PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island - Rep. Patrick Kennedy revealed Sunday that he is "not going to miss Communion at all," and is in fact relieved at the statement issued Sunday by the diocese, Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin, asking Kennedy to stop taking Communion over his support for abortion rights.
The bishop said he told Kennedy that it would be "inappropriate" for him to continue receiving the Catholic sacrament, "and I now ask respectfully that you refrain from doing so."
"No problem," said the son of the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and a member of what has been, since John F. Kennedy, the most prominent Catholic family in modern U.S. politics.
The Roman Catholic Church strongly opposes abortion; Kennedy had previously opposed a provision restricting the use of federal money for abortions, but eventually voted in favor of a final version of the bill which included that language.
In an interview published Sunday, Kennedy told the Providence Journal he was "relieved" that Tobin had barred him from receiving Communion and instructed priests not to administer the sacrament because of "positions that I've taken as a public official."
In his statement, Kennedy said transubstantiation has always seemed "a little creepy to me."
"Don't get me wrong," he said. "I like grape juice and those little communion wafers. But, considering the social stigmas attached to cannibalism, I've never understood why anyone would want to drink Christ's blood and eat His flesh. I mean, if you really believe the Eucharist transforms wine and bread into blood and flesh, wouldn't that make me a little bit like Jeffrey Dahmer?"
He shuddered as a chill ran up the back of his neck, raising goose bumps. "I can't explain it. I guess it's just a personal quirk."
Tobin confirmed Sunday that he and the rest of his flock will continue to dine on the body and blood of Christ as usual.
This exchange comes on the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Patrick Kennedy's uncle, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a man whose ultimate sacrifice was great, though his flesh and blood were widely regarded as unfit for human consumption.