Read backstory here.
It turns out the Providence Journal story yesterday reporting that rebel Catholic pro-abort Rep. Patrick Kennedy had been barred by his bishop, Thomas Tobin, from receiving communion missed a key point: This happened back in 2007, and Kennedy is furthermore now embellishing.
Kennedy instigated a fight with his church a month ago on the issue of abortion in healthcare. Apparently in over his head now, Kennedy appears to be going for sympathy support by slipping private details and exaggerating claims....
The Journal quoted Kennedy as stating, "The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion."
Again, Tobin's request came in the form of a letter - in 2007 - and was intended to be private. Kennedy's decision to disclose the correspondence can only be seen as self-serving, particularly in conjunction with exaggerations of its contents.
Furthermore, Kennedy has flouted his bishop's request and received communion anyway. According to the follow-up Providence Journal story:
... Tobin on Sunday disputed key details of... Kennedy's account of their 2007 communication about whether the congressman should take Communion, given his support for abortion rights.
The leader of RI's Catholics criticized the timing of Kennedy's decision to publicize what the bishop called a private, "pastoral" message. He termed "absolutely inaccurate" Kennedy's assertion that the bishop had instructed the priests of RI not to give him Communion....
"If I had told 300 priests of the diocese in any format not to give Communion to Kennedy or anybody else, you think that would have remained confidential?" Bishop Tobin asked.
Bishop Tobin spoke in an interview after Kennedy's assertion in The Providence Sunday Journal that the "bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion."
"If he took it as an instruction, so be it, but it was really a request," Bishop Tobin said upon releasing excerpts of a Feb. 21, 2007, letter to the RI Democrat. The bishop said he felt he had to comment on the letter because Kennedy had chosen to "break it open."
"My correspondence with him was nearly 4 years ago - and I think it's important to stress that - [and] was intended to be personal and confidential and pastoral," the bishop said. "It was never intended for the public domain."
Kennedy made his disclosure Friday, escalating a heated dispute with the bishop that began last month when the congressman assailed the Catholic stance on the abortion clauses in the health-care overhaul legislation pending before Congress. But Kennedy declined Friday to give any details of when or how the bishop had communicated his message about Communion. Kennedy has not answered telephone messages left Saturday and Sunday....
"I'm not picking on Patrick Kennedy," Bishop Tobin said. "I'm responding to things Patrick Kennedy has said" in recent weeks. "In each case," Bishop Tobin said, Kennedy "has started the dialogue and in each case I have responded to him."...
Tobin said he "presumed" that Kennedy had complied with the request....
Kennedy has said that he has taken Communion, but he did not give any specifics....
[Photo via the Catholic News Agency]
It is painfully obvious that Kennedy does not believe that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ. If he did he would not be able to accept it, especially after the request by the Bishop.Posted by: Kristen at November 23, 2009 10:42 AM
1 Cor 11:23-32 (NAB)says it all and explains why the Kennedy family is under condemnation or a curse (I am quoting the NAB Catholic translation):
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread,
and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.
A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup.
For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.
That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.
If we discerned ourselves, we would not be under judgment;
but since we are judged by (the) Lord, we are being disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world."
My act of love to them is to advise them all to repent of their unbiblical and un-Christian views, the centerpiece of which is abortion.
I also advise any and all priests that advise the Kennedys on spiritual matters to start telling them the truth and stop telling them what their itching ears want to hear for you will be condemned with them by doing so.
2 Timothy 4: 1-4 (NAB)
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power:
proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.
For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, 2 will accumulate teachers
and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths."
Kristen ~ you are so right. I believe Patrick Kennedy is an arrogant Catholic who believes he is *above* obeying his own bishop; the apple doesn't fall from the tree. I also believe he lumps abortion into what is the "seamless garment" rhetoric (garbage). Throwing out the same tired reasonings of "social justice."
I was just wondering what Rose Kennedy, their beloved grandmother would say? I can't believe she would have gone along with her children and grandchildren's disobedience of their bishop, but maybe I'm just naively hoping there was one authentic Catholic in this clan.
"...the "seamless garment" rhetoric (garbage)."
Amen! We're still trying to recover from Cardinal Berardin's nonsense...Posted by: Bobby Bambino at November 23, 2009 11:18 AM
"My act of love to them is to advise them all to repent of their unbiblical and un-Christian views, the centerpiece of which is abortion."
