While Tim Kaine’s pastor describes Kaine as “very compassionate, approachable, available, and friendly,” a Washington DC-based priest, a member of the Dominican Order, has told Tim Kaine that he is not a true Catholic and not entitled to receive communion. The issue? Tim Kaine has stated his personal opposition to abortion, but refuses to enact laws as a public official that would interfere with a woman’s right to choose.
The anti-abortion site LifeNews reported that Father Thomas Petri took to Twitter to condemn Kaine. “Senator @timkaine. Do us both a favor. Don’t show up in my communion line.” The priest also told Kaine that his beliefs that women should be priest and that “abortion is fine” makes him either “poorly catechized or a dissenter.”
Despite the criticism that has come at Kaine from right-wing groups who oppose abortion, Kaine’s pastor admires the man who has been a member of his largely black congregation in Richmond for thirty years. Father Jim Arsenault has been at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Richmond, where Kaine and his wife, Anne Horton, have been members since first arriving in Richmond.
Arsenault describes the church as a small church located in a black, working-class neighborhood. He says that Kaine has been active in the church, but never in a way that makes him the center of attention. The priest also says that he “respects that sometimes lawmakers have to make tough decisions.”
He says that he knows that among the things that are important to Kaine as a Catholic are: “I think equal pay for equal work for women. I think some of the social justice issues. I think he’d be concerned about that all lives matter, regardless of color of one’s skin. And he is a bridge-builder among races and communities and regardless of zip codes, where people are from or what education they have. He really helps build community,” he told NPR News.