Get Committed

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 the bishop’s flock in 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.

Angel Madera, 20, a Marine visiting his home in Providence for Thanksgiving, said before attending Sunday evening Mass that Tobin was wrong to assail Kennedy’s faith.

"If they believe they’re a true Catholic, who’s to say that they’re not?" he said. From

Well, Angel, God determines who is a Christian and who is not. Since God has proclaimed His human creations to be very good and He participated in the creation of that life from its first moment in the womb I imagine He gets to make the final determination.

The problem here is not the postmodern-no-fixed-point-of-truth philosophy but that we in the Church often fail to take a stand on matters of holiness. Whether Catholic or Protestant, there should be a unanimity of thought and practice regarding abortion; it simply cannot be condoned by any true Christian. Those within the Church who feel that they can sidestep this issue while keeping the others has placed one foot on ice in your Sunday shoes. Valuing life begins at the second that it becomes so.

In Evangelical pastoral circles, the Bishop’s firm stand should cause us to consider how tolerant we have become of other sin within our churches. We should ask ourselves how much the prevailing culture has wormed its way into our churches and made tolerance our driving principle rather than holiness. Confronting sin has gotten a bad rap as we fear being caricatured as foaming at the mouth Fundamentalists. We’re afraid to call sin sin and teach and preach holiness. We’re afraid to take a stand.

Whether you believe Catholic theology or not, you should respect the Bishop’s stand when it comes to profaning the elements of God and what they stand for. There is always a gnawing fear in the back of the pastor’s mind that the congregation will turn on him if he brings holiness to the altar and asks those who truly believe to kneel and allows others to step away. The greater fear should be judgment morning when he is asked why he didn’t care for the flock entrusted to him.