Breaking News: Meeting between Tobin/Patrick Kennedy "postponed"; Bishop releases whopper of a new public letter

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for breaking.jpgThe Diocese of Providence announced this morning that a planned meeting tomorrow between Bishop Tobin and Congressman Patrick Kennedy has been "postponed."

Read background information on the public feud, started by Kennedy, here.

It appears clear it was Kennedy who did the postponing, because Bishop Tobin has released another public letter to Kennedy, to be published in the November 12 edition of the Rhode Island Catholic.

And wow. It is really something, sure to shake not only Patrick but the entire Kennedy family to their core. It's too important to excerpt.

Holy cow, the Bishop even invoked John F. Kennedy's book, Profiles in Courage, in a play on words. Am reposting the letter in its entirety, on page 2...

Dear Congressman Kennedy:

"The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic." (Congressman Patrick Kennedy)

Since our recent correspondence has been rather public, I hope you don't mind if I share a few reflections about your practice of the faith in this public forum. I usually wouldn't do that - that is speak about someone's faith in a public setting - but in our well-documented exchange of letters about health care and abortion, it has emerged as an issue. I also share these words publicly with the thought that they might be instructive to other Catholics, including those in prominent positions of leadership.

For the moment I'd like to set aside the discussion of health care reform, as important and relevant as it is, and focus on one statement contained in your letter of October 29, 2009, in which you write, "The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic." That sentence certainly caught my attention and deserves a public response, lest it go unchallenged and lead others to believe it's true. And it raises an important question: What does it mean to be a Catholic?

"The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic." Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn't choose those particular words, when someone rejects the teachings of the Church, especially on a grave matter, a life-and-death issue like abortion, it certainly does diminish their ecclesial communion, their unity with the Church. This principle is based on the Sacred Scripture and Tradition of the Church and is made more explicit in recent documents.

For example, the "Code of Canon Law" says, "Lay persons are bound by an obligation and possess the right to acquire a knowledge of Christian doctrine adapted to their capacity and condition so that they can live in accord with that doctrine." (Canon 229, #1)

The "Catechism of the Catholic Church" says this: "Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles, 'He who hears you, hears me,' the faithful receive with docility the teaching and directives that their pastors give them in different forms." (#87)

Or consider this statement of the Church: "It would be a mistake to confuse the proper autonomy exercised by Catholics in political life with the claim of a principle that prescinds from the moral and social teaching of the Church." (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2002)

There's lots of canonical and theological verbiage there, Congressman, but what it means is that if you don't accept the teachings of the Church your communion with the Church is flawed, or in your own words, makes you "less of a Catholic."

But let's get down to a more practical question; let's approach it this way: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?

Well, in simple terms - and here I refer only to those more visible, structural elements of Church membership - being a Catholic means that you're part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.

Congressman, I'm not sure whether or not you fulfill the basic requirements of being a Catholic, so let me ask: Do you accept the teachings of the Church on essential matters of faith and morals, including our stance on abortion? Do you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish? Do you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly? Do you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially?

In your letter you say that you "embrace your faith." Terrific. But if you don't fulfill the basic requirements of membership, what is it exactly that makes you a Catholic? Your baptism as an infant? Your family ties? Your cultural heritage?

Your letter also says that your faith "acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity." Absolutely true. But in confronting your rejection of the Church's teaching, we're not dealing just with "an imperfect humanity" - as we do when we wrestle with sins such as anger, pride, greed, impurity or dishonesty. We all struggle with those things, and often fail.

Your rejection of the Church's teaching on abortion falls into a different category - it's a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you've re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can't chalk it up to an "imperfect humanity." Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.

Congressman Kennedy, I write these words not to embarrass you or to judge the state of your conscience or soul. That's ultimately between you and God. But your description of your relationship with the Church is now a matter of public record, and it needs to be challenged. I invite you, as your bishop and brother in Christ, to enter into a sincere process of discernment, conversion and repentance. It's not too late for you to repair your relationship with the Church, redeem your public image, and emerge as an authentic "profile in courage," especially by defending the sanctity of human life for all people, including unborn children. And if I can ever be of assistance as you travel the road of faith, I would be honored and happy to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Providence

[HT: BU Students against Planned Parenthood]


Comments:

That was truly inspiring and wonderful! Bishop Tobin hits the nail on the head. To be Catholic means accepting Church teachings, belonging to a parish, going to Mass on Sundays, regularly receiving the Sacraments, and supporting the Church. Patrick Kennedy is in grave need of authentic faith.

