The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Chris Matthews = Old Yeller

posted by jmcgee

Or so it seems, as he goes yelling after Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin over L’affair Kennedy.

My two cents: Tobin should have known what he was in for. When you’re a Catholic bishop and a producer from MSNBC calls your office and asks if you’d like to be on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, this is what happens.

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DML

posted November 24, 2009 at 10:23 am


It would be interesting to let Bishop Tobin elaborate on what sort of criminal punishment he thinks would be appropriate for a woman who has had an abortion. Bishop Tobin got soft when he was asked to follow through on the matter. And the bishop using words like “encourage”, sounds like he doesn’t have the courage to tell the public what he really thinks.
It would be an interesting thought experiment to imagine how many prisons we are going to have to build to fulfill Bishop Tobin’s vision. Considering that he likely considers contraception to be a form of abortion as well, we can add that to the number of women we will need to round up.



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Dana MacKenzie

posted November 24, 2009 at 10:41 am


Tobin is not a bad teacher, but I’m willing to bet that when he agreed to go on hardball, he had no idea what the show was, or how completely nuts Chris Matthews has gone.
Matthews seems to suggest that bishops have no damn right to instruct Catholics, doesn’t he?
Look for the spawning of an “American” Catholic church, specifically formed for the spoiled boomers who want to call themselves Catholic, but do as they damn well please.



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Deacon RJ

posted November 24, 2009 at 10:55 am


Hey DML. You are kidding, right. You and Chris Matthews should understand that Bishop Tobin’s job is to enforce Church doctrine. Should Matthews be telling him how to run the Church? Should Matthews be lecturing the Bishop on Canon Law? Late in the interview, Matthews mentions that he agrees with the Church’s moral beliefs, but continues his support of abortion policies. How does that work, Chris? It is obvious which master you serve.
Liberals yell about separation of Church and State, wanting to keep religious values out of politics (unless religious people support them), but have no problem telling the Church about who should be able to receive communion.



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Paul

posted November 24, 2009 at 11:12 am


Look for the spawning of an “American” Catholic church, specifically formed for the spoiled boomers who want to call themselves Catholic, but do as they damn well please.
Too late.
It’s called “The Episcopal Church.”



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Jeff Sullivan

posted November 24, 2009 at 11:21 am


One more step down the ladder for Chris Matthews. Such a shame that Bishop Tobin didn’t borrow the line from Zell Miller, who wished aloud that dueling was still permitted after Matthews badgered him during an interview and wouldn’t let him answer.
And such a shame that Chris Matthews is so often flipping his lid on television.



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Rick

posted November 24, 2009 at 11:27 am


The few statements I’ve read about penalties for abortion focus on abortion providers not the women who have received them. The assumption is that these women are under extreme stress and making a poor decision as a result. Many others who talk about penalties simple say we don’t know what to do, and compare the situation to post-Civil war delimas about whether to imprision slave owners (they weren’t).
No Churchman I’ve seen states that there is an easy answer and no one presumes to make the decision for elected representatives.



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Your Name

posted November 24, 2009 at 12:51 pm


Notice how this really is not about Kennedy (I wonder why) and more of an attack upon the Church. For someone who claims to be Catholic, maybe this controversy his a little too close to home, which is why he was so arrogant and rude to Bishop Tobin.



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cathyf

posted November 24, 2009 at 1:35 pm


Maybe Matthews is still carrying a grudge about all those abolitionists who followed the instructions of their abolitionist churches and got slavery outlawed.
Separation of church and state!!!
:rolleyes:



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Bob

posted November 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm


“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of this world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of this world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me.” John 15:18-21
“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33



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Bob

posted November 24, 2009 at 2:13 pm


Bishop Tobin is not a legislator and he should have resisted trying to play one on television. Matthew’s strategy is to misdirect the conversation away from the true point of the matter, that is, the responsibility of a bishop toward a self-identified member of his flock, and try to intimidate Bp. Tobin into answering questions outside his realm. I ask you, “How high is up?” If you can’t answer, you obviously have no credibility. At the same time, after asking Bp. Tobin about what sort of punishments he would impose for the crime of abortion, he conveniently ignores the answers Tobin gives or judges them inadequate, so he can accuse Tobin of not answering the question. Four times!
Matthews knows well that no proposed legislation limiting access to abortion or outlawing abortion impose criminal penalties, much less jail time, on women. This is for any number of reasons, including that abortion is often procured under great stress and under great pressures from others. Matthews doesn’t care. Being a puppet for the Dems (much as Hannity is for the Repubs), his job is to push the party line, even if it means using intimidation and disreputable tactics against a man of the cloth.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19



