Joining the response to U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy’s charge that the Catholic bishops are spreading discord on health care reform, Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan has said the congressman’s remarks were “sad, uncalled-for, and inaccurate” and has asked for an apology.
In an interview with CNSNews.com, Rep. Kennedy (D-RI), son of the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, had accused the Catholic Church of fanning “the flames of dissent and discord” because Catholic bishops declared that they will oppose the proposed health care reform unless it explicitly prohibits funding of abortion.
Archbishop Dolan commented on Rep. Kennedy’s remarks in an Oct. 26 blog post on the Archdiocese of New York’s website.
“The Catholic community in the United States hardly needs to be lectured to about just healthcare. We’ve been energetically into it for centuries. And we bishops have been advocating for universal healthcare for a long, long time.
“All we ask is that it be just that -- universal -- meaning that it includes the helpless baby in the womb, the immigrant, and grandma in a hospice, and that it protects a healthcare provider’s right to follow his/her own conscience.
“This is what the President says he wants; this is what we bishops say we want,” he continued.
The archbishop said that Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin, Rep. Kennedy’s bishop, had a “good point” in saying that the Congressman owes an apology to the Catholic Church.
Bishop Tobin also called Kennedy a “disappointment to the Catholic Church” and criticized his remarks as “irresponsible.”