Changes in Catholic Church?
Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy is not the only Roman Catholic in the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, who is Pro-Choice and receives communion. Nor is he the only congregant of the Roman Catholic Church who is Pro-Choice and receives communion. But what better way for Bis - hop Thomas Tobin to garner himself glaring headlines in every newspaper in the country, than to pick a public fight with a well respected member of America's most public family and to do so, so shortly after the passing of the family's powerful patriarch, Sen - ator Edward M. Kennedy and at a time when the congressman is dealing with his own personal circumstan ces. It is nothing more than a cheap play. For Bishop Tobin to use such an un-Christian way of tactics, sets a poor example for his congregation, as well as the Catholic Church as a whole.
I have over 12 years of Catholic sch - ool education and was taught to be - lieve that the teachings of Jesus Christ were about love, brotherhood, and inclusion, not dividedness and ex - clusion. Look how far we have come. In a relatively short time, the church has gone from the open door policy of Vatican II during the Pope John XXIII to "You will do as I say and you will like it." The results of this fundamentalist type regression are obvious: membership of the Cath olic Church has declined, joining the priesthood is dropping drastically, and the Church is closing parishes and schools in in - creasing numbers (one need only to look right here in Rockaway and the closing of Stella Maris). What comes next? Must good and decent Catholics be branded as Pro-Choice or Pro-Life before they can recognize the sacraments?
The abortion issue is one which I am sure every Catholic including Con gressman Kennedy, has wrestled deeply with. One women's decision on the issue is clearly a matter of personal conscience and one which will have to be answered before our only judge - God. Shouldn't the council's role here as well as that of Bishop Tobin, be one of guidance and prayer, rather than that of spectacles and condemnation? I am not seeing the love and brotherhood of Jesus Christ here at all. What I am seeing is a brazen pol - itical play for elevation to occur.
Bishop Tobin, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
RICHARD J. VENEZIANO