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Kennedy Denied Communion

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1 Kennedy Denied Communion on Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:54 pm

Mikey

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Minnow
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Kennedy Denied Communion

Here's a brief snippet from the article:

"EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Roman Catholic bishop of Rhode Island says he asked Rep. Patrick Kennedy to stop receiving Holy Communion in 2007 because of the lawmaker's stand on what he called moral issues.

Kennedy told The Providence Journal in a story published Sunday that Bishop Thomas Tobin "instructed" him not to receive Communion because of his abortion rights stance. Kennedy said diocesan priests have been told not to give him Communion, but he did not explain how he knew that."


I'm not Catholic. Can someone explain from a theological standpoint what being denied communion means as it pertains to Kennedy?

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2 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:07 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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There is a discussion of this topic on this forum that you might find interesting and answer your question.

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=397348


We believe that life is created by God and all life is sacred from the moment of conception until natural death. Those who go against these teachings of the church are in a state of sin and therefore should not recieve communion. We believe in The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Excerpt from the link below:
"Two of St. Paul's phrases, from 1 Corinthians 11 and 10, are specially worth noting:

"Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord"; and "We, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread"- a reminder that the Eucharist is not only for each man's soul but for the unity of the Mystical Body.""

http://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/eucha3.htm


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3 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:22 pm

Esther


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So I'm assuming that taking communion is supposed to be done with a pure heart and allowing abortion is viewed as a sin by the Catholic Church, it would be an obvious public sin for Kennedy. The priest can "punish" him by denying communion.


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4 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:22 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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The priest can "punish" him by denying communion.

I think "punish" is the word that Kennedy used. I don't think it is the Bishop's intention is to punish him. This came from the article I read on the subject.

"Tobin urged Kennedy not to receive communion in a February 2007 letter, a portion of which was released publicly by Tobin's office Sunday.

"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," Tobin wrote.


http://news.aol.com/article/patrick-kennedy-denied-communion-from/765365?icid=main|


I wonder what Kennedy's motive is to reveal this now since the letter was written almost 3 years ago. Hmmmm.....


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5 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Sun Nov 22, 2009 5:26 pm

Mikey

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I wonder what Kennedy's motive is to reveal this now since the letter was written almost 3 years ago. Hmmmm.....
Scheer speculation here but I think it relates to the liberals wanting abortion to be covered in Obama Care.

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6 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:43 am

bullfrog

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Not wanting to step on any toes here, but I'd be willing to bet that over half of the women sitting in that church personally support abortion and a woman's right to choose even though they would never admit it in church. If so, then they too are in a perpetual state of sin as we all are. The difference to me is that he has the power to introduce legislation against it instead of supporting it.

I attended a catholic church for several years and was even an alter boy at one point. The priest holds up the Eucharist and says "Body of Christ." to which the members reply "Amen." He does this three times. I was told that the bread actually becomes the body of Christ and to my juvenile mind was afraid to take it the first time because I thought it would actually become flesh.

My non denominational minister explained that Christ said "Do this in remembrance of me." when he broke the bread because we will all break bread every day. To remember him before we eat, every time.


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7 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:35 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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I am not a person who enjoys debate so I hope this thread doesn't turn from the question Mikey asked into one that starts to question the Catholic church's core doctrines. In order to answer Mikey's question and I thought for people to understand why the Bishop told Kennedy that it was not appropriate for him to receive communion was to explain why it was such a big deal for him to recieve communion and publicly support abortion which the church sees as murder. There are many verses in the Bible that support the Catholic doctrine that The Eucharest is the body and blood of Jesus.

In John’s gospel, Jesus summarized the reasons for receiving Communion when he said:

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever" (John 6:53–58).

"As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me" (John 6:57). The Greek word used for "eats" (trogon) is very blunt and has the sense of "chewing" or "gnawing." This is not the language of metaphor.

At the Last Supper, Jesus held what appeared to be bread and wine, yet said: "This is my body. . . . This is my blood" (Mark 14:22-24, cf. Luke 22:14-20). If Christ were merely present along side bread and wine, he would have said "This contains my body. . . . This contains my blood," which he did not say.

There are many more verses, but my purpose in posting this is not to debate the issue, but to demonstrate a few examples why the Church teaches this. Therefore if you are truly receiving the body and blood of Jesus you must be in a state of grace.

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Cor. 11:27–28).

"For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself" (1 Cor. 11:29)

Early Christian's also shared these beliefs.

I'm not trying to prove a point or to convince anyone of my beliefs, and I hope this will not turn into a debate about whether or not you believe in the Catholic doctrine. I am just trying to illustrate that this is our core doctrine and why it is such a serious matter that the Bishop requested (in a private letter) that Kennedy refrain. If a person chooses to take communion while in a state of mortal or serious sin, it is a matter between them and God and the Priest will not deny anyone. It was also clarified on Fox & Friends yesterday morning that the Bishop said that he did write Kennedy a personal letter asking him to refrain from communion but he did not instruct Priests not to give it to him. This is a claim made by Kennedy and I think this all has to do with abortion being included in the health care bill.

Bullfrog, I could not guess what percentage of Catholics believe that abortion is murder and what percentage don't.

I think if you poll those who are "in the pews" you would not be anywhere near 50%. Also it is not a view point only held by Catholics. There are many Christians as well as those of other faiths who believe that abortion is wrong.

I also think that your recolation of the Eucharistic paryer is not correct. I'm assuming your days as an altar boy were many years ago. There are 4 Eucharastic prayers that the Priest can choose from but the verbage is almost identical:

"On the night he was betrayed, he took bread and gave you thanks and praise. He broke the bread, gave it to his diciples and said: "Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you. When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his diciples, and he said: "Take this, all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenent. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me."

