Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chris Matthews Browbeats Bishop Thomas Tobin

Above is Monday's "interview" by MSNBC's Chris Matthews of Providence, Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin regarding the on-going dispute between Tobin and Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy over his (Kennedy's)pro-choice stance.

Far be it from me to be a defender of the Catholic Church on many issues. (I am married to a Catholic, have raised my children to be Catholics, but the priest pedophile issue drove me away from the church. I am a Protestant who never converted.)

There are legitimate questions that Matthews raised in his questions to Bishop Tobin regarding the issue of abortion in moral vs legal terms, but as the interview progressed, Matthews became more and more aggressive and basically browbeat the bishop, who conducted himself with dignity. In the end, the session was hardly an interview, more of a non-stop lecture by Matthews to the bishop.

It is unfortunate in that had the discussion been held more calmly, more professionally, it could have been a useful discussion of the issue. Matthews certainly had valid points to be raised, but as usual, his aggressive and at time obnoxious style ruined it. Tobin was able to make his points about the churches' moral stance on abortion, but that was about all Matthews let him do.

I understand that some Catholic figures are calling on MSNBC to fire Matthews. I oppose this. Matthews has a right to air his views even when it masquerades as reporting. Bishop Tobin acquitted himself with class with Matthews even if we wasn't allowed to engage in a full and spirited debate. Let the viewership pass judgement on Matthews. After all, his ratings are low enough already.


Findalis said...

There is really no dispute in this. The Catholic Church has always been pro-life. They ask that their members be pro-life. It is the right of the Catholic Church to speak on moral issues and pronounce religious edicts not only on the issue, but on high profile people who flaunt their immorality (according to their teachings).

The Church did not pronounce a dead sentence on Rep. Kennedy. They just pronounced that he couldn't take communion.

If Rep. Kennedy doesn't like this he can do things to change it. He can change his position on abortion to the pro-life view, he can stop going to church, or he can find a church that will accept his pro-choice position.

But the Catholic Church doesn't have to change their stand.

Gary Fouse said...

Excellent observation, Findalis.

Ingrid said...

The catholic church has always been pro-life???? I have never heard a worse joke. Findalis, read the history of the catholic church, where has it ever been pro-life???