Nicely said. I pray that Kennedy's fellow parishioners and friends will take a loving and courageous leap and advise him of his wrongdoing and his ineligibility for receiving the Holy Eucharist.Posted by: Janet at November 23, 2009 12:34 PM
Bobby, please do not blame Cardinal Bernardin for the way some people have twisted his words and ideas. The idea that abortion is only one of many issues, and that you can be consistent about life while voting in favor for abortion is one he utterly rejected.
He said, for example, in a 1988 interview, “I don’t see how you can subscribe to the consistent ethic and then vote for someone who feels that abortion is a ‘basic right’ of the individual.” And, in the same interview, he noted that “some people on the left, if I may use that label, have used the consistent ethic to give the impression that the abortion issue is not all that important anymore, that you should be against abortion in a general way but that there are more important issues, so don’t hold anybody’s feet to the fire just on abortion. That’s a misuse of the consistent ethic, and I deplore it.”
Cardinal Bernardin was a tireless opponent of abortion, one who knew where the proper priorities lie, and his example is something we should be proud of.Posted by: Lori Pieper at November 23, 2009 12:54 PM
It is difficult to argue with the quotes, and I certainly hope you are correct in your claim. I guess I'm still a bit confused though about the Cardinal's intentions because if nothing else, he was a very intelligent man and would have had to have known that the seamless garment analogy would be hijacked by those attempting to downplay the evilness of abortion. Perhaps I should err on the side of charity and say that Cardinal Bernardin gave a less than helpful analogy. God love you.Posted by: Bobby Bambino at November 23, 2009 1:24 PM
Here is a link to a podcast (a downloadable mp3 file or listen online) from a recent interview of Cardinal Francis George on the Extension 720 radio program on WGN Radio in Chicago. Cardinal George discusses the "seamless garment" and Cardinal Bernardin about a third of the way in.
How sad that Kennedy is using this to try and score political points. His church is well within its rights, and his blatant disregard and lying about this is without excuse.
I hope Ted Kennedy repented before he died. So sad that people like Kennedy, Gore, and Clinton started their careers as pro life, but believed the only way to further their political ambitions in the Democrat party was to become pro abort.Posted by: Joan ne at November 23, 2009 5:28 PM
This is in-fact an internal affair of the church.
Kennedy is trying to bring the power of the state to bear on a personal issue between himself and the rest of the community to which he professes he belongs.
The state needs to stay out of church affairs.Posted by: Ted at November 23, 2009 5:38 PM
It is painfully obvious that Kennedy does not believe that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ. If he did he would not be able to accept it, especially after the request by the Bishop.
Posted by: Kristen at November 23, 2009 10:42 AM
It’s not, but I doubt if that would stop him. I think it’s simply arrogance.
BTW, here’s why I know it’s not truly blood and flesh of Jesus:
#1.: Not ONE TIME in the bible do we see a miracle take place that the evidence showed that no miracle had taken place. When Jesus changed the substance of water into wine, it was the actual substance of wine. When a priest “miraculously” changes the wine into blood, and the wafer into flesh, the wine and wafer still take on the substance of wine and a wafer. It doesn’t look like anything has happened. Miracles have ALWAYS been visual, not taken by faith.
#2: The Law of Moses forbid Jews and others from drinking blood. Notice also how the Israelites did not drink the blood of their offerings for atonement.
10 " 'Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood—I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life.
#3: When John 6:53 is taken literally, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you," it is in disagreement with many, many scriptures like this one:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
If you needed to drink blood for salvation, it is “works”. Justification and salvation are by grace through faith in Jesus.
#4: Take a look at these two verses
54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
If drinking blood and eating flesh were to be taken literally, (verse 54), wouldn’t these two verses contradict each other? Jesus said both. In John 6:40, Jesus said that all one had to do was BELIEVE in Him and would have eternal life. Hmm.
#5: Taking the verse to mean literal flesh and blood also poses another issue. It is in disagreement with God’s promise in Acts. If the verse was to be taken literally, the wafer and wine would go through the digestive system and be expelled which ultimately would decay.
27because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
There’s more issues that I can list to support that this verse was NOT to be taken literally and if you’re interested I’ll list more.Posted by: Marie at November 23, 2009 7:32 PM
It is difficult to argue with the quotes, and I certainly hope you are correct in your claim. I guess I'm still a bit confused though about the Cardinal's intentions because if nothing else, he was a very intelligent man and would have had to have known that the seamless garment analogy would be hijacked by those attempting to downplay the evilness of abortion. Perhaps I should err on the side of charity and say that Cardinal Bernardin gave a less than helpful analogy. God love you."
Thank you very your very courteous reply (so hard to find in comboxes).
