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November 23, 2009

Bishop to Rep Patrick Kennedy (D-RI): You're no Catholic

Topics: Faith, Political News and commentaries

Well, maybe not exactly those words, but in essence, that's what the Bishop's letter to Kennedy says. And as CNN reported Sunday, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin told Kennedy in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, "and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so."

It's hard to disagree with the Bishop; after all, as the Bishop said in his letter to Kennedy:

[...] 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.

[...] 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?

Ergo, Patrick Kennedy, you're money and family name doesn't make you a Catholic. And supporting the killing of the unborn and failing to accept the teachings of the Church means you flunk the test.

Related: Patrick Kennedy Publicly Takes on His Church, Once Again

Posted by Richard at November 23, 2009 6:27 AM



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