I was surprised and disappointed by Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s recent intolerant remarks directed toward the Catholic Church and the more than 600,000 Rhode Islanders who identify themselves as Catholics.
Even if you don’t agree with the church’s position on abortion, the Congressman clearly does not, why insult the outstanding work done by the Catholic Church in America? Apparently, the reason for his latest outburst is that the church opposes the use of federal funds for abortions – a reasonable position supported by the majority of Rhode Islanders and Americans.
Although I am a devoted and practicing Lutheran (a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church ELCA, Newport) I admire and respect the work done by the Catholic Church on healthcare.
The fact is, the Catholic Church is doing more for healthcare and social services than any non-governmental agency in America. Each year, one in six patients in the United States is skillfully and compassionately cared for in a Catholic hospital, and Catholic health care facilities provide a wide range of community benefits to assist individuals and families. There are more than 620 Catholic hospitals in the US and together they account for more than 5.5 million admissions. Catholic hospitals lead the way in the treatment of those suffering from addiction related and substance abuse problems. Often, Catholic health care providers are the “safety net” to thousands of patients in the communities they serve who cannot afford health care coverage.
To say that Catholic bishops are hypocritical to call themselves pro life because they do not support public funding for abortion in health care reform is perhaps the biggest ‘red-herring’ (his words) of all.
I consider myself pro-life and am proud to share that view with the Catholic Church.
Further, I believe that responsive representation at the federal level should begin with an understanding and tolerance for the viewpoints of all your constituents.
Even when points of view differ, it is my belief that respect and tolerance for those views helps public discourse. The one thing I can guarantee is that even when I disagree with the Catholic Church I will always do so with tolerance and respect.”
JOHN J. LOUGHLIN
John J. Loughlin II is a State Representative from Tiverton. Portsmouth and Little Compton and is the Republican candidate for Congress in Rhode Island’s First Congressional District.