CNN’s Piers Morgan v Catholics

The Catholic League responded to Piers Morgan’s remark to presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

Last night on CNN, Piers Morgan asked presidential candidate Rick Santorum about his views on gay marriage. Santorum said he favored the traditional understanding of marriage, citing his allegiance to the teachings of the Catholic Church; both men are Catholic. Santorum said he also accepts the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, which regards such behavior as sinful. When asked how he would respond if he learned that one of his sons were gay, the former Pennsylvania senator said he would love him “unconditionally.”

Morgan then asked, “I guess one of the reasons it’s troubling and difficult for people to come out is because of the level of bigotry that’s out there against them. I have to say that your views you espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren’t they?”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responds as follows:

Despite the obvious Catholic-baiting, Rick Santorum was eloquent in his exchange with Piers Morgan. The discussion proved once more the gap that exists between the thoroughly secular values of our cultural elites and the Judeo-Christian ethos shared by most Americans.

Most Americans, like most people on earth, reject gay marriage. Moreover, not a single world religion accepts this alternative lifestyle as being on a par with marriage, traditionally defined. And throughout history, in eastern as well as western civilization, the very idea that two men can get married would have been seen as bizarre, if not delirious. But Piers thinks “we’re in a modern world,” so things should change. Well, from the flash gangs in Philadelphia to the barbarism in the Middle East, there are plenty of reasons to wonder how modern we are.

If this is what we’ve come down to—cultural elites branding every person who holds to the traditional understanding of marriage as a bigot—then it’s a clear indication that the elites are incapable of rational discourse.

Contact Morgan’s executive producer, Jonathan Wald:

On the site of CNN there is a piece about their own Piers Morgan.

Santorum decries charge of bigotry
By: CNN’s Ashley Killough

(CNN) – Presidential candidate Rick Santorum defended his position on gay marriage Tuesday while speaking to students at Pennsylvania State University, and slammed CNN’s Piers Morgan for questioning him as a “bigot” in a pre-taped interview that aired Wednesday night.

I had Piers Morgan call me a bigot, because I believe what the Catholic Church teaches with respect to homosexuality,” Santorum said, heatedly. “So now I’m a bigot because I believe what the Bible teaches.

In the interview, Morgan pressed the former Pennsylvania senator on his moral beliefs about gay rights, an issue he’s repeatedly spoken about on the campaign trail.

Santorum said he subscribes to the Catholic Church’s teachings, which deem homosexuality a sin.

Morgan argued that people have a difficult time coming out because “of the level of bigotry that’s out there against them.”

“And I have to say that your views you’ve espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren’t they?” Morgan asked, adding that society has evolved in how it views homosexuality.

Santorum countered that the Church’s position is founded on more than 2,000 years of history. To adapt those beliefs based on the changing ways of society, he said, would be immoral.

Santorum then lobbed a charge of bigotry back at Morgan.

“Trying to redefine something that is seen as wrong – from the standpoint of a church – and saying a church is bigoted because it holds that opinion that is biblically based, I think that is, in itself, an act of bigotry,” Santorum said.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. PostCatholic says:

    It’s helpful to look at the late Rev. John Hardon, SJ’s dictionary for a definition of the term:

    bigotry: Obstinately adhering, through ignorance, to a social, political, or religious belief, opinion, or practice while being intolerant of the contrary views or actions of others. (Etym. French bigot, hypocrite, superstitious fellow.)

    Thus, bigotry is a question of perspective. A religion, or an individual, or an uninformed adherent, can be accused of bigotry. I’m sure others here will respond that the interpretation of marriage and the bible of the Magisterium isn’t from ignorance; and I suspect other faiths might differ on that point and on the obstinacy. Given Father Hardon’s definition, the term seems to me one that is best avoided altogether in a debate seeking to explore the views of others in freedom. Better to let the audience decide what is bigoted from the perspective of their own predispositions.

