Catholic League on Chris Matthew’s shame

From The Catholic League:

From the Catholic League:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the way MSNBC host Chris Matthews handled his interview with Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin last night on “Hardball”:

We were deluged with phone calls, faxes and e-mails after what happened yesterday on “Hardball.” After watching the first portion of the interview between Chris Matthews and Bishop Tobin, I wondered what all the fuss was all about: Chris was just being his usual aggressive self. But it didn’t take long before Matthews literally spun out of control.

Matthews proceeded with an extended and quite insulting lecture. He had absolutely no interest in a discussion on the question of the morality and legality of abortion—all he wanted to do was to make the bishop sit there and listen to his rant. Indeed, his tirade was simply over-the-top.

No non-Catholic would ever treat a bishop this way. But too many liberal Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, think they are exempt from the same standards of civility that apply to others. They are flatly wrong.

I was on MSNBC twice yesterday on this same subject and was treated with respect both times. Ed Schultz, who can be quite tough, was totally respectful, and I’m a lay person. Chris could learn a thing or two from Ed, who not only does not insult his guests, he actually gives them a chance to respond.

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  1. “But too many liberal Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, think they are exempt from the same standards of civility that apply to others. They are flatly wrong.”

    Spot on, Bill Donahue.

    I’m of Irish descent, so I think I can say this without being a bigot or stereotypical.
    Apostate Irish Catholics are the worst; they HATE the Church. Other Catholics of different ethnic backgrounds when they leave the Church or disagree with the Church cannot compare with the vitriolic antics of the apostate Irish.

    The Irish have given the world some of the greatest saints.
    And, unfortunately, some of those who vent their hatred, ‘ad infinitum,’ upon the rest of the world.

  2. Susan the Short says:

    Being half-Irish myself, I agree with you, Nazareth Priest.

    I think some of the hatred stems from the bad old days (especially here in New England) of ‘No Irish Need Apply’ and the Know Nothing Movement.

    Irish immigrants were almost able to ‘pass’ for WASP, except for the albatross of Romanism that hung around their necks. Wanting so badly to belong to the protestant elites drove the Irish (the ambitious ones) to hate that one big thing that separated them from the country club: The Roman Catholic Church.

    When Chris Matthews et al attack the Church, they are playing into this WASP-envy, trying to convince the blue bloods that, “Yeah, I’m Catholic, but I can see through all that popery, just like you guys.”

    Full disclosure: I am also half WASP. When I once asked my English mother which half of me was Irish, she said, “It’s the half that you sit on.”

  3. For what it’s worth, we ‘Irish’ (as a mongrel people we are hard to define), the ones who actually live in Ireland, really only consider you Irish if you are born and raised here or at least are born of parents born and raised here. We might be nice about the ‘Irish’ born elsewhere but deep down you’ve got to have at least some very strong connection with this country. An Irish name doesn’t count. I know people of Nigerian or Lithuanian origin who have more connection with this country than many ‘Irish’ outside it. So this Donohue guy is your problem – he’s an AMERICAN liberal Catholic. Stop blaming it on the homeland your ancestors left and give up on the one your in.

  4. Sorry! Left out ‘don’t’ in that last sentence as in ‘DON’T give up on the one your in.’

  5. Geremia says:

    I am still not sure why Bp. Tobin did not just say, “We must enforce anti-abortion laws the same way we enforce other anti-homicide laws: incarceration of both the criminals seeking or encouraging the abortion and the hit man performing the murder.”

  6. Emilio III says:

    Br. Tom, I think the problem “liberal Irish Catholic” they were talking about was Matthews, not Donohue. I assume you wrote down the wrong name accidentally. Or do you think that Donohue is the real problem?

  7. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    How about liberal American Irish Catholic dissident priests? Curran, McBrien, et. al.

