Bishop Tobin to Congressman Patrick Kennedy: ´What does it mean to be a Catholic?´
Your rejection of the Church´s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it´s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you´ve re-affirmed on many occasions.
(Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Uncle Teddy)
We bring to our readers the full text of a letter which Congressman Kennedy received from his Bishop, Thomas J. Tobin. This letter was in response to Kennedy's public defiance against the truth revealed in the Natural Law, confirmed by science, affirmed in Scripture and the Tradition and taught infallibly by the Magisterium (teaching office) of the Catholic Church concerning the fundamental Human Right to Life. This matter recently surfaced when Kennedy publicly contended with the Church over the US Bishops´ heroic insistence that the proposed "Health Care Reform" which recently cleared the House not provide funding for abortion.
It passed only after the Pro-Life Amendment named after a Catholic Democrat, Bart Stupak, corrected the lethal nature of its impact on our youngest neighbors in the womb.(Editor's note:Sadly, the amendment never made it into the Senate Bill and the legislation passed without it) Kennedy and other Catholics such as Speaker Pelosi had simply lied when they said the legislation, prior to this essential Amendment, would not have had the effect of funding the killing of children in the womb with our tax dollars.
As Catholics called to stand in solidarity with all the poor, including those whom Mother Teresa called the "poorest of the poor", our youngest neighbors, we have had to contend with the lies of these Catholics for far too long. Patrick Kennedy is only one of too many. Kennedy told reporters on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 that he had postponed the meeting with his Bishop. He indicated he found it "very disconcerting" that Bishop Tobin will not keep the content of their discussion "private". This is, of course, one of the great subterfuges used by Catholics like Congressman Kennedy and others who openly defy the Church, cause scandal and confuse many in their perfidy.
What is different in this instance is the clear, courageous and commendable response of his Bishop, Thomas J. Tobin. He is using this as an opportunity to not only assist the Congressman by exposing his dangerous error and thereby assisting him to embrace the truth, but he is using it as an opportunity to stop this subterfuge before it continues to lead others astray. He published his letter to the Congressman in the "Rhode Island Catholic" in his regular column entitled "Without a Doubt" which can be found on the website of the "Rhode Island Catholic" at http://www.thericatholic.com/opinion/detail.html?sub_id=2632 (Editors Update: the Congressman has announced he will not seek reelection)
Dear Congressman Kennedy
BY BISHOP THOMAS J. TOBIN
Since our recent correspondence has been rather public, I hope you don´t mind if I share a few reflections about your practice of the faith in this public forum. I usually wouldn´t do that – that is speak about someone´s faith in a public setting – but in our well-documented exchange of letters about health care and abortion, it has emerged as an issue. I also share these words publicly with the thought that they might be instructive to other Catholics, including those in prominent positions of leadership.
For the moment I´d like to set aside the discussion of health care reform, as important and relevant as it is, and focus on one statement contained in your letter of October 29, 2009, in which you write, "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 it´s true. And it raises an important question: What does it mean to be a Catholic?
"The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic."
Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn´t choose those particular words, 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 ...
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