Kathryn Jean Lopez has this piece discussing the Tobin-Kennedy debate. She says mainly what everyone else has been saying: this could be a great moment for Patrick Kennedy if he was willing to submit his political talents to the truth and pursue a courageous, pro-life platform.
Given the waning influence of the Kennedy dynasty, I think there is an opportunity beyond Patrick Kennedy and his political career. Bishop Tobin has a national audience and a chance to catechize the nation about what it means to be a Catholic, and the consequences of saying you believe one thing and living as if you did not. Tobin may also have the opportunity to become a profile in courage himself by modeling for other bishops their proper role as teachers and pastors.
Will this become a wonderful moment of catechesis for the nation? Only time will tell. Patrick Kennedy seems to know less about Church teaching than did other Kennedys. He also seems less willing to discuss anything that contradicts his own vision of the Church. In that way, he is like many Catholics in the United States, seeking to conform the Church to their own lives rather than vice versa. Perhaps those not involved in politics will learn a lesson from this and realize that privately disagreeing with the Church is still disagreeing with the Church, and it may make them reconsider their Catholic faith. That would be a victory for all.