  8. rinkevichjm says:

    Non enforcement of the law is common place: see Beltran v. Santa Clara decision by the US 9th Circuit Ct of Appeals. The SWs in that case and the original reporter all lied, the SWs in affidavits under the penalty of perjury and Santa Clara was arguing that they shouldn’t be civilly liable. All three were criminals, the original reporter for reporting that the mother was going to move her child to be closer to another hospital as child abuse (claiming non-treatment of the child), the SWs for knowingly repeating the same when they knew it wasn’t abuse or neglect. When will CA AG (and another liberal Catholic) Davis (aka “Moonbeam”) prosecute them? Santa Clara’s DA is obviously compromised.

  9. Oleksander says:

    “we ‘Irish’ (as a mongrel people we are hard to define)”

    Actually, genetically Irish are among the more homogeneous ethnic groups of Europe with their Y-haplogroups all being pretty much the same, only other place in Europe with such “sameness” is Brittany region in France (whom are genetically closely related to modern Irish.)

    You can call American people culturally non-Irish, but their DNA is.

  10. Susan the Short: Yeah, I know what you mean; I’m of Anglo-Irish descent, as well…I tell people that a war is constantly going on inside of me! Loved your Mom’s comment about the “Irish part”!!LOL! Typical English reponse.

  11. rakesvines says:

    I think rather than cutting down the Irish Catholics because of Matthews, we need to get back at MSNBC so that they will never ever disrespect a man of the cloth again. I don’t watch their trash but now I would just to find out their sponsors so that I can boycott them. If we just get outraged, then we become the laughing stock of the liberals and Matthews might even get a fat bonus for boosting ratings. But if we all boycott their sponsors, then maybe if they’re not too dense, they might learn and even give the Church a chance to regain some respect and dignity by running some special that shows the right of the unborn to live. Let’s hit them where it hurts i.e. the bottom line.

  12. And not to be pickin’ on the homeland Irish, but I’d say that they’re in not too great a shape, now are they?
    The Irish influence in this country is a part of historical record; most of the bishops and cardinals for a long time were either of Irish descent or Irish born. There is a particular kind of “Irish-American” as others have noted in the Northeast…the attempt to be integrated into the WASP-ish society (the Kennedy legacy, from Joseph P. to the present clan as an example).
    I grew up in the Midwest, in a place where the Irish identity was pretty strong, although in the minority. When I see dramas from Ireland, showing the cultural and religious milieu, it looks very familiar to the folks I knew in northern Illinois, far from the Emerald Isle.
    Irish is in the blood. We may be mongrels to the native Irish, but some things just do not die out.

  13. Dr. Eric says:

    Nazareth Priest, Brother Tom,

    I was scandalized when my wife and I honeymooned in the Emerald Isle, we had never seen such Anti-Catholicism as we did in Ireland, and in the native County of my Roche ancestors to boot!

  14. ghp95134 says:

    …You can call American people culturally non-Irish, but their DNA is [Celtic]….

    … don’t forget to include the Normans (me, a descendant of Robert de Poer) who went on “holiday” to Ireland in 1172, or the Vikings who set up trade camps in Ireland (842 in Vadrefjord, now called Waterford). The distinction between these two visitor groups can be blurry since both Normans (norse men) and Vikings are in the same haplogroup.

  15. Dr. Eric: I have never been to Ireland, but went to seminary with an Irish seminarian, from the border of the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. He told me that in the small villages and hamlets the Catholic faith was still pretty strong; in the cities, esp. Dublin, the anti-Catholicism is rampant. And this whole thing with the clergy abuse report, etc., has really made a terrible impact. But the Church in Ireland, as in the States, will be renewed by the faithful adherence to the “Faith of our Fathers”…of this, I am sure.

  16. I’m not even Irish, so I don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to the genetic thing here. :-)

    (That’s a comment coming from a Filipino for you.)