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cathyf

posted November 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm


In fact, the Church does specify penalties for a woman who has an abortion. She is not to receive Communion unless and until she repents of the act and is reconciled with God through the Sacrament of Confession. And if she dies without repentance, then we teach that she will find herself in hell.
In other words, exactly the same penalty as applies to Kennedy, as a politician who is actively supporting abortion.
Also, it is probably on topic to point out that Rep. Kennedy is rather a notorious drug addict, who has on at least one occasion driven while under the influence of drugs. I certainly have no knowledge of whether Kennedy has been to Confession for that, or has continued in that sin. But suppose this is a hypothetical example, say if I were teaching a religion class or CCD class about the question of what are serious sins, and what is our responsibilities with respect to receiving Communion after committing serious sins. The kids would tell me that DUI is a classic example of a serious sin, and that someone who drives under the influence should repent of it and have the sincere intention of not doing it again, and that Catholics need to do that through Confession. And not receive Communion until after Confession.
As has been explained over and over, we Catholics are pretty much a one-note chorus when it comes to mortal sins of all kinds. Committing a mortal sin puts you in a state where you are not allowed to receive Communion. If and when you repent of the sin(s), and confess it(them) in the Sacrament of Confession, then you are no longer in the state to mortal sin and you are again allowed to receive Communion. This goes for any Catholic, and any mortal sin — it’s not just politicians and not just abortion.



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Tom

posted November 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm


Patrick Kennedy’s voting record (under votes tab) is what is relevant at this stage.  The criminalization of abortion is thus far a non-issue because federal legislators haven’t had the opportunity to implement it yet with Roe v Wade standing in the way.



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Kate

posted November 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm


Very simply, Bishop Tobin has the right to act as he did with Representative Patrick Kennedy. It’s part of his job. I get that. I also understand, respect and agree with the Church’s stance on abortion. Since Geraldine Ferraro ran in 1984, I’ve watched the bishops in the US become more and more outspoken and more and more politicized. In the year before the last presidential election, my diocesan newspaper became a shill and shrill voice that just about said that voting for a pro-legalized abortion candidate was a mortal sin. For the most part, I figure the diocesan paper is pretty much preaching to the choir as it were, with most of its readers and subscribers in agreement with Church teaching on this and other matters. The very few who disagree and actually write a letter to the editor get publicly corrected by the editor in his response immediately following their letter, so there is no shortage of information on Church teaching on matters like abortion.
Although there has been a discernible shift in public opinion regarding limiting or otherwise restricting the grounds for which a woman can procure an abortion, the split is still too narrow to shift current policy and practice to limit and eliminate abortion. I understand that people talk about the consensus society appeared to have that abortion was wrong before Roe V. Wade, but I have to wonder about that since there seems to have been such a change in society’s views, even with more evidence about the nature of human life before birth that would seem to be able to clearly convince people of the need to respect and protect that life under law. I’m convinced and my experience of bringing children into this world confirmed that, as it has for most others in my circle of friends, family, neighbors, and associates. It’s still not enough to change policy and law. Honestly, I think people on both sides of the issue know full well that we are talking about taking another’s life when we talk about abortion. I think life has become cheap and we have become inured to the constant violence in our midst. In my city, a person was shot dead for $5 at a gas station. It really has become all about selfishness, the refusal to accept limitations on our rights so that others may live and have what they need.
What concerns me and bothers me is that I sense that one of the unintended consequences of this dispute between Bishop Tobin and Representative Kennedy is that there is a conflict between one’s religious obligations and one’s civic responsibilities and obligations as an elected public official, who represents more than just the Catholic population of his/her district. The effect has become one where there is credence being given, ironically by the bishops themselves, to the old Nativist saw about Catholic elected officials taking orders from the Vatican rather than from the constituents who elected them. Right now, that seems to be okay for many of those people who raised those concerns originally when JFK was running for President or even earlier, with Al Stevenson, because they agree with the Church about abortion. But abortion, important an issue as it is, is one that never seems to get resolved politically, once and for all. It seems to me that it is in both major US political parties best interests to keep the issue alive because it gives both parties a “red herring” to hold out to their bases to keep them in line. I can’t help but sense that the Church is being played here. Kennedy knows that game too, which is why he publicized his correspondence from Bishop Tobin. I am a practicing Catholic, but I find myself also wanting to know what religion a person running for office is because a Catholic not only has to run against other opponents for the office they seek, but also the bishops. With all due respect to the bishops and their desire to safeguard the deposit of faith, I’m not comfortable with voting for someone with that problem and it is one of several reasons why I would never wish to hold public office. I’m no longer sure a Catholic in good conscience can hold public office in the US in the current climate in the nation and the Church.
All I know is that, no lives get saved in these games, nothing changes, and people like me who want to be faithful to the Church seem to get caught in the middle of competing one-note choirs. It’s really too bad, because the Church has the right to raise its voice and be heard. I sense that it is these unintended consequences that are hard to articulate that simmer just underneath the issue at hand. I really don’t think it is good for the Church or the US if they boiled over.



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Ricardo

posted November 24, 2009 at 2:57 pm


Chris Matthews pointed out to the bishop something that he (the bishop) did not want to see: the bishops in the USA are trying to use the law to stop abortions, since they have failed to make case against abortion with their moral authority.
In other words, the reality is that the so-called moral authority of Catholic bishops is pretty much ignored by the faithful.