Posted by: Bernard D. at November 10, 2009 12:31 PM


Amazing!
I guess there's a reason that he's a bishop.
Very well said!

Posted by: Matt at November 10, 2009 12:35 PM


sure to shake not only Patrick but the entire Kennedy family to their core.

I doubt that. Their forte seems to be claiming authority, not submission to it. Great letter by the bishop though.

Posted by: Fed Up at November 10, 2009 12:36 PM


wow wow wow wow wow wow wow. WOW.

Posted by: Kristi at November 10, 2009 12:52 PM


You could substitute member of 'the body of Christ' for 'catholic church' and 'follower of Christ' for 'catholic' and Tobins words would not be any less true.

In fact they would be more true.

In my 'opinion' Patrick Kennedy is neither a follower of Christ nor a member of the body of Christ. He is, as Tobin intimated, at best a 'cultural catholic' [see Tobins example] who in all probability has never encountered the Living God, but pimps his catholicism to advance his political ambitions and who knows, maybe Patrick is hedging his bets just in case this talk of GOD and Jesus just happens to be true.

Politics and religion, there ain't much difference.

One other observation. Patrick Kennedy getting into religious debate with Tobin is like bringing a knife to gunfight. In a battle of wits, Patrick is effectively an unarmed combatant.

yor bro ken

Posted by: kbhvac at November 10, 2009 12:57 PM


Bishop Tobin is doing what is plainly his duty. He stands out because he is one of the few bishops who take seriously their teaching mandate in relation to dissident Catholics. What a difference it would make if every bishop in every diocese took their vocation as shepherds as seriously as does bishop Tobin.

Posted by: Joanne at November 10, 2009 1:09 PM


The process is slower than we would wish for in an ideal world. But, Catholic bishops with this sort of clarity and high evangelical concern are gradually becoming more common in America.

As a new generation of Catholic priests are appointed as Bishops, I think we can expect to see more of this sort of thing in the future.

Posted by: Scott Johnston at November 10, 2009 1:13 PM


Oy. That bishop has a lot to say, and all of it deserved to be read.

And yes, the same basic principles would apply to any Christian, not just Roman Catholics. We Protestants depend more on Scripture and less on the hierarchy (if we even have a hierarchy), but the basic concept is much the same.

Let me indulge my hubris by re-writing the bishop's words for Protestants:
"Well, in simple terms - and here I refer only to those more visible, structural elements of Church membership - being a Christian means that you're part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Bible, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Christian community; that you attend worship on Sundays and participate in the life of the Church; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially."

Christianity is not a performance-based religion. At its core, Christianity is a relationship between fallen humanity and a holy God, mediated through God's Own Son. As such, we must resist the temptation to judge other Christians as "not really" Christian. Only God knows what is in their hearts.

Even so, being a Christian must mean something. A self-professed Christian who brings shame upon Christ through repeated, public disobedience deserves to be held accountable for his actions. He might well be as Christian as he claims to be ... but if so, he's behaving very badly.

Bishop Tobin threaded the needle in his letter. He did not claim to judge Kennedy's heart, just his actions. And his judgments were spot-on! Well done, Bishop Tobin!

Posted by: Naaman at November 10, 2009 1:16 PM


This whole abortion issue is all about greed and money ~ bottom line. He must be getting "blood money" from someone to sway him to the pro-abort side. Such evil in the world, I am appalled by his outright defiance of the Church teachings! He's selling his soul!!

Posted by: DIANE at November 10, 2009 1:16 PM


Well done, Bishop Tobin!

Its so nice to have real Catholic leadership address publically the culture of death pervasive to our social fabric & promoted by the left, like MOST Kennedys; including the 1st Lady of California.

The Catechism also addresses the responsibilities of civil servants & public authorities, of which Patrick Kennedy (and most Kennedys--JFK was pro-life) continuously breech.

I recall John Kerry being barred from Communion during his Presidential Campaign in 04, for leading the flock astray in a public forum & by making socially acceptable a "grave & mortal sin."

That's a good start. One bad apple can spoil the whole barrel & that is witnessed in Catholic society time & again by those who accept abortion as "just another sin"--and not the recognition of it being "grave & mortal"--UNFORGIVEABLE with ensuing damnation.

JMJ-
Patrick
Arlington VA

Posted by: Patrick at November 10, 2009 1:17 PM


Fed Up - I agree, I don't think this will rattle Kennedy, however it might have much stronger implications.