    Anyway, about Chris Matthews, renewal of pro-Catholicism sentiments, and the rest. Has anyone read the FBI report about the anti-Catholic hate crimes? If Chris Matthews (a Catholic!) could do an anti-Catholic tirade, think of how this is going to influence anti-Catholic sentiment on a person of some other religion!

    Now, I do agree with “nazareth priest” that this is only going to be renewed via our faithfulness to the Pope. But just think about what the other Americans out there are going to think about us after watching Matthews!

    Yikes — somebody call the PR Machine please!

  17. J-T Delacroix: This influence upon non-Catholics may not be, in fact, the case. But in my limited experience (as a monastic and a religious) believing Christian non-Catholics have more respect for the Catholic Church, esp. in in these days of unbelief, that our Catholic brethren. When I have been in public, in habit, in places where Catholics are in the minority, people have treated me with respect and have even smiled and greeted me. Not so in Catholic circles, at times. I have experienced more contempt and even hatred from Catholic priests, religious and laity, than I have from non-Catholics. Sad.

  18. Some few years ago, after being questioned for the umpteenth time about his taking Communion, or the funeral of his sister-in-law Jackie Onassis in which her live-in male friend, who was Jewish, gave a eulogy for her at her funeral in a Jesuit church in Manhatttan, Ted Kennedy looked the reporters in the eye and said he wanted to make a statement and never have to deal with the issue again: The only person in my family who was Catholic was my mother Rose. In order to understand American Catholicism of whatever ethnic stripe, just think of Episcopalianism with a Pope. The Popes since Pius XII (died 1958) went along with this but not Benedict. This is reflected in the bishops he is appointing. Even though Bishop Tobin got steamrolled by Chris Matthews, he said the truth: If you cannot liva as a true Catholic in your profession, QUIT your profession! Your soul is more important than some job.

  19. Roland de Chanson says:

    I must say that Bill Donahue obfuscated his otherwise valid argument by gratuitously stigmatising Irish Catholics.

    Being of French descent, I feel obliged to call attention to his gaucherie on two grounds: (1) that seldom in history had greater harm been done the Church than during the French Revolution, and (2) as Gaul (especially southern Gaul) was Celtic before it was Roman, I am piqued by the disparaging reference to my fellow Celts.

    Boorishness knows no ethnicity. Donohue should refrain from irrelevant and invidious obiter dicta in his organizationsl statements.

  20. Dr. Eric says:

    Bill Donahue is very acerbic and I think in many respects he does more harm than good. He needs to remain President of his organization but he should let someone else do the PR.

  21. Dr. Eric says:

    Having written that, many organizations only have 1-3 persons in them. Donahue might actually be the only member of the Catholic League.

  22. Thomas S says:

    Mr. Phelan,

    I’d be very interested in seeing documentation of that quote from Kennedy.

  23. james says:

    As another membr of the panel here of Irish descent (grandparents
    born in Co. Mayo!)here’s my two pence:

    1. Matthews is a Liberal American. A modernist. Relativism, not
    Catholicism, seems to be his compass.
    2. Many Irish-Catholics in the USA (and in Canada, for that matter,
    as that is where I am) lost their Faith long ago. To call the
    Kennedy’s, Pelosi, Biden, others “Catholic” is merely a label.
    Whilst they all were baptized into the Mystical Body, God gives
    us all free will to walk away. And many do. Regardless of ethnicity,
    race, creed, and so forth.
    3. As for Ireland itself (I still try and keep a strong cultural
    connection to Ireland, as my parents did, but I’ll admit it is
    a pre-Vatican II CATHOLIC connection to Ireland, not simply a
    romantic emotional attachment) an outsider can look at the recent
    vote on the Lisbon Treaty to get a fair sense of where Irish
    “Catholics” compass points. Evidence from the polls, in concert
    with what appears to have been support for voting “Yes” to this
    treaty by most Catholic Bishops, would lead an outsider to
    believe Ireland is no longer a Catholic country. I type these
    words with a heavy heart, but if my memory serves me correctly,
    Co. Donegal is the last bastion of Catholicism on the Emerald Isle,
    this based soley on the results from the polls, for no one who
    truly believes in the Catholic Faith could support the EU.

