At last one of the pillars of Americanism is falling.
Hanging front and center inside the classroom of the grade school I attended were pictures of two men: Pope Paul VI, and John F. Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic president. Each was revered almost without question, although we were taught that one could never tell the other what to do in their separate realms.
My experience was not unique. And so it was jarring to many Catholics to hear last month of a bishop in Providence, R.I., advising a Kennedy to refrain from receiving communion because of a public policy position the congressman had advocated in Washington.
History has always been a strong subject in Catholic education, but Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence seems to have forgotten much of his, or at least failed to learn the lessons as they applied to American democracy.