RI is a heavily Catholic state that doesn't act Catholic when it comes to voting or upholding exactly what Bishop Tobin discussed in his letter. 3 of our 4 US Reps are Catholic.

Kennedy, Senator Jack Reed, as well as Rhode Island's other Congressman - James Langevin, are Catholic. 3 of the 4 are also adamantly pro-abortion: Reed, Whitehouse (who is Episcopalian) and Kennedy.

Langevin actually did uphold Stupak/Pitts. When I asked him last July about the healthcare bill being FOCA in disguise, he said he'd have to see the final language of the bill. The question remains - will Langevin vote down the healthcare bill if Stupak/Pitts is stripped out?

With USCCB getting more vocal regarding abortion, it will be interesting to see the reaction from the RI Catholic population to the prompts coming from the bishops and the priests.

To paraphrase Bishop Tobin, faith doesn't have much meaning if
you're not even faithful to that which you claim to profess.

Posted by: Chris Arsenault at November 10, 2009 1:27 PM


God Bless Bishop Tobin. Finally, a bishop who isn't intimidated by the Kennedy name. If the Kennedy family had ANY fear of the Lord they would listen to this good bishop!

Posted by: eileen at November 10, 2009 1:30 PM


I totally agree with Bishop Tobin. I just wish more Bishop's were as explicit. Thank you, Bishop Tobin, for clearly enunciating the Church position and, more importantly, for your willingness to accept the public ridicule that will surely come from less unlighted individuals. As we know, this matter has nothing to do with individual rights; it is all about the rights and dignity of the human being...including the unborn that have no voice in this matter.

Posted by: Mark at November 10, 2009 1:41 PM


Maybe I'm just odd or don't understand Catholicism but the, "You will not question" sort of thing makes me nervous.

Posted by: Vannah at November 10, 2009 1:46 PM


Where do you see that, Vannah? I mean, I know that that is what you take from the letter, but what specifically makes gives you that connotation?

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at November 10, 2009 1:50 PM


He frequently mentions the Church's teachings. I think that it's less the emphasis on Stand Up for Human Rights and more of the emphasis on You Disobeyed the Church.

Again, I'd like to point out that I'm not Catholic and would like to hear this from the point of view of a Catholic. I'm not saying that the bishop is evil or anything, I just want to understand how this works in Catholicism. If you could explain that so I understand it, that'd be good.

Posted by: Vannah at November 10, 2009 1:55 PM


Absolutely, Vannah, and I know that's what you're getting at. I'll have plenty of time to write something thoughtful and carefully in about an hour, so give me some time.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at November 10, 2009 1:58 PM


Thanks, Bobby. And how are the Little Bambinos doing? :)

Posted by: Vannah at November 10, 2009 1:59 PM


Oh excellent! I got one in my arms and the other one is requesting to "watch slideshow" while pulling chords out of the computer desk saying "mine, mine, mine." They're so wonderful.

But they should be "ditched" pretty soon...

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at November 10, 2009 2:05 PM


Oh. My. Gosh.

It's about time these bishops smack-down. Hard.

Vannah, not to interfere with what I believe will be Bambino's impeccable response, the "obey" issue is not in the context that you might think of, such as a slave/master relationship.

The bishop is talking about basic expectations of what it means to call oneself catholic. If Kennedy et al can't even live up to some basic standards, then one has to question sincerity. In other words, is he conveniently catholic or do the beliefs get dumped when it's unpopular.

Over to you, Bobby.

Posted by: carder at November 10, 2009 2:26 PM


Yeah baby YEAH!!!

I wrote the good Bishop and congratulated him after the first letter.

I'm gonna write him again!

Vannah, I'm sure Bobby will give you some great stuff to chew on. As a former Catholic, now non-denominational but still embracing much of the good Catholic teaching, there is a great principle found in the Bible that would totally alleviate your concerns.

Basically, while we are to submit ourselves to the teaching of the pastors and priests that minister to us, we are not to take everything they say at face value. We are to take what we hear and then study the scriptures to determine whether what was taught was accurate.

It's really, really cool. What happens is the Holy Spirit becomes your Guide in Bible Study and His Word comes alive!

Before Jesus left the Earth, He said, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Jn 14.26

This principle is found scattered throughout the Bible. Here it is in the Book of Acts: "These (the Jews in Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. Ac 17:11-12

I'm sure there are many other Christians, Catholic and Protestant, that can testify to growing in faith and in the knowledge of God through studying His Word and the teachings of the Church. It's a great adventure.

