I find the concept of Hell hard to accept – God is all-merciful, after all – but if there is such a place, I believe Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin will go there. Unless, of course, he repents and changes his arrogant ways.
The incredibly self-important Rhode Island prelate (photo at right) has banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy from receiving Holy Communion because of the congressman’s support for abortion rights. “The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion,” Kennedy said in a newspaper interview on Friday.
Who does this bishop think he is?
Jesus did not give any individual or any religious group the right to determine who can share His blood and body. His decree was, as usual, simple and straightforward. Eat this bread, Jesus said at the Last Supper, in remembrance that my body was broken for thee. Drink this wine in remembrance that my blood was shed for thee. And be thankful.
In other words, when we get together to break bread and have a drink, we should remember the sacrifice He made to free us from eternal guilt. That’s what I think, anyway. And I don’t think He was referring to a special occasion. I think He meant us to picture Him hanging on the cross – for us! – every time we share a meal. But who am I to tell you what Jesus meant? It’s up to you to interpret His words for yourself.
And it’s certainly not up to some puffed up priest to get between Jesus and His flock. I understand there was a time when Christians were not allowed to read the word of God for themselves, that they were obliged to trust the interpretations of the Catholic Church. Those interpretations became so perverted, so corrupt that a monk named Martin Luther just couldn’t take it any more. And Protestantism was born.
Now we can read the Bible ourselves and determine for ourselves what path to follow if we hope for forgiveness in the after-life. And sometimes a word or two from an earnest, informed and humble pastor can help us find our way.
But banning politicians from Holy Communion because they support a right enshrined in the United States Constitution and affirmed by the nation’s Supreme Court?
I am not a lawyer but I think that kind of intrusion into the nation’s governance should be regarded as sedition because it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
And from a moral point of view…
What nerve! What arrogance! What blasphemy!