When Bishop Tobin mentioned the word "scandal" below, it should have been a hint of what was coming. You can't have a dogmatic head of a diocese mention public scandal without an appropriate public remedy.
As I mentioned, the Catholic Church in America has turned a corner. The stakes have been raised. Patrick Kennedy's office vs. his soul.
"Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy from receiving Communion, the central sacrament of the church, in Rhode Island because of the congressman's support for abortion rights, Kennedy said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.
The decision by the outspoken prelate, reported on The Providence Journal's Web site, significantly escalates a bitter dispute between Tobin, an ultra orthodox bishop, and Kennedy, a son of the nation's most famous Roman Catholic family.
"The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion," Kennedy told the paper in an interview conducted Friday.
Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him "that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I've taken as a public official," particularly on abortion."
All weary pro-lifers should write Bishop Tobin a letter of support for this decision. There are many Catholic politicians who have been destructive towards human life for far too long who are cringing this morning with this story.