Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Bishop Tobin asked Rep. Kennedy not to receive Holy Communion

November 23, 2009

Representative Patrick Kennedy has revealed that Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence asked him in 2007 not to receive Holy Communion.

Earlier this month, after Bishop Tobin questioned whether Kennedy met “the basic requirements of being a Catholic,” the Rhode Island lawmaker said that he was "disconcerted" that the bishop had made such a public statement. Kennedy claimed that he had reached an agreement with the bishop to avoid public discussions about his commitment to the Catholic faith. The exchange began when Kennedy criticized the US Catholic bishops for suggesting that they could not support health-care reform legislation if the bill allowed abortion subsidies.

"The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,” the Rhode Island representative said in a telephone interview last Friday. Kennedy's statement-- and subsequent news reports-- conveyed the impression that Bishop Tobin's admonition had come more recently, after a highly publicized exchange between the congressman and his bishop.

Earlier this month, after

“I am disappointed that the Congressman would make public my pastoral and confidential request of nearly three years ago that sought to provide solely for his spiritual well-being,” said Bishop Tobin. “I have no desire to continue the discussion of Congressman Kennedy's spiritual life in public. At the same time, I will absolutely respond publicly and strongly whenever he attacks the Catholic Church, misrepresents the teachings of the Church, or issues inaccurate statements about my pastoral ministry.”

“As I wrote to the Congressman in February of 2007, and repeated in my public letter earlier this month, I am willing and even anxious to meet with him, to discuss these matters,” Bishop Tobin continued. “My door remains open. However, it should be absolutely clear the Congressman himself has once again chosen to make this discussion a matter of public record. In the meantime, I will continue to pray-- sincerely and fervently-- for his conversion and repentance, and for his personal and spiritual well-being. I wish him well.”


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Show 8 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Nov. 23, 2009 11:32 PM ET USA

    So for three years Kennedy continued receiving communion? K will use every bit of Tobin's letter to frame the scene for himself. K should only be given a 'blessing' when he continues in the communion line. K has forfeited his right to the membership in the Catholic Church. The rest of that ilk should be treated that same way. Traitors to Christ.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Nov. 23, 2009 9:02 PM ET USA

    I just saw the dust-up between Chris Matthews and Bishop Tobin on MSNBC tonight. I'm sorry to say it, but the Bishop was no match for Motor Mouth Matthews. I also saw Fr. Mitch Pacwa go up against Fr. Thomas Reese on CNN. Again, Reese won the debate because he brought out the fact that John Paul II gave communion to publicly pro-abortion politicians. We are now seeing the devastation that comes from a Church that has been inconsistent in its teachings and disciplines for too long.

  • Posted by: mikezart6808 - Nov. 23, 2009 8:04 PM ET USA

    Imagine if all the Bishops had been shown this type of leadership in can only imagine. Why to be a shepherd Bishop Tobin!!!

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 23, 2009 3:57 PM ET USA

    "They" should be (admonished publicly). But P Kennedy is so brazen he did it to himself...

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Nov. 23, 2009 2:58 PM ET USA

    A long line of Boston Cardinal Archbishops starting with Cushing and continuing to O'Malley are responsible for the moral confusion in the Kennedy family. Their refusal to ecclesiastically declaw the "liberal lion" pro-abortion Ted Kennedy even at his gaudy and self-indulgent funeral has led to the son's confusion when his own Bishop Tobin finally does what those Boston cardinal Archbishops should have done. I can't speak for Ted's soul but maybe Patrick can repent while still alive.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Nov. 23, 2009 1:52 PM ET USA

    It's too bad that Ted Kennedy's bishops didn't confront him years ago. The kid is only following in his father's footsteps, and if his dad was allowed to receive Holy Communion, with the worst abortion record ever, is it any wonder the son is so upset and confused? This is what happens when bishops neglect their duties to teach the Truth first and then admonish those who bring scandal on the Church by working against God's word. We've had moral relativism ala Robert Drinan for too long.

  • Posted by: adamah - Nov. 23, 2009 12:33 PM ET USA

    It is interesting that the take of an AP article in the Scranton Times today is that the bishop is "public shaming" Kennedy by making this public, whereas it is Kennedy who made it public.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 23, 2009 12:21 PM ET USA

    Finally! Public figures who don't uphold their catholic faith should be publicly admonished - particularly the Kennedys who are so constantly in the public eye. This action has long being overdue. Catholics should not strive to be politically correct but defend their faith. Meira