  2. Brian2 says:

    I’m not sure if I can share Donohue’s sentiments. Sometimes an interview asks a question like that — “is this bigotry” “will your plan work” “why should we do X, when some experts say Y” — to give the interviewee the chance to explain why it is not. If Santorum was able to use the occassion to explain himself well, then Morgan did him a favor. If he did not, then the fault lies with Santorum for not having a ready answer (he is running for president after all), not Morgan for asking.

  3. irishgirl says:

    Bravo to Senator Santorum for standing up to Catholic teaching-and boo to Piers Morgan!
    If Santorum had a chance to be nominated, I would definitely support him as the Republican candidate! At least he ‘walks the walk and talks the talk’!
    And a second Bravo goes out to the Irish Catholic pit bull, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League!

  4. CNN, of course gets it wrong in their piece. Why don’t reporters bother to find out the truth before they promote lies. The Church does not and never has considered “homosexuality a sin.” It is a disposition that is disordered like many other dispositions. Only acts and intentions can be sins.

    If we believed CNN’s view of Catholic teaching, we would be bigots since we would damn people for something, a disposition, rather than an evil act or intention. And CNN’s false doctrine encourages non-Catholics to believe (and hate) the Catholic Church for something it does not teach. So CNN continues to muddy the issue and create the culture of bigotry that is fast growing in our country.

  5. TomG says:

    Fr. Thompson’s right, of course. Unfortunately, though, Mr. Santorum made no distinction between “homosexuality” and “homosexualism.”

  6. Mary Pat says:

    Spot on, Fr. Thompson – CNN, and other media outlets, do not make the distinction, on purpose, between homosexuality and homosexual acts. They have an agenda and it is to make the Catholic Church look bigoted.

  7. benedetta says:

    I don’t see what exactly ‘espouses bigotry’ in the statement that if one’ child came out as gay that one would love that child ‘unconditionally’. But I guess if CNN proclaims it, it just can’t be wrong… Still, Mr. Morgan as a Catholic himself and his children will also undoubtedly have to labor under this baggage as every other Catholic, whether true or not. The Church is called a lot of names, it doesn’t for the broadcasting make it true.

  8. jarhead462 says:

    What is a Piers Morgan?

    Semper Fi!

  9. Centristian says:


    I share your observations and add that Bill Donohue has a tendency to twist things and spin them as much as he accuses everyone else of doing. He tends to charcterize every question touching upon Catholicism that arises in the secular media as an attack on the faith, or as “Catholic-baiting”, a term he uses in this case.

    I’m glad there is someone out there watching out for the Church’s interests, but “Senator, I have a question,” doesn’t constitute an attack against the Roman Catholic Church. Piers Morgan asked Republican candidate (not Catholic candidate; there isn’t a Catholic party) Rick Santorum (who is not a spokesman for the Church) if he felt that his views on this particular issue bordered on bigotry. Republican candidate Santorum said no and explained why. Good. Where is the “Catholic-baiting” here?

  10. amenamen says:

    I have to say

    This is a statement, not a question.
    This is a statement, not a question?
    This is a statement, not a question. Isn’t it?

    “I have to say that your views you espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry. Aren’t they?”

  11. SMC-BC says:

    Piers Morgan questioned Christine O’donnell in a similar way. She walked out on him. The next night CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” had even better rating numbers.

  12. RichardT says:

    Remember that Piers Morgan is British, indeed metropolitain media British. Sadly that means that he probably never hears anyone in his social or professional circles supporting Catholic teaching, and so probably does genuinely regard it as a shocking and ignorant view.

    We need to pray for him, and to start the huge task of re-evangelisation of the West.

  13. RichardT says:

    And if you really can’t stand him, just remember the possibility that he might be jailed over the telephone hacking scandals.

  14. Gail F says:

    Some of the commenters are missing an important point: Piers Morgan is also Catholic. Although perhaps Catholic in a Nancy Pelosi or Tony Blair way. He is a British journalist trying, like so many, to bring their confrontational, celebrity style to the US. It’s hard to know whether or not to give him any more publicity.

