Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

December 7, 2009


Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island recently improperly chastised the Catholic Church for opposing health care legislation, which included abortion-funding provisions. Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence appropriately affirmed Catholic principles on abortion for opposing such legislation. But Mr. Kennedy, as a Catholic, may have erroneously accepted some pro-choice views as a matter of his conscience.

Bishop Tobin's role is to teach and persuade Mr. Kennedy and others. It is not his role to coerce Mr. Kennedy's conscience, however erroneous it may be, by denying him the faith-filled, prayerful, and spiritually rich experience of participating in Holy Communion.

Since their exchange of words, the House of Representatives passed a health bill with an amendment continuing the long-standing Federal policy of excluding abortion funding. It remains to be seen what the Senate will do with this highly charged issue and with the joint conference committee with the House.