Bishop James Tobin of Rhode Island has slammed Congressman Patrick Kennedy after he revealed that Tobin has banned him from receiving communion because of his abortion stance and his criticism on the Catholic Church lobbying on the health care bill.

“I am disappointed that the Congressman would make public my pastoral and confidential request of nearly three years ago that sought to provide solely for his spiritual well-being,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin in a strongly worded statement on Sunday.

“I have no desire to continue the discussion of Congressman Kennedy’s spiritual life in public.

“At the same time, I will absolutely respond publicly and strongly whenever he attacks the Catholic Church, misrepresents the teachings of the Church or issues inaccurate statements about my pastoral

The public bitterness came yesterday after Kennedy, 42, told the Providence Journal newspaper that Tobin has barred him from receiving communion  “because of the positions that I’ve taken as a public

Kennedy has criticized the church over its insistence on anti-abortion provisions in the health care bill currently before Congress which Kennedy believes may endanger passage of the bill.

“I thought they were pro-life. If the Church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health-care reform because it’s going to provide health care that (is) going to keep people alive,” Kennedy told the Catholic News Service in October in an interview.

Tobin vowed to “continue to pray - sincerely and fervently - for his conversion and repentance, and for his personal and spiritual well-being.”