Monday, November 23, 2009

Patrick Kennedy Barred from Communion

JFK’s nephew has supported a woman’s right to choose, a position shared by the majority of the voters in his district.  This is what he gets for it.

patkennedy …"Patrick Kennedy, pictured in May 2009, [different photo here] a US lawmaker and the nephew of ex-president John F. Kennedy, has been barred from receiving communion at his Catholic church due to his support for abortion rights, a newspaper reported Sunday."

US Representative Patrick Kennedy, son of the late senator Edward Kennedy, was told of the move by Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin, according to The Providence Journal newspaper in the US state of Rhode Island.

Kennedy represents a district in Rhode Island in the US Congress.

"The bishop instructed me not to take communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me communion," the paper quotes Kennedy as saying in a telephone interview.

Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him that he was not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that he had taken as a public official, particularly on abortion, the report said

Inserted from <Alternet>

Pat Kennedy was not elected to Congress to represent the wishes of the Catholic Church.  His job as a legislator is to determine what the voters in his district want and vote to carry out their wishes.  For him to allow the dogma of his church to override his sworn duty as a Representative, he would be violating the Constitution.  Now I have nothing against Catholics.  Liberation Theology is a Catholic idea.  However, our Constitution separates religious and secular activities through the establishment clause in the First Amendment.  By punishing Kennedy, Bishop Tobin and, through his representation, the Catholic Church is violating the Constitution and should be given a choice.  They must either end their political interference with the Constitutional duty of their parishioners, or lose their tax exempt status.


Brother Tim said...

"For him to allow the dogma of his church to override his sworn duty as a Representative, he would be violating the Constitution.

The way the Catholic Church views it is '99% of Congress doesn't uphold their oath of office, why should Kennedy be any different?'

As for religous tax exemption: It should all be abolished. Jesus never taught that churches should be exempted from taxes. "Render unto Caesar, the things which are Caeser's".

Distributorcap said...

just confirming again my thoughts on catholic hierarchy

JUDI M. said...

Didn't I read somewhere about separation of church and state in this country? Oh, that's only if you're NOT Catholic or evangelical.........

TomCat said...

Brother, I have no trouble with churches being tax exempt, as long as they limit their acivities to spiritual and humanitarian pursuits.

DC, all right wing religious heirarchy is that way.

Welcome, Judi. We're on the same page.

Lisa G. said...

All churches should lose their tax exempt status - especially the Mormon
Church for interfering with Prop 8.

Jo said...

But to look at it conversely, should the government be telling the church what to believe? The Catholic church does not believe in abortion, so it is their right to exclude anyone who does believe in abortion from taking communion.

If there is indeed separation of church and state, then it would stand to reason that one cannot sit on both sides of that fence. If one is a practicing Catholic, and is also a legislator, then he has to make a choice as to which side of the fence his conscience really lies.

The Catholic church is not punishing Kennedy. The Catholic church is simply standing by their beliefs. Somehow when folks on "the other side" do it, it doesn't seem to be as noble, does it?

Sometimes people have to put their money with their mouth is, and the Catholic church is doing just that. They are standing up for their beliefs.

TRUTH 101 said...

The evangelicals will savage Kennedy and others and call them murderers and the like for supporting a woman's right to choose. Yet they will be against sane gun control laws that require background checks. There is no moral credibility with these people.

Abortion is an issue used to keep a voting bloc in the republican tent. It is used by too many in the church as a scare tactic. "Oh look out. The devil will come and abort you and our country will turn to satan in the end times f you don't tithe more."

I wonder if the bishop told the Kennedys to stop tithing?

TRUTH 101 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TomCat said...

Lisa, I agree where any church that abuses the establishment clause is concerned.

Josie, where your argument fails is that to vote conscience is not a legislators job. It is to represent the will of constituents. That is their duty and their oath. If legislators finds themselves unable to represent their constituents' will, because doing so would violate their religious beliefs, then their only ethical option is to resign. The Catholic Church has every right to stand up for their beliefs by telling their parishioners that abortion is wrong, but once any church (or other nonprofit service corporation) starts telling people for whom to vote or telling legislators how to vote, they violate the Constitution.

Truth, that's a good point. I'm sure the Church still wants the money.

Jo said...

Tom, no, I fail to see your argument. You are connecting church and state when you say that, rather than separating them. The Catholic church is not a political body. They are not telling Patrick Kennedy for whom to vote, or how to vote. They are simply saying, "If you agree with abortion, you cannot take holy communion in our church." Folks may not agree with that position, but it's the church's house, and their rules.

I actually admire the Catholic church for having the guts to put their money with their mouth is. Whether we agree with them or not, I think the world would be a better place if we all did that.

And conversely, they cannot be told how to change their stance on abortion. They're flat out against it. Patrick Kennedy cannot sit on both sides of that fence, unfortunately. He has to make a "choice". :-)

TomCat said...

Josie, I see where you are coming from, but you probably are not aware of how this came down. It's interesting to note, however, that although he has been pro choice for a long time, his communion was not cut off until he voted for Stupak-Pitts. This comes in the wake of threats by more than one bishop to bar from communion any Catholic legislator who voted for Stupak-Pitts. So the action clearly was telling him how to vote in practice.

Brother Tim said...

The Catholic Church is so Scriptural. Uhhhh......remind me what chapter and verse gives the church authority for that. It's no wonder the cult's membership is declining.

TomCat said...

Brother, it's the eleventh commandment. Thou shalt obey. ;-)