Follow-up: Bishop Tobin interviewed on Kennedy Case

BishopThomasTobinIn the video below, Bishop Thomas Tobin speaks well enough for himself on the decision to advise Congressman Patrick Kennedy not to receive Holy Communion. My remarks are thus brief. I want only to call your attention to a powerful reminder given by Bishop Tobin. About mid way through the interview he states simply but clearly that if a person’s career, job or position conflicts with their faith they should leave that career, job or position. In a world that esteems such things above almost anything else, this is an earth-shaking summons: faith is more important than any worldly blessing.  This insistence comports well with what Jesus says clearly in Scripture:

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Matt 6:24)

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matt 10:37-39)

Life in this world and faith are often in conflict and difficult choices are required of us. If Mr. Kennedy asserts (wrongly I think) that he cannot reconcile his faith in the matter of abortion to public policy, then he should choose his faith and leave the Congress. What is he first? A congressman or a Christian? It seems clear enough to me that he could remain a congressman if he simply refused to promote abortion rights and fund them. But since he (not the Church) says that as congressman he CANNOT vote pro-life, then Bishop Tobin, accepting the conflict that Kennedy insists he has, has invited him to choose.

Now the interview.

16 Replies to “Follow-up: Bishop Tobin interviewed on Kennedy Case”

  1. I am so happy to see Bishop Tobin stand up for what the Church teaches. As a Bishop he has a tremendous responsibility to shepherd the faithful even if it makes him unpopular in the public arena. What was meant to be private has become very popular since the Congressman (using his name and religious denomination as in the good ole’ days) has decided to keep things out in the fore front.

    The Church needs more Bishops to stand up for the Truth and not waffle behind their titles and the power that comes with it. Time to roll up your sleeves fellas and put away the cuff-links and say and teach the Truth!

  2. Thank you Bishop Tobin for clearly stating the teaching of the Church. Your faithfulness to Christ and His teachings will hold you in great stead with the only one who truly counts. All God’s blessings.

  3. Thank you Lord for Bishop Tobin. Your Excellency you are the kind of individual this country needs to help turn it around. We are so immorally wrong that the destruction of the United States is imminent. I say all good Catholics should stand straight and tall for our Lord and Savior. His teachings are all that we need to live peaceful lives, but if Satan interfers we need to become an army behind St. Michael. I saw the You Tube session of Hardball and I have one comment for the commentator; believe it or not Mr Matthews the law has already been written, it is #5 THOU SHALL NOT KILL. See if you can change that one. My oh my why does NBC have so many idiots on their staff??

  4. As a Lutheran even I know that “cafeteria Catholic” is an oxymoron. If Kennedy truly respected the Church, there would have been no need for Bishop Tobin to ask him to refrain from taking Communion. Kennedy’s conscious should have been enough to keep him in his pew while others were going forward to receive the Eucharist.

  5. I understand how the church and state issues lead to conflict. When I was younger I worker for a politician who ran on a Republican ticket, was a single Catholic female, and chose a pro-choice stand. I worked for her specifically because of her unorthodox views. At the time I firmly believed that the place of the legislature was not to legislate “moral” issues. An unborn fetus, I believed at the time, did not have rights superseding the mother’s. If one had religious objections, then those were personal choices, but not ones to be enforced legally.

    I am older now. I have had more personal losses with which to puts things in context. But yet I still find it difficult land fully in the pro-choice camp, for then I would be imposing my personal beliefs on others. I don’t know the answer for all, I just know the answer for me.

  6. The Bishop’s comportment throughout this exchange with Senator Kennedy has been an incredible example of unambiguous and uncompromising integrity and steadfastness to personal responsibility, and, a most worthy example for all members of the Body. Thank God for his example, and continue to protect him from those who would seek to destroy his witness.

  7. Bishop Tobin stays ‘on the mark’; Every Bishop needs to speak out and so forcefully on issues relating to maintaining one’s personal relationship with God in conjunction with their visibility as an American Catholic.

