MSNBC Attacks Catholic Bishop Tobin in Pat Kennedy-Abortion-Communion Row

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

MSNBC Attacks Catholic Bishop Tobin in Pat Kennedy-Abortion-Communion Row

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — MSNBC is coming under fire from pro-life Catholics upset about the way two of its show hosts treated Bishop Thomas Tobin. The Rhode Island bishop received national attention the last few days as pro-abortion Congressman Patrick Kennedy made public a private letter admonishing him on abortion.

The letter asked Kennedy to voluntarily agree to not receive communion because his pro-abortion views are out of line with Catholic pro-life teachings.

Tobin appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball program with pro-abortion Catholic host Chris Matthews, who doesn’t merely interview the bishop but appears to rant at him in a disrespectful manner with constant interruptions.

Matthews said Tobin was "punishing" Congressman Kennedy for supporting “abortion rights" and he feigned respect by repeatedly calling the Bishop “Your Excellency."

Bishop Tobin tried to help Matthews understand that opposition to abortion is part of "natural law" and not merely a "religious" view.

During the interview, Matthews asked Tobin what kind of abortion laws he would write were he a member of Congress.

“I am not a member of Congress, but if I were, I would never be in a position of supporting any abortion legislation that encourages abortion,” Tobin replied.

“What law would you pass?” Matthews pressed. “You’re coming down on Congressman Kennedy and other public officials. …Would you outlaw abortion?”

“That’s the direction our nation ought to move,” Tobin responded.

“Your problem with Congressman Kennedy is his position on the law and what the law should read on abortion. What should a good Catholic believe about the law? Tell Catholics now on national television how they should vote as members of Congress.”

Tobin’s reply: “Catholics should vote for laws that preserve and protect human life.”

Matthews then demanded to know if Tobin would jail women who had abortions if a national law came to pass that would prohibit abortions.

Deacon Keith Fournier watched the show and described the bias he saw.

"It quickly became clear that he intended to pummel him, browbeat him and try to persuade him to abandon the truth and excuse the error which Matthews has embraced," he said.

"In his grandiosity and arrogance Matthews proceeded to talk over the Bishop, interrupt him, cut him off, and try to lecture him in a condescending manner on ‘the law,’" he added. "He repeatedly tried to force him to answer loaded questions. He finally had the audacity to suggest that the Bishop needed to rethink his position."

"MSNBC should publicly apologize to the Bishop and Matthews should be fired for his lack of professionalism. To not give this good and intelligent man, this Bishop of the Catholic Church, an opportunity to speak, after inviting him on this show, was inexcusable," he said.

"Matthews, a professing Catholic, also does not understand his own faith. He does not understand that his own Church’s unwavering opposition to the taking of all innocent human life at every age and stage is the ground of every social justice issue," he concluded.

Meanwhile, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, on Monday’s Morning Joe program, commented on the situation and added fuel to the fire.

“This is a political act by a political bishop… Political bishops do the church absolutely no good. This guy’s—this bishop is a political hack," he said.

Conservative writer Karen Northon says none of this would have been a public spectacle if not for Kennedy’s "gotcha" move of bring up a letter intended to be private.

"The American public at large knew little to nothing about these previous exclusions of prominent politicians from the Catholic ritual – until Kennedy started whining," she writes. "If he hadn’t gone public with his non-issue against the Catholic Church, chances are good we wouldn’t be talking about this now."

She said it is "astounding that Lawrence O’Donnell gets paid to share his opinion on a national stage."

"The degree of ignorance conveyed in O’Donnell’s summation of the ordeal showcases an increasingly prevalent bipolar disconnect between reality and liberal folly," she concluded.

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