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Another View

posted November 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm


A better theory it that abortion advocates are trying to ram federally funded abortion into the health care bill. When the bishops object this expansion of abortion, Rep. Kennedy goes to the press with a mild rebuke from almost three years ago.
Kennedy lied about the rebuke, saying that he was barred from communion and that priests were told not to give him communion. May he get the ex-communication he so richly deserves.



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Bob

posted November 24, 2009 at 7:17 pm


I find it curious that, for many in this discussion, it’s taken as a matter of course that an elected representative who votes according to the dictates of his or her faith is acting in a way that is somehow inappropriate, contrary to the separation of church and state, or contrary to the wishes of his or her constituents.
Representatives have a right to vote any way they want. They won the election. That’s what gives them the right to vote any way they want. The idea that representatives are supposed to vote according to the will of their diverse constituents is in no way stated or implied in the Constitution and has never been taken seriously as political theory or practice. In fact, politicians who give too much weight to majority opinion are often derided as “poll watchers.”
No one’s morality develops in a vacuum. We’re all influenced by a variety of factors that go into forming our moral buoys. To suggest that, for a representative to consider his or her faith tradition when he or she votes is somehow a violation of the First Amendment proscription against Congress establishing a state church is beyond the bounds of credulity.
Religious leaders are not only religious leaders. They’re also American citizens. As such, they have every right, just as you and I do, to attempt to influence their representatives to vote for legislation that reflects their views and concerns.
A Catholic bishop has a right and duty to admonish a self-identified member of his flock when that member acts in a way contrary to the morals of the Church. Bishops are not figureheads. Patrick Kennedy has consistently voted in favor of legislation that supports the practice of abortion, and against legislation that limits abortion. He has consistently taken a public stand in favor of abortion “rights” in his public speaking. Finally, he made a public claim that, even given these actions, he is just as Catholic as anybody else. Given all of this, does anybody seriously think that Bp. Tobin did not have a duty to rebuke Kennedy and recommend that he not take communion, or that his actions of three years ago were taken for the purpose of telling Kennedy how to vote? We Catholics could afford a more charitable response to our bishops and their actions than irrational, knee-jerk cynicism.



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Your Name

posted November 24, 2009 at 8:17 pm


Abortion is a human rights issue, not solely a Catholic issue, and it can be opposed in a secular arena as well as in a religious one. It just so happens that the Catholic Church has a history of championning human rights, and abortion is (inconveniently) the latest. Matthews’ agressiveness was deployed to distract from the heart of the issue – an old tactic favored by cowards.
I recommend the book “ProLife Answers to ProChoice Questions”, by Randy Alcorn, to anyone interested in a coherent study of how to take this issue from where it is today, to where we really would like to see it go. It will require not only legislation but an entire social support construct to complement it. It can be done – look how the “green” lifestyle has become the coolest ideology to be mandated in our public schools and media. Somehow – by God’s grace, to be sure – seeing innocent life as more precious than our own comfort needs to become part of our cultural ideology.



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Your Name

posted November 25, 2009 at 11:08 am


The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal and they are endowed by their Creatot with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Since we are created by a higher power and not man I think that abortion is unconstitutional.



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BobStL

posted November 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm


Deacon Greg,
Please help. Just what does it mean to be “Catholic” in the Patrick Kennedy case? If the bishop doesn’t think Kennedy should be going to communion, that’s fine, but it doesn’t make Kennedy a non-Catholic. So on Kennedy’s political biography, he could still call himself a Catholic, unless he is excommunicated. And don’t even those folks still have the mark of baptism on them?
I’ve noticed a recent shift the hierarchy’s descriptions of communion in which those accepting communion are in full agreement with everything the Church teaches or pronounces, and I have to say I don’t remember it that way from my long-ago religion classes.



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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted November 25, 2009 at 4:08 pm


BobStL…
You are correct. For better or worse, Patrick Kennedy is still “Catholic.”
So, for that matter, is Rudy Giulliani — whose situation is canonically much more complex and who, in the eyes of the Church, is living in a state of grave sin.
Dcn. G.



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Bob

posted November 25, 2009 at 5:22 pm


Just to be very clear, in Bp. Tobin’s letter to Kennedy, published in his diocesan newspaper, he never says that Kennedy is not Catholic. Rather, Tobin delineates the requirements and expectations of what it means to be Catholic and lets Kennedy discern for himself whether he meets those requirements and expectations. Toward the end of the letter, Tobin refers to himself as “your bishop and brother in Christ.” So, it’s pretty clear that the bishop considers Kennedy to be a Catholic.



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Lyrica

posted May 19, 2011 at 8:14 am


From my vantage point there are less people focussing on the creativity and concept of their personal portfolios (myself included) because these quicker routes to getting work online exist and are popular and stifle unique possibilities. Fewer people are experimenting and pushing the creative envelope on their personal sites.



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birthday party characters

posted May 27, 2011 at 10:34 am


information well and good … I like your way of thinking.
Thanks for sharing



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