Apparently Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin does not know the meaning of Separation of Church and State, because, in a story that just came to light, in 2007 he asked Congressman Patrick Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights.
Yes, because Kennedy followed the law, the bishop is playing hardball with the wafers and wine.
Tobin says he told Kennedy back in February 2007 that it would be "inappropriate" for him to continue receiving the fundamental Catholic sacrament, "and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so."
Now, by ask respectfully, Tobin meant he would bar Kennedy from receiving communion and instruct other priests in the diocese not to administer the sacrament "because of the positions that [Kennedy has] taken as a public official."
Now, Tobin is playing the victim, whining over the fact that Kennedy is choosing to discuss Tobin's nearly three-year-old request: "I am disappointed that the congressman would make public my request of nearly three years ago that sought to provide solely for his spiritual well-being."
This is a new tactic by the Catholic Church: communion as a weapon against those Catholics who might be what I like to call "Free Thinkers," those Catholics who understand that the world has changed and that the church is lagging far behind.
So, what next then, in the God War? Tobin's move has spurred other priests and bishops who threaten pro-choice and pro-gay politicians from partaking in one of the Church's most important sacraments.
This might sound especially cruel, but let us not forget that this is the same church that hid pedophiles within its ranks, that sought to pay off victims of molestation, and that just this last month, threatened to withhold services to the homeless community and the poor in Washington DC if marriage equality becomes law there.
Why this sudden activity in withholding services and communion for anyone with a political opinion that the church doesn't like? Is it the fact the the number of Catholics is falling? More and more people are leaving the church over its refusal to join the rest of the world in the 21st century. Maybe it's because the church has spent billions--with a B--on child molestation suits and they need the cash, so they use threats to get their way.
No communion if you favor reproductive rights.
They punish an entire group of people because they don't like marriage equality.
Well, if that's the Catholic way of thinking, they can have it. In my mind,m God is love, and the Catholic church doesn't know a damned thing about it.