    All that said… Bishop Tobin handled himself gallantly. He
    was used as a tool. He was the bull’s eye, if you will. The MSM
    wants the culture to believe people like Pelosi, Matthews, Biden,
    and so forth are “catholic”, when they are not. Sort of like
    Irishmen thinking they are “Irish” when they actually live
    in Chicago, or Boston, or whereever, but have never set foot
    on Irish soil, never listened to a good reel or jig, and more
    importantly, do not support or believe in the Faith of our
    Irish ancestors (Frand Duff, to name one) Many Irish men and
    women died as martyrs for the Faith. Many traveled hours to
    go to the Mass Rock during the time of Cromwell. I would
    question whether many Irish men and women, at home and abroad,
    would make such a trek.

    Again, my two “pence”.

  24. james says:

    Also – Never forget the Twelve Irish Maryrs, a blessed dozen many
    Irish men and women born abroad never heard of, and if they
    have, should be teaching their children about as part of their
    the process of building their Faith.

    We may all face similar persecutions soon enough, me thinks.
    Then, we’ll have more in common with our ancestors.

  25. James: Excellent points. More than “two pence” in my estimation!
    Cultural identity in this country equaling being “Catholic”, except for maybe the Hispanics (and there you have to be careful about who exactly you are talking about) and the recent immigrants, is a thing of the past. The typical “Yeah, I made my First Communion and Confirmation” but has not set a foot inside a church since the wedding is NOT a practicing Catholic!
    I still think the point made several times about the whole “integration” thing in the Northeast with the WASP establishment on the part of a lot of Irish and their descendants has resulted in this “Cultural Catholic” mindset, as opposed to the adherence to the Catholic Faith in all its fullness. I think that material prosperity and power have also been involved in this watering down or disavowal of the Faith. People I have read in Ireland say the same thing since the economic change in the ’90s. Money and power can corrupt. I don’t think this is an attack on the Irish and their descendants, per se, but an observation of how a large group of people can choose a bowl of pottage over their birthright.

  26. Catholic Greta says:

    It would be good for Bishop Tobin to sit down and write out a response since he was not given the time to respond to Mathews who had clearly foamed at the mouth. Mathews is a typical liberal catholic who dissents from its non negotiable church teachings. His point of view was based on a statement from JFK and he was using it as if that was canon law and JFK was the Pope.

  27. james says:

    Nazareth Priest – Thanks for the kind words. Fr. Vincent McNabb
    spoke of this watering down and disavowal of Faith (as did Pope
    Leo XIII – Rerum Novarum) which seems to be a spawn of both
    the Industrial Revolution and, later, consumerism driven by
    the global economic depression of the 30’s.

    As for Matthews being a “liberal Catholic” – no such thing. You
    are either a Catholic, or you are not. There is no middle ground –
    if you only believe in 99.9$ of Catholic Dogma, that .01% keeps
    you outside looking in. You either buy it all, or move on down
    the road. It’s an all-or-nothing offer. And nothing leads down
    the eternal road of wailing and gnashing of teeth….

    It can be no other way for these so-called “liberal” Catholics.
    Pius IX/X writings on modernism and a liberalism provide the
    footnotes. Again, to be in dissent is dangerous, as well as

    I’ll add that Donohue’s bringing of ethnicity into the equation,
    whilst purely a value judgement, is also dangerous, for it has
    nothing to do with ethnicity, but in the case of Irish Catholics
    in the USA, it has all to do with buying into the culture of
    the USA, which has it’s roots not in anything Catholic, but in
    puritanical Calvinism.

  28. irishgirl says:

    james and nazareth priest-I say ‘Amen’ too.

    Not only the TV networks, but the print media has been hard on Bishop Tobin, too.

