Upping The Ante: Catholic Bishop Bans Rep. Patrick Kennedy From Communion

You know, the Catholic Church certainly gets to enforce whatever rules they make - but this wouldn't bother me so much if they were consistent. Afte

You know, the Catholic Church certainly gets to enforce whatever rules they make - but this wouldn't bother me so much if they were consistent. After all, when was the last time a bishop singled out someone for supporting what the Church itself labeled an "unjust war" or for voting in support of the death penalty?

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - 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.

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