U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy has been barred from receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion in the Catholic church. Kennedy told the Providence Sunday Journal that Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has “explained the penalty by telling him that ‘I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public official'”. This of course refers to his stance on abortion rights, in particular his recent statements regarding Tobin’s resistance to health care reform, which Kennedy (correctly in my opinion) has identified as one of the greatest human rights issues of our time. Kennedy spoke to John Mulligan at the Providence Journal in October.
The Rhode Island Democrat called the church’s stance a “red herring that fans the flames of dissent and discord.”
“You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life-saving health care?” Kennedy said, referring to the tens of millions of Americans who do not have health insurance. “I thought they were pro-life. If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health-care reform,” Kennedy said.