Posts Tagged “bishop tobin”

Roman Catholic bishops in the US have become more militant than ever, over the last several years. (My own guess is that this is a push-back campaign in the wake of the pedophilia scandal.) At any rate, they have become more strident, sanctimonious, and intolerant. The recent healthcare-reform debate has particularly aroused the bishops’ ire. But in the midst of their having dictated legislation to suit their whims, word comes that they have — for several years — been using their positions as spiritual leaders to attempt to control the country politically.

This revelation is a product of the tension between the Kennedy family and the Roman Catholic Church to which they belong. CNN reports on this most recent development:

Rhode Island’s top Roman Catholic leader has asked Rep. Patrick Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights, the diocese said Sunday.

In a statement issued Sunday, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin said he 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.”

The really sad part about this debacle is that Patrick’s uncle, John F. Kennedy, was the first Catholic elected president in the US, in part because he thoroughly disavowed that his Catholic allegiances would turn him into a puppet of the Pope (which had, during the 1960 campaign, been an accusation leveled at him by Protestants). In his famous “religion speech” that year, the eventual President Kennedy had said:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. …

I’m curious to know exactly how things have changed so much over the nearly 50 years since then. For the past few decades, Protestant ministers have been telling people whom to vote for; and now, the Catholic bishops have started delivering marching orders to their own members, including those in Congress.

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