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Bishop Tobin Extends Invitation to Congressman Kennedy, Kennedy Accepts

In an admirable move, Bishop Tobin of the Diocese of Providence sent a letter to Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) extending an invitation to discuss the Catholic church’s longtime support of health care reform. This latest pastoral effort is in response to an interview with CNS in which Kennedy castigated the US bishops for withholding support of health care legislation, thus not being “pro-life”. Bishop Tobin responded to that interview with a sharp statement asking for an apology. Newly reported, Kennedy has accepted the invitation for a yet to be scheduled meeting. Bishop Tobin’s letter:

Congressman Patrick Kennedy
249 Roosevelt Ave
Pawtucket, RI 02860-2134

Dear Congressman Kennedy:

In the interview you gave last week with Cybercast News Service, you are quoted as stating: “I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person – that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured.”

For many years, the Catholic Church has been clear and consistent in its support of comprehensive health care reform; support that continues to this day. As Congress nears agreement on a final bill, I believe it is important that you are provided with specific facts about the Catholic Church’s position on this critical issue.

In light of your comments, I would like to extend an invitation to you to discuss the Catholic Church’s longtime support of comprehensive health care legislation and measures that protect and defend life. Please contact my office at your earliest convenience so that we can schedule a meeting to discuss this important matter that affects all Rhode Islanders, regardless of their religious beliefs.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Providence

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