After Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy was quoted yesterday
as saying that the US bishops' recent threat
to oppose non abortion-neutral health-care reform
legislation "does [no]thing but to fan the flames of dissent and discord" and termed the prelates' focus on abortion funding "an absolute red herring," the eight-term Democrat got quite the retort
from the Ocean State's Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, who issued the following statement earlier this afternoon:
“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.-30-
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.”