RICHMOND (Christian Examiner) – The Catholic bishop of the Providence, R.I., diocese has issued a statement via social media which calls into question the social views of Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, the Democrat Party's vice presidential nominee.
Bishop Thomas Tobin wrote via Facebook that Kaine, who attends a Catholic Church, may not be a Catholic after all or, at least, is one who has failed to live out the church's positions on vitally important issues on the family and human sexuality.
"Democratic VP choice, Tim Kaine, has been widely identified as a Roman Catholic. It is also reported that he publicly supports 'freedom of choice' for abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, and the ordination of women as priests. All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well," Tobin wrote.
Tobin also criticized Kaine for claiming his faith was "central" to all that he does. The bishop disagreed, writing, "... apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn't central to his public, political life."
On the day prior, Bishop Francis DiLorenzo also issued a statement critical of Kaine's positions. Though he did not mention Kaine by name, his statement is widely regarded as intended to encourage Kaine and other Catholics to adopt the church's positions. DiLorenzo is bishop of the diocese of Richmond, Va., in Kaine's backyard.
The church, DiLorenzo wrote, "makes its position very clear as it pertains to the protection of human life, social justice initiatives, and the importance of family life. From the very beginning, Catholic teaching informs us that every human life is sacred from conception until natural death. The right to life is a fundamental, human right for the unborn and any law denying the unborn the right to life is unequivocally unjust."
- Abortion ruling demonstrates hypocrisy of high court: faith leaders
- Catholic Bishops in U.S. call Obama admin's 'guidance' on transgenderism 'deeply disturbing'
- Chinese cardinal: U.S. Supreme Court overthrew democratic process in gay marriage case
- U.S. Catholic leader: No matter decision, court cannot redefine marriage
- Controversy over homosexuality roiling San Francisco archdiocese
DiLorenzo also said the he and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Arlington, Va., diocese work together to make legislators and other government officials aware of Catholic teachings on these important issues. If those Catholics do not follow the church's teachings, then some discipline may be in order.
"It is the duty of all Catholics, no matter their profession, to decide through an upright and informed conscience as to their worthiness to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist," DiLorenzo said.
Withholding communion is not unheard of when a politician comes before a Catholic bishop.
In 2004, 48 Catholic members of Congress issued a stern response to a group of Catholic bishops who said they would withhold communion from politicians who favored abortion rights. In particular, the ban on the Eucharist was meant for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who was a pro-choice candidate for president at the time.
In September 2013, Cardinal Raymond Burke, who presides over the highest ecclesiastical court in the Vatican, ruled then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] should be denied communion because of her longstanding support for abortion rights. It is unclear if Pelosi has taken communion since.
In 2014, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone in San Francisco, Pelosi's home district, said Catholics "dissenting from a defined Church teaching" in "a serious way" should not be allowed to participate in the Eucharist.
Kaine's views on abortion are not outside of the norm in the Democrat Party. In a television interview last month, as the vice presidential selection was winding down, Kaine said he has his personal feelings about abortion but they do not affect how he governs.
He added that many states have tried to curtail abortion rights by "putting onerous regulations on clinics, health clinics where abortions are provided. We fought those off in Virginia when I was governor because you have to let people make their own moral judgments."
Kaine has also received the endorsement of the abortion mill, Planned Parenthood.
During her speech before the Democrat National Committee, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards praised Hillary Clinton's selection of Kaine as a running mate. She said Kaine was "a man who has been a champion for women and families his entire lifetime."