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. John from Florida

    BEWARE right wing religious evangelical wingnuts. You have forced the fiscal conservatives out of the Republican Party. Now a very shrewd Pope is stepping into the vacume by asserting his power over the US Catholics. Don't be surprised one day if you wake up and find that the social and political policies of the US are a reflection of the will of the Pope! Regardless of the INTENT of separation of Church and State, this is the result if you do not define a clear separation.

    November 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Fitz in Texas

    Well, I'm sure none of the Kennedy's are upset with this. After all I'm sure they view themselves as God.

    November 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. M.N.

    So much for the love of Christ in the catholic church.

    November 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Gina

    I do not understand why everyone is so concerned with what the Catholic Church does. It has every right to tell someone that they can not receive communion If they are not going to follow doctrine. For those priest that molested little children they are human and are not Catholic in my eyes. They should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. It is really funny how you fling mud at the Catholic Church when you let the other religions just do and say what ever they want. How about the Muslims, how about the Rev. Jessie Jackson. They all are supposed to represent God and look at what they do. As for abortion think of it this way, it involves 2 individuals, but only one has a say in whether or not they get to live. It baffles me that those who will stand up for a convicted killer and try and save them from the death penalty, will not think twice about killing a innocent human being. As for all the other issues the Church does come out and show it's disapproval of the it is just the media not sharing with you.

    November 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. macks

    All of the issues with the Catholic Church and this is their priority. OK to murder thousands in the crusades, OK to torture those deemed a threat, OK for priests who molest children to give communion. Not OK for someone who supports free choice to receive it. The ridiculous thing is why anyone in their right mind would choose Catholicism.

    November 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Debbie

    First of all, as an individual PERSON he supports life, but as a POLITICIAN how dare he foist his personal beliefs on others?? would that not make the US like Iraq? or any other muslim country? Where religion rules everyone?
    I am Catholic and I support choice for women. I personally would not have an abortion and I would try to council others not to have one either. However, I think it is wrong–and fundamentally anti-american–to force religious beliefs on others. Rather than make abortion illegal, why doesn't our society (and our politicians) make social conditions for families conducive to having children?? who would keep a baby when they get no support whatsoever from society AFTER that baby is born? All of you against public health care–are YOU going to pay for prenatal care? care for the child? All of you Lifer's say you value life, but where is your support for social programs that actually feed, clothe and house children?
    Hypocrisy is unfortunately the religion here....

    November 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Tim C

    What about rape and incest? It sure is easy to get up on one's white horse and say that "promiscuous behavior" should not result in an abortion; it really shows one's true colors when they are forced to admit that rape and incest victims should not be allowed an abortion either.

    And what about to save the life of the mother? If the result of the birth and/or pregnancy would kill the mother, and this was not known before the pregnancy, what then?

    What about if there are multiple babies in the womb, and one baby is not healthy enough to survive, yet continues to take resources away from the other healthy baby or babies?

    When it comes to humans, nothing is black and white, and all this right-wing, religious zealotry make it clear that no one is less aware of that than right-wing, religious zealots.

    November 22, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. James

    Isn't this the same church that burned countless thousands of people during the Inquisition? And that sheltered child molesters simply because they were "men of the cloth?" Myself, I need no further proof that god doesn't exist than the clergy that purport to represent that entity.

    As for Kennedy, well, at least you can sleep in in Sunday morning, and I'm pretty sure you'll be okay, even if you can't have a piece of bread that's part of some bizarre cannibalistic ritual.

    And for the bishops, if I want advice from a man in a dress, I'll check out the drag queens down in Manhattan. At least they know what it's like to work for a living.

    November 22, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Former Catholic

    Every year more people leave the Catholic Church. They struggle to remain relevant. Stand stong, Congressman Kennedy. Voting for a right to chose is voting to let a person have free will, not endorsing abortion as a solution for everyone.

    November 22, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. John Meyers


    How much is the Roman Catholic Church paying in taxes now that they are taking a political stand?

    November 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey Carl from AC ....
    Good luck with the spoon....
    but your health insurance provider may not pay for the glass eyes account of a pre-existing condition(your crazy)!

    November 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Mark C

    *** Should I stop paying MY taxes, because I disagree with how the government is spending it??? ***

    Hey moron, maybe I don't support wars. So I guess I could stop paying my taxes too on that basis.