I hope you read up more on Cardinal Bernardin's statements on life issues and on the seamless garment (a term which he actually didn't invent), a number of which are available on the web. If you come to agree that his connections between life issues are true, then I certainly hope that you won't call his analogy "less than helpful." Nothing that is true is "less than helpful."
After all, we wouldn't call the concept of democracy "less than helpful," just because some people (whether President Obama, some Democrats or anyone else) have abused it. Anything good can be abused.
Thanks jsable, for the link to the Cardinal George interview. Very interesting, both on the seamless garment and other topics.Posted by: Lori Pieper at November 23, 2009 8:20 PM
Bishop Tobin appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the Kennedy issue.
You can view the video here:
Matthews, a Catholic, oozes contempt as he interviews the Bishop.Posted by: Mr. H at November 23, 2009 8:26 PM
The Old Testament contains many signs and symbols of the Eucharist. These are fulfilled in the New Testament.
Melchizedek. The bread and wine offered by the priest-king Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18)) prefigure the bread and wine offered by the eternal priest-king Jesus at the Last Supper. Remember that Hebrews 6:20 calls Jesus "high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
The Ark of the Covenant. The holy container of the Old Testament prefigures the tabernacles in Catholic churches because it contained 3 items, each of which prefigures the Eurcharist:
1. the written word of God on tablets (Exodus 25:16) which prefigures the living word in the Eucharist.
2. the jar of manna (Exodus 16:34). This ordinary bread from heaven prefigures the Eucharist where Jesus, "the living bread" that came down from heaven: John 6:51 comes to us under the appearance of bread.
3. The rod of Aaron (Numbers 17:25) which flowered and bore ripe almonds as a sign of the ture priesthood of the Old Testament. Aaron's priesthood prefigures the high priesthood of Jesus Christ in the New Covenant. Aaron's rod, the sign of his priesthood, prefigures the instrument of Christ's priesthood, his body. By assuming a human nature, Jesus was able to offer up his flesh and blood as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
The clearest expression of the doctrine of the Real Presence is found in the sixth chapter of John's gospel. John 6 has two major, interconnected themes
- Jesus' teaching about the Eurcharist
- Jesus' discussion about faith - the unique and special faith needed to accept his difficult teaching about the Holy Eucharist.
Many of Jesus' disciples lacked the faith required to believe in the Real Presence. It took great faith to believe Jesus was God since his humanity veiled his divinity. However, to believe that Jesus is present int the Eucharist, requires even greater faith, becuse the Eucharist veils both his divinity and his humanity.
There are at least 5 reasons that we know Jesus was speaking literally and not symbolically about his real flesh and blood:
1. he reveals his Eucharistic discourse (John 6:35-69) after the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish - prefiguring the inexhaustible gift of Christ's own flesh and blood which is capable of being received by millions without being divided or diminished.
2. Jesus claims superiority of his bread over the manna.
3. Everyone who heard Jesus understood him to be speaking literally. "How can he give us his flesh to eat?" "This saying is hard, who can accept it?"
Many of these disciples had lived, eaten, and walked with Jesus for nearly two years. They spoke the same language and dialect as Jesus. They heard him use various figures of speech and speak symbolically, using analogies, allegories and parables. They also heard him speak literally. They knew he said exactly what he meant and many of them left.
4. Instead of explaining that his listeners were misunderstanding him, Jesus reinforced what he just said and repeats the literalness of his teaching, six times in six verses (verses 53-58) "AMen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." "My flesh is real food and my blood is real blood." (verse 55).
5. Many of Jesus' disciples cannot accept this teaching and leave him. He does not call them back or try to convince them that he is speaking figuratively.
I could go on but won't. God love you Marie!Posted by: angel at November 23, 2009 8:47 PM
All I can say is that Chris Matthews is a pompous liberal windbag!
Good grief. Ya think he might have a few abortions under his belt?
When a priest “miraculously” changes the wine into blood Posted by: Marie
The priest doesn't perform a miracle. He invokes the Holy Spirit over the gifts of bread and wine.
Miracles have ALWAYS been visual, not taken by faith.
Was Mary's conception of Jesus a miracle? By your definition, only the appearance of Gabriel was miraculous because he was visible. Jesus' tiny embryonic presence in the womb couldn't be miraculous (by your definition) because he wasn't visible. To be miraculous (by your definition), Mary would have to show visible signs of pregnancy from day #1. Seems to me that Jesus can be made present without a "miracle" by your definition. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit could form the body of Christ unseen in the womb of a Virgin, what prevents him from making Christ present but unseen under the appearance of bread and wine?