    A co-equal issue for example, is clearly opened in the press and from his pulpit by Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas. Bishop Taylor has and continues to make clear his many statements and policy for accept and supporting immigrants -both legal’ and otherwise. Read Bishop Taylor’s statements


    Rex King

  8. Thank you, Bishop Tobin, for speaking the Truth. All Christians today need to hear it clearly and publicly. As Catholics, we look to our Shepherds to help us grow in holiness as was called by Vatican II. For us to do that, we need to know what the Church teaches. So many of us don’t make an effort to do that. Those that do, like you, need to bring others to know the Truth about Christ and His Church. May Our Lord bless you always and may all of our Bishops continue to speak the Truth, even publicly when necessay.

  9. The weakness of many Catholics holding political office has often been to relegate the Church and its teachings to a secondary theme. Bishop Tobin has taken the high road while Senator Kennedy as well as past member of his family should be considered apostates. Why such a high profile funeral celebration for Ted Kennedy who held the same views and expressed them publically as Patrick has done and always will do. Is it a fear of loosing their money? If so, we as the Church are just as guilty!!

  10. When slavery was still legal in the United States, many Americans thought that the issue was morally neutral if not a “positive good.” However, when abolitionists started to publish drawings and photographs of actual slaves and the punishment they received at the hands of their masters, many began to clamor for change and the end of that institution.

    At the website for Priests For Life their are pictures of aborted children. Be warned, they are not for the faint of heart. However, after viewing these, one cannot think of abortion merely in terms of “embryo,” “fetus,” or my favorite, “tissue.”

    Bishop Tobin is to be commended because he is trying to make Rep. Kennedy understand that his support of policies, even though legal, have very real consequences for an actual living human being, a person; exactly like slaves in America’s past were not beasts of burden but human beings, persons. Thank Almighty God that Bishop Tobin is a faithful shepherd to the people of Rhode Island. Pray for Rep. Kennedy that he will come to the understanding that social justice must include the most vulnerable people among us, the unborn.

    1. One of the most sickening accounts I’ve read was a by blow of someone describing an abortion via sonogram. It sickened me and completely solified my beliefs for all time that abortion is pure evil.

  11. Wow. Bishop Tobin gave a TV interview and took a public stand for our Lord!

    Let us pray that somebody in Rhode Island is reaching out privately to our brother Patrick Kennedy. We Catholics are in the business of reconciliation – Ambassadors for Christ – 2Cor5:20.

  12. I have spent most of my adult (and all my teenage) life as an active Catholic pro-lifer. During the past two years I have been on a slow and hopefully thoughtful discernment. Because of people like Bishop Tobin, Archbishop Burke and others I am reconsidering if I can remain active in the Right to Life Movement. Some have called for the Right to Life Movement to be “smaller and more orthodox.” I am increasingly moving in the direction of accomodating their desire by leaving.

    1. Yes, well I think we have well discussed that there are lots of arguable disputes among Catholics, even among Bishops as to strategies and how best to deal pastorally with situations and individuals. THere are some interesting parallels with similar debates back during the Civil Rights movement too. Back at the very beginning Vernon Johns tried to stir passions among his Black congregation in Birmingham as to the racism there but many inidicated that a confrontational approach was not the way to go, racism a kind of gradualism or small victories was a batter strategy. Dr. Martin Luther King also had criticis in regard to his strong stand. In his Letter From a Birmingham Jail he answers those who counsel a quiter behind the scenes approach rather forcefully. However, he too had limits and would not go the path of Malcom X and others, some of who were unwilling to take the pledge of nonviolence. The movie the “Vernon Johns Story” depicts very well the debates among African Americans about how best to confront racism. I excerpted a scene from that movie in a blog post here some months ago: Anyway Kurt, the debate continues. As you can see from the comments here there are many who support Bishop Tobin’s approach and think it long overdue. Others such as yourself are deeply concerned that something has gone wrong.

  13. “Anyway Kurt, the debate continues.”

    I hope so. But there are times when I feel some of us are being chased out of the pro-life movement with a stick, not because we have any differences in what we believe about the human dignity of the unborn, but because of what we believe about the human dignity of those of the born who may not yet understand the need for certain legislative policy initiatives we believe will protect the unborn.

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