Maybe Mike Potemra or somebody can clear this up for me: Am I misreading, or did Patrick Kennedy just receive the most polite excommunication in recent memory? From the Providence Journal:
In a letter to Kennedy posted Monday on the Web site of the Diocese of Providence’s weekly newspaper, [Bishop Thomas Tobin] disputes Kennedy’s assertion that his disagreement with the hierarchy “on some issues” including abortion did not make him any less of a Catholic.
“Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does,” the bishop said in a letter issued just two days after Kennedy was among a group of minority lawmakers who attempted to block tough new restrictions on abortion that were added Saturday to the House’s health-care reform legislation.
“Although I wouldn’t chose 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 communion,” the bishop declared.
And, in case Kennedy is not getting the hint, His Excellency adds:
“Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category [than recurrant common sins] — it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will, a conscious decision that you’ve reaffirmed on many occasions.
“Sorry, you can’t 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….
… 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. It’s not too late 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.”
The two had scheduled an emergency meeting over abortion provisions in the health-care bill, but, now that the bishops’ abortion concerns have been addressed, they’re taking it slow.
By way of comparison, Pelosi got off easy.