The sophistry employed by Catholic politicians is nothing short of astonishing at times. When asked to respond to the Catholic Bishops' letter to Congress withholding support from any health care legislation funding abortion, Representative Kennedy, a Providence College alumnus, went on the attack.
Here is a transcript of the exchange between Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D.-R.I.) and CNSNews.com:Rep. Kennedy accused the bishops of fanning flames of dissent and of not being pro-life? A red herring is a deliberate attempt to change the subject or divert attention or an argument. It is evident to me that the red herring is Kennedy's attempt to divert attention from the fact that current legislation will fund abortion...the biggest social injustice of our time where the very dignity of the human person is not being respected. How does a health care bill which allows tax payer funded abortion provide health care that is going to keep people alive?
Nicholas Ballasy: "There’s a letter written by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to Congress saying that they believe all of the health care proposals right now – the one in the House and the ones in the Senate – they all fund abortion as it stands and unless there’s an amendment or a change to those bills that specifically prohibits it, they’re not going to support it. Do you agree with them or is there something – "
Patrick Kennedy: "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. You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life saving health care? I thought they were pro-life. If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it’s going to provide health care that are going to keep people alive. So this is an absolute red herring and I don’t think that it does anything but to fan the flames of dissent and discord and I don’t think it’s productive at all."
Statement of Bishop Tobin in Response to Congressman Kennedy’s Attack on Catholic Church
(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)-The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, today issued the following statement in response to a Cybercast News Service article that reported:
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I) told CNSNews.com that the Catholic Church is doing nothing but fanning “the flames of dissent and discord” by taking the position that it will oppose the health-care reform bill under consideration in Congress unless it is amended to explicitly prohibit funding of 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.