    November 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. johnrj08

    The Catholic church is a perplexing institution to say the least. Riddled with pedophiles and highly questionable financial practices, it has made abortion its biggest cause. This has nothing to do with scriptures, because there are none which deal with the unborn or what differentiates a potential life from an individual. This is strictly an issue upon which the Church can build a constituency and enrich itself.

    Anybody who has ever visited the Vatican knows how much value it places on materialistic things. Poor people living in rags walk into churches in Rome that are filled with gold, gem-studded statues (idols?) of dead people whom the Church has anointed as spiritual celebrities (saints). All must give, no matter how poor. And all must abide by the archaic standards set forth by the old men who have never had a family of their own and whose needs are fulfilled, even in world wars.

    The notion that we should let this corrupt and hypocritical institution dictate our morality is a sad commentary on the wisdom of our citizens. When Lord Acton said "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely", he was referring to Papal power.

    November 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Be Consistent

    I truly hope all catholics out there supporting L-I-F-E are also as strict about pro-life issues as they relate to wars and the death penalty. Life is life, and it is quite hypocritical that I hear Catholics so strict to this doctrine as it relates to abortion, but throw it out the window when we talk about wars or the death penalty. The same people protesting outside abortion clinics should be protesting outside of the Capital as well.

    November 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. Paula

    Irrelevant Catholic Church once again playing politics from the pulpit. They keep alienating their members, their coffers are not as full, and their power weakens. Good riddance to church doctrine misread and misinterpreted by close-minded parasites. I agree with GI Joe, no more tax exemptions for them!

    November 22, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. Sheryl

    I think that the Catholic hierarchy should stay within their role as dictators of their dogma–and not as judge and jury. Isn't that God's job in their religion?

    November 22, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. John Z.

    I hope that Patrick Kennedy continues to do what he thinks is right rather than letting himself be pushed around by Roman Catholic Church, the views of which have become increasingly irrelevant in our modern society and which should have folded up its tent a long time ago.

    November 22, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Mark C

    **** The bishop's office HAS commented and said that the bishop never gave any such instructions. You see CNN...there's this thing called "checking facts" goes like this..... ****

    Uh, yeah brainiac, there's also something called "reading the article before commenting." The diocese's side of the story is noted.

    November 22, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. GI JANE

    That's the most rediculous thing I have ever heard . You cannot bar someone for their thoughts on a subject.

    and please...respect other people's religions...if you don't agree with a tax exemption- don't agree- but don't disrespect other people for their religious beliefs.

    The Catholic church isn't perfect- but neither is any other church. remember – it's a building- God is in your hearts and minds...

    November 22, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Hate is a powerful feeling..

    Catholic Priest are far from moral and understanding..

    I hate pediphiles.. and thouse that protect them,

    Remember the Boston Cardinal? he protected Pedophile priest and now he is in a high position in Rome..

    and so on, and so on..

    Helth care is a good thing for all of us, don't let the inmoral church debank the effort..

    November 22, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Imouttahere

    At around 15 years old, I realized what a farce the Catholic Church is and left it. Over the intervening 30 years I've realized what a farce the whole concept of "religion" in general is.

    You don't need a God or a Bible to do what you know is right. You only need them to justify what you otherwise know is wrong.

    November 22, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |

    If only I was given the chance to live instead of being aborted by my liberal mother! If only I was given the chance to live instead of abortion being a form of birth control! If only Catholics like the Kennedys practiced what they supposedly preached at election time! If only aborted babies were given the same rights, respect, and priviledges as, er, illegal aliens in the U.S.

    November 22, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. the catholic church taking a moral stand?

    good, nice to see convictions in this day and age

    no ones I agree with but I can respect that notheless

    Mr. Kennedy might find another brand of catholic if he has a problem with this

    however, the catholic church instructing others on morals sometimes doesn't go down so easy, what with their priests abusing little boys etc

    November 22, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. Frankie123

    If pro-life means what it should mean: (1) pro-life of unborn babies, (2) pro-life of grown adults, (3) anti-death penalty, (4) anti-loose gun laws, (5) anti-war, then why is it that the progressives – who are mostly pro-life (at least 80% pro-life by the above break-down) – are bashed most of the time as anti-life and barred from communion? And how is it that there is no problem with the right-wingers who are mostly anti-life by the above break-down?

    In the on-going health-care debate, why are we so focused on the life of the unborn and at the same time seem to care less about the lives of the born?

    November 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  25. Slipknot

    As an Atheist, it's hilarious to watch people fighting over this mythic rite called Communion. Don't fret, I'm sure the unicorns have similar discord now and then.

    November 22, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
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