In strong rhetoric, US Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island and Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Providence Diocese have exchanged nasty comments over abortion and proposals for a health care overhaul . . .
This follows the White House calling Catholic bishops ignorant on abortion funding legislation.
-- From "Kennedy spars with church on abortion" by Milton J. Valencia, Boston Globe Staff 10/24/09
In a statement released yesterday, Tobin lashed out at Kennedy, a son of one of the nation’s most prominent Catholic families, for incendiary remarks the congressman made in an interview about abortion.
Kennedy, speaking in support of a public option for a proposed universal health care plan, told Catholic News Service in an article posted Thursday that he found it perplexing that the church would oppose the health insurance plan.
Tobin had outlined his concerns in a Sept. 21 letter he sent to the Rhode Island congressional delegation, saying he could not support any legislation "that diminishes human dignity or threatens the right to life."
Yesterday, he was more direct, saying that Kennedy’s comments were "irresponsible and ignorant of the facts."
The bishop explained the church’s stance, saying that while the church supports health care overhaul, "we are adamantly opposed to health care legislation that threatens the life of unborn children, requires taxpayers to pay for abortion, rations health care, or compromises the conscience of individuals.
"Congressman Kennedy continues to be a disappointment to the Catholic Church and to the citizens of the state of Rhode Island," the bishop said. "I believe the congressman owes us an apology for his irresponsible comments. It is my fervent hope and prayer that he will find a way to provide morally responsible leadership for our state."
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