Kennedy dispute reveals divide among Catholics over duties of politicians on abortion issue

A bitter dispute over abortion that prompted Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic bishop to ask Rep. Patrick Kennedy not to receive Holy Communion has revealed the depth of the divide among Catholics over how politicians should reconcile their faith with their public duties. Bishop Thomas Tobin on Sunday said he made the request because of the Democratic lawmaker’s support for abortion rights. The news prompted debate among Catholics around the country and within Rhode Island, the nation’s most Catholic state, about whether it was right for Tobin to publicly shame Kennedy for breaking with the church on what its leaders consider a paramount moral issue.