Pontifications

Pontifications


Bishop Tobin’s chat with Obama: Did he really say that?

posted by David Gibson

Thomas Tobin.jpgThe journalistic device of the imaginary interview with a VIP or celebrity or dead person who you’ll never be able to talk to in real life is a risky one, even for the best writers. Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin tries his hand at it in the Feb. 12 edition of the diocesan newspaper, in “an interview I didn’t have, but can imagine having, with President Obama.” It’s about abortion, not surprisingly. Tobin has been outspoken–his call for a moratorium on immigration raids last year made news, and few friends in the establishment. And in 2007 the bishop compared pro-choice Rudy Giuliani to Pontius Pilate–ouch!
But I think his imaginary interview with Obama stretches the imagination a bit too far. To wit:
TOBIN: Is it safe to assume that you consider the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions overseas to be good foreign policy?
Barack Obama.jpgOBAMA: I believe that people overseas should have the same rights we Americans have – the right to kill their children and use abortion as a form of birth control.
TOBIN: But shouldn’t we be using foreign aid for more positive reasons – for example, to provide food, clothing, shelter and medicine to impoverished children?
OBAMA: Bishop, obviously you’re missing the point. If you control the population and eliminate the children, you don’t have to worry about giving them food, clothing, shelter and medicine now do you?
TOBIN: Mr. President, during the campaign you said that you wanted to reduce the number of abortions. And yet now you’re providing American tax dollars to encourage abortions overseas. Isn’t that a contradiction?
OBAMA: Let me be clear. During the campaign, I was talking about American babies. People in other countries have to make their own decisions about killing their children, and if that’s what they want to do, I’m willing to help them. But let’s move on . . .
TOBIN: Sir, you’ve taken a very strong stance against the use of torture, a decision that’s been widely applauded. But at the same time, some scientific studies have shown that the procedures used in abortion cause terrible pain and suffering for the unborn child. Isn’t that a form of torture too?
OBAMA: Um . . . let me get back to you on that.



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Todd

posted February 19, 2009 at 10:09 am


Bishop Tobin seems to be channeling Dale Price and Father Z–and doing a pretty poor job of it. He shouldn’t quit his day job.



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Donna

posted February 19, 2009 at 10:55 am


I can’t believe Belief Net printed this “imaginary interview” with President Obama and Bishop Tobin…..Christianity is about truth and trust in God….and why did Beliefnet allow this “pretend” conversation to be printed….I am very embarrassed for them and ashamed that a Christian website would do this…..



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JAB

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:12 am


I found this imaginary interview offensive. I could hardly believe a reputable bishop and church newspaper would be a part of this kind of thing.



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Dan

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:31 am


While writing is not Bishop Tobin’s strongest point, I do think he does a good job of pointing out the president’s dismissive attitude towards human life in its earliest stages. I find the comments above much like the people who get upset when shown a picture of an aborted child: “How dare you show that picture to me! It upsets me!”
That’s exactly the point. We’re talking about the life and death of our youngest brothers and sisters. Sometimes, the voices need to be raised just a tad; otherwise, they’re ignored.
God bless,
Dan



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pagansister

posted February 19, 2009 at 11:33 am


Goes to prove, as a citizen of RI, what I already knew…Bishop Tobin is a total A**H***! Unfortunately there are some out there that will think that it is an actual interview….



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gmo2

posted February 19, 2009 at 12:33 pm


What this basically shows is that Tobin does not have much of an imagination, nor is he really interested in a dialogue on the topic. He is either ignorant of Obama’s positions, which he is probably not, or he is simply trying to demonize Obama.



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R L Taylor

posted February 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm


Imagination? Dialogue? The teaching of the Church is quite clear. I am certain Speaker Pelosi was hoping to dialogue with the Pope and discovered (probably with arrogant non-acceptance) that her view was not acceptable to the Church’s teaching regarding human life beginning at conception.
How can one be ignorant of Obama’s positions. He says he wants to slow down abortion, I think. I can not see where his actual words or actions support that. One of his first actions was to reverse the Mexico City agreement. He did not want his daughters burdened with bringing a child into the world should they somehow be in that position and not want a child, etc. etc. etc.
Thank you Bishop Tobin for presenting what is probably an accurate view of our (choke) president, and I appreciate the literary license with which it was presented.



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pagansister

posted February 19, 2009 at 4:22 pm


RLTaylor, I’m sure Nancy Pelosi had/has no misconceptions about the RCC and it’s teachings. She knows that Benny doesn’t approve and it’s official since Benny runs the church. She just happens to be an intelligent woman.
As for Tobin and his “interview” with Obama? Waste of paper.



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Your Name

posted February 19, 2009 at 8:59 pm


First of all, Obama is not such a one-dimensional person, nor is he a one-dimensional president. Rather than engaging in such a ridiculous, imaginary ‘dialogue,’ Bishop Tobin needs to be concerned with providing a practical model of Christianity today. St. Francis stated “Preach the Gospel always, and at times use words.” Bishop Tobin, take note!



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Tom

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:39 am


Perhaps if Bishop Tobin was a ventriloquist he could have pulled it off a little bit better, then the rave reviews would be pooring in!



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Todd

posted February 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm


“While writing is not Bishop Tobin’s strongest point, I do think he does a good job of pointing out the president’s dismissive attitude towards human life in its earliest stages.”
He doesn’t even do that.
If he were trying to make a clever point, he would take the president’s actual words out of context. That he doesn’t bother to do that labels this right away as a forgery of good journalism. The young woman who outed PP nurses is miles ahead of this guy. She knows instinctively that if you want to open people’s eyes, you’re going to have to work at it. Hard.
Bishop Tobin seems to think that just because he’s a bishop he’s going to get traction on this. Get a clue.



