Skip to comments.Bishop Tobin Publicly Calls Rep. Kennedy to ‘Conversion and Repentance’
Posted on 11/10/2009 5:55:49 AM PST by marshmallow
By a mutual decision, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence and Representative Patrick Kennedy-- the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy-- have postponed their meeting to discuss the Catholic congressmans support of abortion. Over the weekend, the Rhode Island congressman sided with abortion advocates in voting against the Stupak amendment, which barred the use of federal funds from paying for most abortions in the Houses health care reform legislation.
Following the vote, Bishop Tobin issued a public letter to Representative Kennedy in which he ripped the congressmans statement that 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 its true, wrote Bishop Tobin in the letter, which will appear in the November 12 edition of his diocesan newspaper. And it raises an important question: What does it mean to be a Catholic?
The bishop continued:
[W]hen 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
But lets get down to a more practical question; lets 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 youre 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, Im 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 dont 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?
The prelate concluded:
[I]n confronting your rejection of the Churchs teaching, were 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 Churchs teaching on abortion falls into a different category its a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that youve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you cant 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. Thats 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. Its 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.
Bishop's letter in full; Dear Congressman Kennedy (Rhode Island Catholic)
The younger Kennedy is an embarrassment even to the Kennedys and that's saying something. Aside from being a dim bulb, he never seems to know when to shut his yap. The bishop's words won't make the slightest impression on his dense cranium but they will cheer faithful Catholics and may possibly enlighten some of the confused hoi polloi.
> Is there any intelligent life in the north east?
There is, but sadly it is in the minority.
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Obama Says A Baby Is A Punishment
When people like Kennedy defy Church teachings while still claiming to be “Catholic,” this type of public response is necessary on the part of more bishops. Kudos to this Bishop!
I live in Massachusetts. Is there anything you’d like to say to me?
Well, well, well. I wonder how big the check will be from the Kennedy family to shut this guy up? Or which archbishop, or member of the mafia, will be nominated to make a discreet call to the good father.
If only ALL Catholic clerics were this clear and concise on this issue (instead of the 20 pages of vague blather they usually issue) and applied it to ALL the phony Catholics in Congress, THEN we would be getting somewhere.
Good work padre.
My sincerest condolences.
How gracious of you.
I meant to say "Bravo Massachussets!!" for inflicting the Kennedys upon us.
Thanks. I really appreciate that. Don’t bother to continue this “conversation”. I think I’ve heard enough.
I'm baffled as to why you appear to be taking my comments about Massachusetts personally.
Does the widespread acclamation and adulation of the Kennedys in Massachusetts tell us nothing about that state? Does Teddy's uninterrupted tenure in the Senate in spite of numerous scandals and his unashamed support for abortion prohibit one from drawing conclusions about a state which supposedly has a significant "Catholic" population?
Do you think that the voting record of Massachusetts and Rhode Island with respect to the Kennedys is something of which those states should be proud?
The Kennedys are who they are but the real villains are the idiots who persistently vote for them and provide them with a national stage. They're in Washington only because your fellow New Englanders think they're doing a great job.
Did you ever vote for Kennedy? Any of them?
Is there any intelligent life in the north east?
Was that a little too much hyperbole early in the morning?
Hyperbole aside, it seems like a perfectly reasonable question of an area of the country which is a) heavily Catholic, at least nominally and b) so obstinate in its determination to allow the Kennedys to wreak havoc.
I have nothing further to say to you.
Keep in mind, one and all, that Bishop Thomas J. Tobin's great virtue is that he's really a Catholic bishop.
And Rep. Patrick Kennedy's glaring failing is that he's not Catholic enough.
Is it actually necessary for me to say that I do realize that not everyone in New England loves the Kennedys, in spite of their overwhelming support there?
Do I have to add a disclaimer so that north-eastern FReepers don't get mad at me?
It highlights the inaction of the more high profile prelates in that part of the world.
I doubt if Cardinal Sean is enjoying Tobin's assertiveness.
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