  15. JKnott says:

    I’m with you irishgirl.
    Rick Santorum is an outstanding example of a Catholic laymen. Breath of fresh air. No p c or long tortuous nuances. Just plain and simple .. Catholic. He must have received the long lost holy slap from the Bishop at Confirmation as a Soldier of Christ…and taken it seriously.

  16. Jack Hughes says:

    Perhaps Piers needs to go back to catechism class

  17. anilwang says:

    The heart of the issue is the background belief that if there is a God, he’s not involved in the world and that we’re just machines so or machines with ghosts inside them. In any case, it really doesn’t matter what a person does with another person any more than it would be morally wrong to plug head phones into the recorder jack in a computer. So all laws and customs are irrational conventions and no bit of logic can justify one lifestyle over another. So name calling, bullying, intimidation, violence, and drowning out your opponent are the only things left for you if you have a lifestyle that are illegal or stigmatized by society.

    This world view is fundamentally broken. It would mean that Mother Teresa, Hitler, and someone who does nothing but play Tamagotchi his entire life have equally praiseworthy lives. Most secularists cannot see this, except for the existentialists like Sartre and Nietzsche.

    Until we can articulate the fundamental problem with the secularist world view, nothing we say will make sense to them. We might reach someone’s heart and that might cause them to at least be non-antagonistic or even supportive (for secular reasons). We might reach someone’s soul through beauty, so that they hesitate to harm the source of the beauty they’ve been shown. But you won’t change their head or their tactics since that’s all they think they have to justify themselves.

  18. tealady24 says:

    Bravo Rick Santorum! Just keep tripping them up! They hate us because we speak the truth and to their simple minds, there is no truth, only Thursday truth at 1:46 p.m. et.
    ” I have to say that your views you espoused on this issue are bordering on bigotry, aren’t they?”
    No, I would say the senator’s views are bordering on what we call FREE SPEECH in this country, and if you don’t like something he says, (or I say) because you don’t agree with it, YOU’RE the bigot!
    Not to mention repugnantly ignorant. This is what passes for media in 2011!

  19. Pachomius says:

    I’m afraid this has nothing to do with Piers Morgan being English, or with Piers Morgan being Catholic. It has everything to do with Piers Morgan being Piers Morgan. He is the worst kind of tabloid hack. The reason he’s over in the US is because he was too rotten even for the British media. I honestly wouldn’t blame CNN. This sounds like typical Piers Moron schtick. It has nothing to do with anti-Catholicism even, really. It has everything to do with the man’s raging narcissism, furious ambition and hideous venality. In another age, we might have described him as vulgar.

    It should be no surprise to anyone on this side of the pond that Moron is still up to this kind of trick; by far the most damaging thing you can do to him, and the most appropriate form of response to him, is to ignore him, or if you can’t, to ridicule him. Anything else, experience shows, will simply feed into his endless self-promotion.

  20. Dennis Martin says:

    I also noticed, immediately, the failure to distinguish between same-sex orientation and same-sex acts. The word “homexuality” is ambiguous in this regard, and it’s a shame that Santorum didn’t notice, but it’s hard to keep track of all the points one needs to make in such a charged situation. Someone did point out the distinction half-way down the comment thread at CNN.

    Sadly, however, after thinking about it a bit, I realized that answering back with “we consider the act a sin, not the orientation” isn’t really going to help us with the intolerant gay-activists like Morgan. We do believe that the orientation is disordered, even if it’s not a sin. If we tell the gay-drones that, it’s, to them, just as bad as telling them same-sex acts are sins. For one thing, “sin” doesn’t mean anything to them. All they know is that we think sin is a Bad Thing (and we do). And that’s biogoted. But to say that the orientation itself is disordered is to say that that is a Bad Thing. So they will still call us bigots for saying the orientation is disordered.

    Nothing will satisfy them and absolve us of the accusation of bigotry except total capitulation: they do not merely want us to stop saying the acts are sins and the orientation is disordered, they will call us bigots (and will punish us for our bigotry whereever they gain power to do so) until we say, positively, that the orientation is perfectly normal (and thus the acts are perfectly normal). Nothing less will satisfy them.