You don't have to worry about being taught incorrectly or being forced to submit to something that is wrong. You're going to hear some stuff that's a little off. But Jesus is your Lord, not any man. And you become His disciple.

I'd be happy to share more Vannah if you like. As I said, I'm sure Bobby will have some great stuff for you too.

God Bless You!

Posted by: Ed at November 10, 2009 2:49 PM


Chalk one up to the Catholic Bishops! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for representing us Catholics so well!!

Ed,
Glad to hear you wrote a thank-you note. Do you have Bishop Tobin's address handy?

Carder,
"Over to you, Bobby"
I like that. :)

Posted by: Janet at November 10, 2009 3:22 PM


Thank you for your explanation, Ed. :)

And you kids sound so cute, Bobby. :)

Sorry if that sounded insulting. I didn't mean to sound that way- I was just curious.

Posted by: Vannah at November 10, 2009 3:38 PM


Sort of 'off topic', but did anybody see the 'Octomom's' Halloween costume? I tried to add a picture to my post, but it wouldn't copy. She was dressed as a PREGNANT nun, and the babies were dressed as 'devils'. I'm not Catholic, but I must say I was a little offended by the photo. Those of you my friends who ARE Catholic.....do you consider this offensive, or do you just 'laugh it off'? I personally wouldn't dress my child in a devil costume either. Your opinions on the costume?

Posted by: Pamela at November 10, 2009 3:38 PM


BRAVO Bishop Tobin!!!!

This is exactly what a good bishop does... instructs, leads and corrects his flock when necessary and does not allow public scandal to go unchallenged.

God bless this wonderful bishop, and I sincerely pray that Kennedy hears and receives these words with humility and honesty.

Posted by: Jennifer at November 10, 2009 3:40 PM


OK, Vannah. So first of all, I should mention that there will be many things that my wonderful non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters on the blog will not agree with, and that's fine. But I do want to explain the philosophical foundations for how a Catholic knows the revelation that God wishes for him to know.

First of all, I should mention that belief in any Catholic teaching is never encouraged to be believed without question. Catholicism has a huge intellectual tradition of digging deeply, asking big and subtle questions, and probing our faith as far as we can take it. I do believe that every single teaching stands up to scrutiny and careful analysis, and that nothing contradicts reason.

But more to the point- suppose we are convinced that Jesus is God. If Jesus is God, he can not lie and we should do or live however he commands us. What the Catholic believes, contra the non-Catholic Christian, is that Jesus established a visible, hierarchical Church to teach in his name AND that he promised to keep his Church from teaching definitively truth as error or error as truth. Thus, for the Catholic, when the Catholic Church hands down a definitive teaching, we are more confident in the truth of that teaching than almost anything else SOLELY based on the fact that it is taught by the Church which Jesus founded and which he promised to keep from teaching error. And remember, Jesus is God, so he can not lie. In other words, I as a Catholic have more confidence in the truths of the trinity, the incarnation, the existence of purgatory etc etc than I do with, say, ANY scientific truth. And I am VERY confident about scientific truths! But the BASIS for my (and any good Catholic's) belief in Catholic teachings is not a philosophical argument or scripture proof texts (not to downplay those at all) but the teaching of the Church.

The point I'm trying to make is that when someone submits their will to the teaching of the Church, they are not showing blind faith- on the contrary, they have more confidence in that teaching than just about anything! Consider a modified definition of faith given by Aquinas: "Faith is the theological virtue by which the intellect acends to conform to the will to believe all that the Catholic Church teaches." In other words, if there is a teaching that the Catholic Church proposes which you can't intellectually understand or see, you WILL yourself to believe it because you KNOW that the Catholic Church is Jesus' Church which can not teach error, and that if there is an error in reasoning, it is in your reasoning and not the Bride of Christ's reasoning. So again, simply knowing that the Church is guaranteed by God to not teach error should be the most adequate justification for believing anything the Church definitvley teaches, even if one does not understand it. This is part of what the Bishop was hinting at in the rest of his letter- that we aren't Catholics to make up our own rules. No, we are Catholics because we recognize that Jesus established a Church that will not err when definitivly teaching truth, and thus, we have it on the HIGHEST authority that the Church does not err when she definitivley teaches.

Obviously I didn't try and argue certain points- I am just trying to give you a Catholic framework. I would be glad to discuss anything in more detail, but does that at least get you partway there?