The people are silent during this time and do not respond "amen" nor is this done three times.

Before giving each individual communion the priest will say "Body (or blood) of Christ" to which each individual will respond "Amen". You can go anywhere in the world and it will be the same in any Catholic church down to which readings from the bible and psalms are read each day.

Also I have no doubt that a non demoninational minister told you "Christ said "Do this in remembrance of me." when he broke the bread because we will all break bread every day. To remember him before we eat, every time." I would have asked him why Christ didn't simply say that and what Christ meant when He said "This is my body. This is my blood" You could probably ask 50 different ministers and get 50 different interpretations of what they think Christ meant. A non demoninational minister does not believe that the Eucharest is the body and blood of Christ so of course he would have a different interpretation.

Again, I am not trying to convince anyone of my beliefs but when I see inaccuracies I like to respond to them. I hope that I was also able to clarify Catholic beliefs and why we believe them and why it is such a big deal to the Bishop that Kennedy pubically rejects church teaching while he also publically professes his Catholic faith.


This is why the Bishop wrote him a private letter in Feb., 2007 "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". Kennedy publically said on Oct 29, 2009 (I believe) that he was "being denied communion" and "that the Bishop instructed priests not to give him communion."


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8 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:43 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin addressed this letter to U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy over his “rejection” of church teaching on abortion, calling on him to enter into a process of conversion and repentance. The letter was posted November 9, 2009, on the Web site of the Diocese of Providence’s weekly newspaper, the bishop disputes Kennedy’s assertion that his disagreement with the hierarchy “on some issues” including abortion did not make him any less of a Catholic.

Dear Congressman Kennedy:

"The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic." (Congressman Patrick Kennedy)

Since our recent correspondence has been rather public, I hope you don’t mind if I share a few reflections about your practice of the faith in this public forum. I usually wouldn’t do that – that is speak about someone’s faith in a public setting – but in our well-documented exchange of letters about health care and abortion, it has emerged as an issue. I also share these words publicly with the thought that they might be instructive to other Catholics, including those in prominent positions of leadership.

For the moment I’d like to set aside the discussion of health care reform, as important and relevant as it is, and focus on one statement contained in your letter of October 29, 2009, in which you write, “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” That sentence certainly caught my attention and deserves a public response, lest it go unchallenged and lead others to believe it’s true. And it raises an important question: What does it mean to be a Catholic?

“The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.” Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn’t choose 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, their unity with the Church. This principle is based on the Sacred Scripture and Tradition of the Church and is made more explicit in recent documents.

For example, the “Code of Canon Law” says, “Lay persons are bound by an obligation and possess the right to acquire a knowledge of Christian doctrine adapted to their capacity and condition so that they can live in accord with that doctrine.” (Canon 229, #1)

The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” says this: “Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles, ‘He who hears you, hears me,’ the faithful receive with docility the teaching and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.” (#87)

Or consider this statement of the Church: “It would be a mistake to confuse the proper autonomy exercised by Catholics in political life with the claim of a principle that prescinds from the moral and social teaching of the Church.” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2002)

There’s lots of canonical and theological verbiage there, Congressman, but what it means is that if you don’t accept the teachings of the Church your communion with the Church is flawed, or in your own words, makes you “less of a Catholic.”

But let’s get down to a more practical question; let’s approach it this way: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?

Well, in simple terms – and here I refer only to those more visible, structural elements of Church membership – being a Catholic means that you’re part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.

Congressman, I’m not sure whether or not you fulfill the basic requirements of being a Catholic, so let me ask: Do you accept the teachings of the Church on essential matters of faith and morals, including our stance on abortion? Do you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish? Do you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly? Do you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially?

In your letter you say that you “embrace your faith.” Terrific. But if you don’t fulfill the basic requirements of membership, what is it exactly that makes you a Catholic? Your baptism as an infant? Your family ties? Your cultural heritage?

Your letter also says that your faith “acknowledges the existence of an imperfect humanity.” Absolutely true. But in confronting your rejection of the Church’s teaching, we’re not dealing just with “an imperfect humanity” – as we do when we wrestle with sins such as anger, pride, greed, impurity or dishonesty. We all struggle with those things, and often fail.

Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed 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.

Congressman Kennedy, I write these words not to embarrass you or to judge the state of your conscience or soul. That’s ultimately between you and God. But 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 for you 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. And if I can ever be of assistance as you travel the road of faith, I would be honored and happy to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas J. Tobin

Bishop of Providence

http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=9180


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9 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:22 pm

Mikey

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Fishlips: Thanks for your response. In the Bishop's letter to Kennedy I didn't see anything that addressed the issue of salvation unless the Bishop was addressing that when he wrote of membership in the Catholic Church. Thus my next question. If Kennedy is unrepentant relative to his views on abortion and thereby he is denied communion, what does this mean should he die in this state? In other words does he go to hell?

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10 Re: Kennedy Denied Communion on Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:03 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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Mikey, I still don't understand Kennedy's claim that he was "denied communion". If the Bishop wrote in a private letter :
"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" It is not known if Kennedy refrained from going to communion or not. The Bisop has also denied Kennedy's alligations that he instructed the priests from giving him communion.

Kennedy is bringing all this up for political reasons related to the Democrat health care bill and how abortion fits into it.

In response to your question... I don't know. It is not for me or any of us to judge, only God, and I trust in His mercy,

Mikey, try those links that I posted earlier. They have forums and the people there have an interest in debating these things. All are welcome as long as they are respectful of others. If you don't like those sites I'm sure you can find others by googleing.


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