Sunday, November 22, 2009

AP: Kennedy Says Bishop Tobin Banned Him From Communion


"Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy from receiving Communion, the central sacrament of the church, in Rhode Island because of the congressman's support for abortion rights, Kennedy said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.

The decision by the outspoken prelate, reported on The Providence Journal's Web site, significantly escalates a bitter dispute between Tobin, an ultra orthodox bishop, and Kennedy, a son of the nation's most famous Roman Catholic family.

'The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,' Kennedy told the paper in an interview conducted Friday.

Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him 'that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I've taken as a public official,' particularly on abortion.

He declined to say when or how Tobin told him not to take the sacrament. And he declined to say whether he has obeyed the bishop's injunction."

The article also quotes Michael Sean Winters of "America" Magazine:

"It's really bad theology," said Winters, who opposes abortion. "You're turning the altar rail into a battle field, a political battlefield no less, and it does a disservice to the Eucharist."

That's crazy. You're supposed to be free of serious sin before going to communion. How can an unrepentant pro-abortion politician be free of serious sin?


Well, well. Turns out Bishop Tobin urged Kennedy to stop receiving the Blessed Sacrament over two years ago:

"Tobin urged Kennedy not to receive communion in a February 2007 letter, a portion of which was released publicly by Tobin's office Sunday.

'In light of the Church's clear teaching, and your consistent actions, therefore, I believe it is inappropriate for you to be receiving Holy Communion and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so,' Tobin wrote. "


Canon lawyer Ed Peters weighs in.

1 comment:

Dim Bulb said...

Hi Father,

I hope this is not the case, but it seems to me that Kennedy's decision to go public with this 2007 restriction on the 46th anniversary of his uncle's assassination is a bit contrived.