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at November 10, 2009 3:45 PM


"Sorry if that sounded insulting. I didn't mean to sound that way- I was just curious."

LOL, of course not! I know tone does not translate well over the internet, but I try and assume the best and genuineness in people. Plus I know you a bit, and I know you were just asking a sincere question.

Posted by: Bobby Bambino Author Profile Page at November 10, 2009 3:48 PM


Vannah,

You are really really cool. I love how pragmatic you are (X is a lot like that too). Questions are good and healthy and prove that your brain is engaged.

Bravo!

Janet,

Here's his address:

The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, D.D., Bishop of Providence
Diocese of Providence
One Cathedral Square
Providence, RI 02903-3695
General Phone (401) 278-4500
FAX (401) 278-4654
General Fax (401) 831-1947

I just sent an email to their office of communications trusting that it would make it through:

kdavis@dioceseofprovidence.org

Posted by: Ed at November 10, 2009 3:56 PM


Woo-Hoo! God bless you Bishop Tobin. Thank you for your very appropriate response, not in a vindictive way but in a pastoral, instructive way. Thank you for saying the "truth in love" but not backing down. As a Protestant, I wish more of our ministers would be so articulate, courageous and profound in standing for the sanctity of human life. Jesus Christ was not a wimp neither should the priest and pastors of his church be wimps. Never should they backdown from speaking the truth when the very lives of innocent babies are at stake. "Cry loud and spare not" those who would shed innocent blood and mutilate precious unborn babies in the womb. Thank you for Bishop Tobin being a servant of God, declaring the truth of God's word that says "Before I formed you in your mother's womb I knew you". This has made my day. Thank you to Catholic prolifers who have been on the forefront of this live-saving prolife movement even though it has cost you being maligned and ostracized by MSM and politicians. God bless.

Posted by: Prolifer L at November 10, 2009 3:59 PM


Bobby,

Great response. I would agree that most Catholics probably hold the Church's teachings in higher regard than non-Catholics which put more emphasis on the Scriptures.

However the things we agree on are way, way, way, way, more substantive than what we may differ on (like saving babies!)(and trying our best to live lives pleasing to Our Master).

Like they say in the Afro-American Christian Church near my home:

Pastor: God is Good!

Congregation: All the time!

Posted by: Ed at November 10, 2009 4:30 PM


Following Bobby's post, it would be good to note that not everything a Bishop or group of Bishops says is necessarily considered a "definitive teaching." As human individuals, they are just as prone to mistakes, lapses in judgment, and ignorance as we are. However, some things are taught by the Church definitively, such as the evil of abortion, and there is a whole system in place to let us know what things are definitive teachings and what things are personal opinions. On these definitive issues, one cannot disagree and still label himself a good Catholic.

Hope that clears some things up.

Posted by: Scott at November 10, 2009 4:31 PM


Thank you so much Bobby, Scott, and Ed. That really does make a lot more sense. It might be a better idea for me to brush up on more religions to understand some of the reasoning of this and that so that I don't have to derail threads. ^.^

Anyways, the explanations were very helpful. :)

Posted by: Vannah at November 10, 2009 5:16 PM


Vannah, what Bobby and others said was certainly very good. As a Catholic, I would like to add that in the case of abortion, it is always very good for bishops to point out that it is wrong to cooperate in any way in the evil of abortion, and not JUST because it is against the specific teaching of the Catholic Church, but because it is an affront to human dignity and human rights.

This is one of those matters of the natural law that everyone is supposed to know and follow simply because they are human with the moral sense given to them by God: even atheists know that it is wrong to slay defenseless innocent people!

Now the good bishop could have expressed that part more clearly. However, he is also perfectly right to say that Kennedy is bound to believe the bishops' teaching on this as a Catholic because it is indeed Catholic teaching, and a par with all other Catholic beliefs on faith and morals that have been held since the beginning of the Church.

Hope this helps :)

Posted by: Lori Pieper at November 10, 2009 6:03 PM


I am so proud of the Bishop and may his tribe increase. Listen up you ardent practicing Catholic politicians who conveniently became pro choice when running for national office and in need of blood money....

As for the pregnant nun comment. I think that is disgusting. I went to the Sonic at Halloween and a car hop was dressed as a pregnant nun. I not only let her know I was offended I complained to the manager and asked that he send her home to change or at least take out the pillow. For the Octomom to dress as a pregnant nun for Halloween and her babies as devils shows she has a few screws loose for sure.

