the issues, not go my way or no communion for you.
    Who's to say your way is God's way?
    Kennedy is not taking the country into a war that has killed so many innocent lives for no good reason, he is saying lets give healthcare to millions of people. He sounds like a good caring person, these issues need to be debated before the bill will either be passed or not.
    This is not up to a Bishop and it is SO WRONG to denied communion if it's make public or not!!!

    November 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  22. Stu

    Big deal. The Catholic Church has also allowed the annulment of marriages after 20 yrs and several kids, when it is politically convenient.

    November 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. Franklin Weston

    With bishops like this who needs the devil?

    November 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. Juan C. Rodriguez - Texas

    If you are not a true Catholic, you would not understand the reason for the bishop's position. So don't go around critizing something you don't understand. Say what you will, but abortion is murder and if you support it, or support some one to have the choice, you are supporting murder.
    In the end the Catholic Church can dictate whatever it wants, and Mr. Kennedy can choose to abide or not, that's his prerrogative.

    November 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. Xavier

    Jesus Christ would be ashamed of what has become of his father's house. To many of today's religious leaders are no better than the high priest who sought to bring about his death because he dared to challenge the narrow thinking of their little minds..

    November 22, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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