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Catholic Church Responds to Kennedy's Criticism

Bishop Tobin of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence has lashed back at Congressman Patrick Kennedy, who decried the church's opposition to any health care reform package that does not include an explicit ban on federal funding for abortion.

“Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s statement about the Catholic Church’s position on health care reform is irresponsible and ignorant of the facts. But the Congressman is correct in stating that 'he can’t understand.' He got that part right.

As I wrote to Congressman Kennedy and other members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation recently, the Bishops of the United States are indeed in favor of comprehensive health care reform and have been for many years. But 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. 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 more effective and morally responsible leadership for our state.”

As the statement suggests, this is not the first time Kennedy has tussled with the church - a sign, among other things, of how safe he feels in his seat. 

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