Posted by: Maria at November 10, 2009 6:12 PM


Thanks, Maria.....and good for you! :D

Posted by: Pamela at November 10, 2009 8:00 PM


It is good to be idealistic. Men and women, who labored under overwhelming odds, accomplished many profound changes in our world. However, some, who were driven by Idealism, were not rooted in faith and they caused pain and misery. History has many examples of idealistic men scourging the Earth with wars, resulting in the death of millions. Those who make the laws of the land are sometimes driven by ideals not rooted in faith. They are blinded by their idealistic vision of how society should render their version of justice. The evil one will inspire such men to act without faith and no good will come of their lives. Many will blindly follow such leaders, lock step, without thinking about the consequences of their behavior. Ideal’s without faith is like a marriage without love. It is a union that will only end in bitterness"

Posted by: Glen Jackson at November 10, 2009 9:01 PM


great explanation by Bobby.(and during nap time too!)
What a great bishop Tobin is! What a great letter he wrote.
Wonder what Kennedy's response will be?
At least now he can't face God and say no one pushed him on this one. He can't claim ignorance.
This is a perfect example of a bishop doing his duty to instruct in a charitable way.

Posted by: angel at November 10, 2009 9:23 PM


I think that Tobin did a great job expressing to Kennedy the requirements of being a Catholic. The public letter was matter-of-fact, and I think he said all that he can possibly say at this point. Good for him.

I truly hope that this becomes a private discussion going forward.

I am praying that Patrick Kennedy opens his heart to a new-found relationship with God. I pray that when the Holy Spirit convicts Kennedy by piercing him with guilt deep into his heart and soul, that he will listen and follow Him.

If there is one thing I would have added to the letter, it would have been this:

John 16:5-15 (New International Version)

The Work of the Holy Spirit

(This is Jesus speaking:)

5 "Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'

6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.

7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:

9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;

10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;

11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.

15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

Posted by: Marie at November 10, 2009 9:33 PM


That's my Bambino!

Posted by: carder at November 10, 2009 9:44 PM


So glad this is
FINALLY happening!!!
The bishop comes off as clear, classy, and and ardent defender of life.

I'm happy to predict that Bishop Tobin's public actions will only inspire more bishops who need a nudge.

And the Catholic faithful have been waiting a long, long time for this- like water after a long drought.

Posted by: Mary Ann at November 11, 2009 12:11 AM


Ed, Thanks for the information.

Bobby, Great response!

Posted by: Janet at November 11, 2009 10:30 AM


How refreshing - a real Catholic Bishop. It's a shame we don't have many of them in the USA.

Posted by: George R. Kadlec at November 11, 2009 6:27 PM


It's time overdue for bishops and their priests to promote Humanae Vitae's clear teachings. Pope Benedict refers to it also in his Caritas in Veritate, and these are free by download off the Web. Padre Pio praise Pope Paul VI for it, and Mother Teresa's Nobel Peace Prize lecture told the positive results of promoting it.

Posted by: Edward Peffer at November 11, 2009 10:04 PM


It's time overdue for to promote Humanae Vitae's clear teachings. Pope Benedict refers to it also in his Caritas in Veritate, free by download off the Web. Padre Pio praise Pope Paul VI for it, and Mother Teresa's Nobel Peace Prize lecture told the positive results of promoting it.

Posted by: Edward Peffer at November 11, 2009 10:05 PM


Praise God!! Finally, a bishop who speaks up for the truth! Now, if only his fellow bishops will join him and speak as one, good will triumph over evil and the Kingdom of the Lord will come. God bless you Bishop Tobin!!

Posted by: Lisa at November 11, 2009 11:08 PM


Thank you Bishop Tobin, a representative of the Catholic Church who has a spine! I have been a Roman Catholic for more decades than I want to admit to....however, my question for the last year has been, 'HOW could 54% of Catholics vote for the current resdident of the White House knowing that he is PRO-abortion? Doesn't anyone RESEARCH 'what' politicians stand for, BEFORE voting for them? The bigger issue is that many women have lost all respect for themselves by engaging in 'sex' with any partner. Does anyone recall when it was referred to as 'MARITAL RELATIONS?'

Posted by: Michelle at November 13, 2009 9:48 AM


I am so impressed by Bishop Tobin's letter to Congressman Kennedy. It's about time we Catholics stand up & talk about what it really means to profess & live the Catholic faith. It's one thing to SAY you are Catholic, but quite another to live it. God Bless you Bishop Tobin.

Posted by: Rebecca Bowling at November 14, 2009 6:47 AM