    The NY Daily News has had some nasty letters in its ‘Voice of the People’ page.

    Bravo to Bishop Tobin-and boo to Chris Matthews and his kind!

  29. Tom Ryan says:

    Donohue has taken his digs at Irish Catholics before. It’s a very public way of trying to inoculate himself from being anti-someothergroup in the future.

    As for anti-Catholicm in Eire, it seem chic among the ruling classes in Dublin but rare elsewhere.

  30. Damien Thompson has an interesting article with all of the comments that indicate that the Irish Church is not in so good a shape right now. Read it for yourself. I think there is a connection between the Emerald Isle and our own country, bein’ that the Irish connection is so strong here, at least in the past. Don’t wanna sound anti-Irish; I love the Irish. All of us, whether in Ireland or here in the States, need a real call to conversion, not to bashin’ our Holy Mother Church, yeah?

  31. shane says:

    Tom, that certainly was the case a few years back, but ideas popular in the media classes get disseminated to the public at large. Anti-Catholicism is now so exaggerated that it will reach a climax and then go into reverse.

    It’s quite correct, nazareth priest, to argue that anti-Catholic attitudes have more traction in Dublin. It is chiefly concentrated in middle class suburbs. Working class areas are rarely anti-clerical in sentiment but weekly attendance rates are very low. In rural areas, the Church is as much a social institution as it is a religious one, so high practicing rates cannot be taken as indicating widespread religious belief.

    A very good analytic overview of the societal situation is given here by the excellent Church and State magazine, which was founded back in the 90s as the organ of the Campaign to Seperate Church and State:

  32. shane says:

    James, it is not limited to the United States, English-speaking culture as a whole is profoundly Protestant.

  33. james says:

    The USA has always had a calvinistic flavour. Much more so than Canada (my home) which is more secular, and these days, more pagan(as is the USA). The modern way to determine “catholicism” in a region or nation is by the ballot box. Many US Catholics voted for Obama. The Irish, outside Co. Donegal, voted “EU”.

  34. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    What is wrong with voting for the EU? I can understand why voting for Obama is wrong (abortion being the biggest nono) – but voting for European integration? Catholicism isn’t the same as Euroscepticism any more than it is the same as Republicanism.

  35. shane says:

    Owing to its proclivity to schism, Protestantism very frequently degenerates, through the course of centuries, into abject hedonism. This trait is particularly true of Calvinism, most especially to be observed in the Netherlands and the now Unitarian churches of Puritan New England.

  36. shane says:

    Donegal had a variety of peculiar factors at play in its (marginal) ‘No’ plurality. Its fishing industry is of critical importance to the local economy, and there was resentment over Spanish fishing trawlers depleting local fish stocks. Donegal’s proximity to the border also accentuates grievance over the unfavourable disparity in Euro-Sterling exchange rates, and allows ‘dissident Republican’ groups extra latitude to peddle fears that the State will somehow be absorbed into the corporate influence of Britain. As if that weren’t enough, in such a very rural county, a high proportion of farmers were taken in by the ‘No’ campaign’s claim that Lisbon would facilitate the liberalization of trade with non-EU countries.

  37. shane says:

    Francisco, you are quite correct.

  38. Stephen Hand says:

    Father, about rambling, a friend sent me this, so (if you are not Irish) maybe it could be worse…

    “… the Irish are a difficulty. They were never in the (Roman) Empire, and therefore their discipline is an external constraint and not an acquired inheritance. Thus they make excellent soldiers and incomparable monks and nuns – but socially they are as quarrelsome as dogs and their minds go off at tangents”. —Hilaire Belloc, quoted in Robert Speaight’s biography “Hilaire Belloc” (1957)

  39. robtbrown says:

    IMHO, the easy refutation of Chris Matthews’ argument that the Church stay out of politics is Rerum Novarum, which affirmed the right of labor to form Unions.

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