Patrick Kennedy, Bishop Thomas Tobin, Rhode Island, Catholic Church, abortion.jpg
Yesterday I posted a CNS News article and video wherein RI Congressman Patrick Kennedy accused the Catholic Church of not being pro-life for opposing any nationalized healthcare bill not explicitly excluding taxpayer funded abortion coverage (which Kennedy called an “absolute red herring”).
Kennedy’s bishop, Most Rev. Thomas Tobin was quick to respond, and WOW. Here’s the text of Tobin’s statement, via The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence

Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s statement about the Catholic Church’s position on health care reform is irresponsible and ignorant of the facts. But the Congressman is correct in stating that “he can’t understand.” He got that part right.

Patrick Kennedy, Bishop Tobin, abortion, healthcare, logo, Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.jpg

As I wrote to Congressman Kennedy and other members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation recently, the Bishops of the United States are indeed in favor of comprehensive health care reform and have been for many years. But we are adamantly opposed to health care legislation that threatens the life of unborn children, requires taxpayers to pay for abortion, rations health care, or compromises the conscience of individuals.
Congressman Kennedy continues to be a disappointment to the Catholic Church and to the citizens of the State of Rhode Island. I believe the Congressman owes us an apology for his irresponsible comments. It is my fervent hope and prayer that he will find a way to provide more effective and morally responsible leadership for our state.

Here was The Boston Globe’s take:

The late Senator Edward Kennedy seemed to mend his differences with the Catholic Church just before his death. But less than 2 months later, his youngest son has plunged into a firestorm of controversy with the church.
In strong rhetoric, US Representative Patrick Kennedy of RI and Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Providence Diocese have exchanged nasty comments over abortion and proposals for a health care overhaul in Washington, DC. Kennedy is a strong supporter of health care overhaul, even if it includes public funding for abortion services, while the Catholic Church opposes the abortion component.
In a statement released yesterday, Tobin lashed out at Kennedy, a son of one of the nation’s most prominent Catholic families, for incendiary remarks the congressman made in an interview about abortion….
Tobin, like the church and most Republicans [WRONG], has said he supports a universal health care plan, but one that would explicitly outlaw the use of public money for abortions….
A Kennedy spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
But the exchange was the latest joust between the Catholic Church and the storied Kennedy clan. Kennedy’s father, the late senator, came under constant criticism for his stand on issues that crossed Catholic beliefs, such as abortion rights.
The differences seemed to be mended at the senator’s funeral in August, when it was revealed that Pope Benedict XVI, after receiving a letter from the ailing Kennedy asking for prayers, bestowed upon him an “apostolic blessing.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, of the Boston diocese, also participated in the senator’s funeral, in spite of criticism, and explained later that “we will stop the practice of abortion by changing the law, and we will be successful in changing the law if we change people’s hearts.”

[HT: Dougy]

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