It was hard to miss this from the AFP on Sunday on Patrick Kennedy’s continuing church issues:
Communion is a church ritual that involves the sharing of bread and wine meant to represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Patrick Kennedy is Catholic — or, at least, says he is, which is the issue. Catholics don’t believe it’s a representation. AFP doesn’t have to buy in. They just have to report accurately.
Kennedy’s bishop, BTW, has responded to the congressman’s comments over the weekend:
On February 21, 2007, I wrote to Congressman Kennedy stating: “In light of the Church’s clear teaching, and your consistent actions, therefore, I believe it is inappropriate for you to be receiving Holy Communion and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so.” My request came in light of the new statement of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that said, “If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definite teachings on moral issues, he or she would seriously diminish his or her communion with the Church. Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the Eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain.” (Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper, December, 2006)
In the same letter I wrote to Congressman Kennedy, “I am writing to you personally and confidentially as a pastor addressing a member of his flock . . . At the present time I have no need or intention to make this a public issue.” I also indicated, “I am available to discuss this matter with you in person at any mutually convenient time and place. I would welcome the opportunity to do so.”
On February 28, 2007, the Congressman responded to me, “I have the utmost respect for the work you do on behalf of the Catholic community in Rhode Island. . . I understand your pastoral advice was confidential in nature and given with the best intentions for my personal spiritual welfare.”
I am disappointed that the Congressman would make public my pastoral and confidential request of nearly three years ago that sought to provide solely for his spiritual well-being.
I have no desire to continue the discussion of Congressman Kennedy’s spiritual life in public. At the same time, I will absolutely respond publicly and strongly whenever he attacks the Catholic Church, misrepresents the teachings of the Church, or issues inaccurate statements about my pastoral ministry.