Bottom line for me, Marie, is that Jesus founded a Church not a Bible. His Church was celebrating the Eucharist as Christ's body and blood before the first word of the New Testament was written down. Pax :)
Mr H, thanks for that link.Posted by: Fed Up at November 23, 2009 9:08 PM
Marie, I doubt if I'm going to convince you, but there are some misunderstandings about the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist that should be cleared up for you.
"#1. Not ONE TIME in the bible do we see a miracle take place that the evidence showed that no miracle had taken place. When Jesus changed the substance of water into wine, it was the actual substance of wine. When a priest “miraculously” changes the wine into blood, and the wafer into flesh, the wine and wafer still take on the substance of wine and a wafer. It doesn’t look like anything has happened. Miracles have ALWAYS been visual, not taken by faith."
I don't know if "miracle" is the right word to describe the Eucharist. If I'm any judge, Catholics do so relatively seldom. The Eucharist is not visual like most miracles of healing, there you are right. But if you were to define miracle in the sense of "something that nothing but the power of God can accomplish," then the Eucharist is a miracle in this sense, in the same way that our salvation itself in the way Jesus accomplished it is a miracle. Absolutely nothing but the power of God can save us while we are in sin. But salvation isn't exactly visible, is it? In the same way, the power of God accomplishes the invisible change in the bread and wine.
"#2: The Law of Moses forbid Jews and others from drinking blood."
Absolutely true. Which is precisely why many of Jesus' Jewish followers absolutely freaked out when he told them to eat his body and drink his blood. Most of them left him rather than even consider the possibility of cannabalism and blood-drinking (John 6:66). Yet notice what happens. Jesus doesn't call them back saying "hey folks, I was only kidding, I was just using a metaphor."
Instead he tells them, "Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?" - in other words, he refers to the coming miracle of his Resurrection and Ascension. Obviously he means that the miracle of actually giving them himself to eat and drink is nothing to accomplish compared to that stunning miracle.
The following words "It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail," are always interpreted by Protestants to say "you see, he meant it as a metaphor." But in the context just described, that becomes impossible. He is telling them that the flesh (merely human understanding) is not going to help them understand what he is talking about, for that the revelation of the Holy Spirit is necessary.
Note too, that Jesus is here, as always, absolutely the Master of the Law. It is he who proclaims that "not one letter or smallest part of a letter the Law" is going to pass away or be abrogated, yet he also tells his disciples that Moses had given them the law about divorce but that it was not so from the beginning. He tells them that he is the Lord of the Sabbath, and that he can tell them that it is licit to gather grain on the Sabbath. etc. (Forgive me for not citing all the chapters and verses here, because I don't have time to look them up, and I'm sure you already know them as well or better than I do). He himself is setting up a new convenant in his blood, and it is for Him to say how it is to be done. So the old laws about blood as they were understood are not wrong, yet he is giving us something that surpasses them.
"#3 . . . . If you needed to drink blood for salvation, it is “works”. Justification and salvation are by grace through faith in Jesus."
I see, you must have faith to be saved, -- oh, wait a minute, when you believe in Jesus you have to DO something, you actually have to perform an act - doesn't that make faith "works" too? In your sense, I guess it would. The truth is, when we have faith in Jesus we are following his command, just as we do when we follow his command to eat his body and drink his blood. The two are no different in that respect, and we do one just as we do the other, without any fear that we are trying to accomplish our salvation without him.
"#4: Take a look at these two verses
54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
40For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
If drinking blood and eating flesh were to be taken literally, (verse 54), wouldn’t these two verses contradict each other? Jesus said both. In John 6:40, Jesus said that all one had to do was BELIEVE in Him and would have eternal life. Hmm."
I fail to understand why you think why these verses are contradictory. As someone who both believes in Jesus and receives the Eucharist every week believing it to be his real body and blood, I see no contradiction at all. Jesus tells us to do these two things to have salvation, and we do both of them, believing we have salvation. The only way the verses could be contradictory is if Jesus had said "belief in me is the ONLY way you can have salvation" or "drinking my body and blood is the ONLY way you can have salvation." I don't see that in either verse. Truth is, there is no SINGLE thing we are told to do in the Gospels to have salvation. In spite of all Protestant efforts, the teaching on salvation just doesn't work that way, if you consider the whole of the teaching of Jesus on this subject.