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R L Taylor

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm


pagansister: I have no criteria to judge Ms. Pelosi’s intelligence, though I do have my own opinion about it. I certainly question her judgment and her morality. However, I indeed propose that changing your mind is futile, exemplified by your disrespect for the Pope. What I do assert is, that the Catholic Church has one teaching, despite the many who try to distort that, and I resent Ms. Pelosi trying to carry the image of being a Catholic for the political purpose of getting votes from duped Catholic’s who believe she might be Catholic.



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Your Name

posted February 20, 2009 at 2:36 pm


Bishop Tobin is my bishop. This text is a prime example of why he makes me cringe. Yet he has a good reputation. The people in soup kitchens say that he is a good man, and that he cares about the poor. One of his most visible actions has been to set up a fund to help needy families pay for fuel during the winter. Let’s not be too critical.



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pagansister

posted February 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm


RLTaylor:
Pelosi is TRYING to carry the image of being a Catholic? Interesting. I think she is succeeding…
As to my respect for Benny? You’re right..it isn’t there. Same amount I had for “W” and thank goodness he is out of office. Can only hope when Benny is no longer pope, the next one will realize it is the 21st century.



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 21, 2009 at 1:16 am


Hi Pagansister,
“Can only hope when Benny is no longer pope, the next one will realize it is the 21st century.”
Moral truth is eternal. If we’re here in 5,000 years, abortion will be just as pernicious, just as evil, and the Popes will be saying so. We’ll accept opprobrium from our detractors, but we’ll never back down.
Bishop Tobin may not be Hemingway, but he captured Obama’s heart and mind on abortion. This is a President who is a proponent of infanticide for babies born alive during abortion. If the ‘interview’ seemed ugly and offensive, it accurately reflected Tobin’s muse.
God Bless,
Gerry



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pagansister

posted February 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm


Respectfully, Gerard, I totally disagree with you on Tobin’s capturing Obama’s heart and mind on abortion. As far as I can tell, Obama feels that either not getting pregnant to begin with (available birth control and counciling on STD’s etc.) or continuing a pregnancy is certainly better than abortion. However, (and I know you don’t agree) if there is a need (to be determined by the woman after careful thought) then the legal option should be there for a safe termination. IMO (not speaking for the President, obviously) the sooner an abortion takes place, the better. Also, IMO, if a woman can’t decide before the 3rd month, she should carry to term if at all possible.
There have been 3 incidences in my family where termination was necessary. It was by no means an easy decision for the women, but time has proven it to be the correct one.
Hope you are well.



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Gerard Nadal

posted February 22, 2009 at 10:40 am


Good Morning Pagansister,
Though we are on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon on this one, isn’t it nice that we don’t have to shout at one another to be heard? If I may, could you flesh out the following thought?
“Also, IMO, if a woman can’t decide before the 3rd month, she should carry to term if at all possible.”
Would you be willing to codify that in law? Why THAT particular time frame? Is there some developmental milestone that directs you? Just really interested in your thoughts.
Of course, you could always simply reply by telling me to go have another cup of coffee ;o)
Have a great day.
Gerry



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Your Name

posted February 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm


Good Afternoon, Gerard,
The 3 month date is arbitrary on my part. In the 4th month a woman can feel movement (used to be called quickening??)from the fetus. With today’s real early methods of pregnancy testing (not so with my 2 pregnancies) a woman, IMO has more than enough time to make up her mind to continue or not. 8-10 weeks should be sufficient to do so. In other words, an abortion should be done as early as possible. If a woman waits, for whatever reason, until much later,(5 to 6 months) then she is almost to term and I feel she should continue. I’m sure there are medical reasons (life of mother in danger or fetal distress) for having an induced labor or C-section for medical should be set? I think that is already being done in some states. As a woman, I don’t think it is my job to tell another woman what to do with her body (I know, when pregnant it isn’t just her body, IYO). Also I feel that overturning RoeV. Wade wouldn’t stop abortions, it would just drive them back underground to butchers or women would do their own terminations. Neither choice is safe. Women have known how to abort since time began, which, of course includes Jesus’s time. I was an adult when Roe V. Wade was passed. Wouldn’t want to return to the days before it. The option should always be there for legal, safe, clean abortions. Preferable would be, of course, sex education, available birth control and teaching responsible behavior..abstinence being offered as the safest method. But you and I know that abstinence isn’t always chosen. When married, of course, the method of birth control is up to the couple.
I had this written earlier, but it got lost when I hit refresh text!
No shouting necessary, I agree. And I really hope your coffee was delicious. I like my Irish Breakfast tea with milk and sugar. (cream is better but…calories!)
Hope your day went well!



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pagansister

posted February 22, 2009 at 5:23 pm


Above is mine, pagansister. 22 Feb. 5:09 PM. Forgot yet again with I “refreshed”! Love “refresh”!



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pagansister

posted February 22, 2009 at 5:42 pm


Gerard: Having written the post at 5:09 twice, and rereading it now…let me correct a really badly written sentence.
“I’m sure there are medical reasons (life of mother in danger or fetal distress)for having an induced labor or C-section……” disregard the last 5 words in the original post. Now to correct the dumb statement after…. My mind and the rewrite weren’t connecting. What I was trying to say was….” Abortions at that late stage are the ones labeled late term. I do have a problem with that, as it isn’t meant to be a delivery for medical reasons. A fetus can survive outside the womb at 6 months with lots of help.” As I tried to state above, I think some states are making laws regarding late term abortions.
Thanks for your patience. Hope you can get through the convoluted mess I made!



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