  21. rollingrj says:

    Thomas Peters at his ‘blog American Papist also critiques Senator Santorum’s interview.

  22. Supertradmum says:

    I agree with you most times that you comment, but what you missed this time is that CNN chooses to hire such bigots as Piers Morgan because of his liberal views. The media is in the hands of the anti-Catholic, mediocre liberals, and has been for at least twenty years. These viewpoints are not new, but are more poignant in our increasingly divisive times. Love your art work, pray for your increased discernment. Please do not miss the fact that Piers is watched by millions of people just like him, who are being encouraged in their bigotry.

  23. Random Friar says:

    MSM is not about information. It is about ratings; it is about provoking, not thought, but controversy.

    Expect little of the MSM. When they deliver more, then we can applaud and be pleasantly surprised.

  24. Pachomius says:

    Supertradmum: Thank you very much!

    I agree that CNN did indeed hire Morgan and is therefore responsible for him ultimately (and must bear considerable blame for employing the man at all). However, I think with someone as notoriously… I think “maverick” is the word generally used here… as Morgan, they may not have much idea what he will do, at least in this instance. Yes, he is watched by millions (though considerably fewer than his rivals, mercifully), but I am hopeful that, as they become acquainted with Morgan, they will be repelled by his character and, perhaps, from his views as a consequence.

    I fear, however, that his views are very much more normal on this side of the Atlantic. With that said, I wasn’t aware he had any particularly firm views until this came up, so they may shift under sustained pressure and/or mockery and derision.

  25. Joanne says:

    “citing his allegiance to the teachings of the Catholic Church;”

    I don’t really understand why he felt (or anyone feels) the need to do this. He favors traditional marriage simply because the Catholic Church tells him to? There are common sense reasons for Catholic social teachings, like the marriage and abortion issues, that one can come to through rational thought and a sense of justice, regardless of one’s religion beliefs or lack thereof. His response should have been to turn the bigotry question back on Piers Morgan, eg, “Aren’t YOU the bigoted one? You obviously don’t like my viewpoint on this issue.”

  26. Joanne says:

    PS, I will say it’s absolutely astonishing however how quickly (and thoroughly) those of us who accept that 1. families are the building blocks of the culture and 2. the ideal for a family is married opposite sex parents with shared biological children have come to be seen as the bad guys.

  27. pjthom81 says:

    So….anybody want to try to get a group of like minded Catholics to pool resources and carry out a corporate raid on a major news network? We’re going to need to get our voice out there. (And incidently, if the culture as a whole has deluded itself into believing that there is any substitute for a child’s need for both a mother and father we badly need a wake up call.)

  28. stgemma_0411 says:

    Sadly, Mr. Santorum fell into the trap that was laid for him by CNN and the liberal media. They have labeled him as the “religious zealot” and there it shall remain because he refuses to not back down from the “accusations” and never gets on with the part about being a presidential candidate. I have yet to see anything that talks about what he would do, if he was President, in tackling the issues of the day.

    I have enormous respect for Mr. Santorum, and would vote for him if he won the GOP nomination. But he won’t get there. Much like Alan Keyes never even got close to being nominated, but for being too smart, Mr. Santorum won’t ever get the GOP nomination, because he is too Catholic. Sad…but not unexpected in today’s world.

  29. jpkvmi says:

    As Dennis Martin says above, we as Catholics don’t do a good enough job of making the distinction between homosexual acts and homosexuality. Mr. Santorum said, he accepts the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, which regards such behavior as sinful. The problem is that he didn’t make it explicitly clear to Mr. Morgan that the Catholic Church doesn’t teach that having same sex attractions is in and of itself sinful. The Catholic Church teaches that ALL sexual acts, whether hetero or homo sexual are sinful when they take place outside of a VALID marriage.

    The discussion then can go one or two ways. It can go to the morality or immorality of sex outside of marriage. Or it can go to the the definition of a VALID marriage in the eyes of the church.

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