I can't write more, or answer your other objections as I would wish, but believe me, there are answers. I hope you find them.Posted by: Lori Pieper at November 23, 2009 9:18 PM
By your definition, only the appearance of Gabriel was miraculous because he was visible. Jesus' tiny embryonic presence in the womb couldn't be miraculous (by your definition) because he wasn't visible. To be miraculous (by your definition), Mary would have to show visible signs of pregnancy from day #1.
Luke 1:41-45 (New International Version)
41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
Posted by: Marie
at November 23, 2009 9:21 PM
Posted by: Marie at November 23, 2009 7:32 PM
As Catholics we believe that it IS the true body and blood of Christ. I am not eloquent enough to do justice to the argument so I will not try but, like all other Catholic dogma, this is what we believe without doubt.
I will say this - at the last supper Jesus said this IS my body - not this is LIKE my body....Posted by: Kristen at November 23, 2009 9:27 PM
I'm not sure of your point, Marie@9:21 PM. How do the verses you cited show that Mary's pregnancy was visible? If Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, how do you know whether she spoke words inspired by the Spirit or based on what she saw?Posted by: Fed Up at November 23, 2009 9:46 PM
I see, you must have faith to be saved, -- oh, wait a minute, when you believe in Jesus you have to DO something, you actually have to perform an act - doesn't that make faith "works" too? In your sense, I guess it would.
Lori, no it wouldn't.
And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
Workers earn payment, while recipients of grace simply receive it, not-earned. Because salvation is all by grace, it can't be earned. Faith, therefore, is not a "work".
Isn't Elizabeth being visibly filled with the Holy Spirit (In a loud voice she exclaimed:, (and) the baby leaped in her womb) declaring this miracle before Mary said anything to her visible? Did Mary not SEE and HEAR Elizabeth telling her this? How many witnesses does one need for a miracle to be visible?Posted by: Marie at November 23, 2009 10:14 PM
Marie, I am well aware of all the points you've stated. My point was that you are mixing up the idea of a "work" that is supposedly efficacious for salvation and an action, any action. Now having faith in Christ is an action, isn't it? If not, what would you call it? You've got to perform the action of believing in Christ before you can be saved. But that action is not the cause of your salvation. Christ's grace is. My point was that it's the same with the Eucharist. You eat his body and blood at his command. But even though you eat, it wouldn't be efficacious toward your salvation without his grace.
Believe it or not, I as a Catholic believe that I am saved solely by the grace of Christ, meaning that no matter what I do, it would avail nothing without the grace of Christ being present. Same here. But you got to tell me how belief is anything but an action on your part, of your self and your will. Because that's what it is.Posted by: Lori Pieper at November 24, 2009 12:02 AM
Did Mary not SEE and HEAR Elizabeth telling her this?
I'm sure she did, Marie. But you haven't shown that the embryonic Jesus was "visual" in the same sense you require his body and blood to be "visual" in the Eucharist. You're applying different standards now.
But it's a moot point because the Eucharist isn't a miracle the priest performs. It's something the Holy Trinity condescends to do for us at the invocation of the Holy Spirit by the priest.
Heb 11:1 tells us that faith is evidence of the unseen. Aren't you setting limits on God (not to mention your faith) if you constrain his power to the humanly visible?
Here's an article, rather long, written by former anti-Catholic protestant minister Scott Hahn. He sets the Eucharist in the context of the Last Supper as passover meal. He explains how he overcame his protestant objections to the Eucharist. It may not convince you, but it will show you why we believe what we believe in light of both old and new testaments.
Marcus Grodi, another former protestant minister, makes a great observation about the Eucharist here. Scroll down to #8.
Have a pleasant evening. Pax :) Oh, one more thing. If you search Jill's blog, you will find a thread with a long discussion on faith vs works that might interest you.
I am saved solely by the grace of Christ, meaning that no matter what I do, it would avail nothing without the grace of Christ
Amen, Lori.Posted by: Fed Up at November 24, 2009 1:19 AM
Thank you, Fed up!
In my discussion, I certainly could have said a great many other things. I might have said rather that nothing we do is "meritorious" that is, nothing "earns" us salvation, because that is closer to Marie's language. I could also add that while nothing that I can do will merit me the grace of Christ, it still comes to me through my doing certain things. That is why we must do them. It's called "cooperating with grace." If you can get some Protestants to understand this, half the battle is won.
Now you're confusing faith with miracles. Two separate things.Posted by: Marie at November 24, 2009 7:38 AM
No, Marie, I'm not. I just don't accept some of your premises. Pax :)Posted by: Fed Up at November 24, 2009 11:26 AM