Monday, June 25, 2007


Rudy Giuliani may have ducked the lightining around the CNN studios in a previous debate. But, he did not fare as well with the wrath of a Catholic bishop. The following article is from Catholic News.

CNA: Bishop replies to Giuliani solicitation with scathing letter criticizing Catholic candidate’sbortion stance


Catholic News Agency (
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (CNA) – Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence received an invitation in the mail recently from Rudy Giuliani, inviting the Catholic leaders to a fundraising dinner for his U.S. presidential campaign.

But Bishop Tobin did more than just politely decline. Instead of sending a non-descript RSVP to inform Giuliani that he would not attend, the prelate wrote him a scathing letter to turn down his offer. According to the official newspaper of the Providence Diocese, Rhode Island Catholic, Bishop Tobin was already greatly “distressed” before he received the invitation to the fundraiser and was planning on writing about the matter already.

“But then I received an invitation to attend a fundraising luncheon for presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, and that absolutely confirmed my decision,” he explained. Bishop Tobin said he felt he needed to write a response. “I have no idea why I received an invitation to Giuliani’s fundraiser. I don’t know the [former] mayor; I’ve never met him. I try to avoid partisan politics. But most of all, I would never support a candidate who supports legalized abortion.”

The bishop said the politician’s “public proclamations on abortion are pathetic and confusing. Even worse, they’re hypocritical.” Giuliani previously provided explanations of his position on abortion stating that he had two pillars of belief. “One is I believe abortion is wrong. I think it is morally wrong. … The second pillar that guides my thinking … where [people of good faith] come to different conclusions about this, about something so very, very personal, I believe you have to respect their viewpoint.”

Reacting to this statement, Bishop Tobin wrote, “Rudy’s explanation is a classic expression of the position on abortion we’ve heard from weak-kneed politicians so frequently in recent years: “I’m personally opposed to but don’t want to impose my views on other people.”
“The incongruity of that position has been exposed many times now. As I’ve asked previously, would we let any politician get away with the same pathetic cop-out on other issues: ‘I’m personally opposed to … racial discrimination, sexual abuse, prostitution, drug abuse, polygamy, incest … but don’t want to impose my beliefs on others?’”

Bishop Tobin also addressed the issue of how politicians’ decisions in the public sphere affect their relationship with the Catholic Church. “Rudy’s preposterous position is compounded by the fact that he professes to be a Catholic. As Catholics, we are called, indeed required, to be pro-life, to cherish and protect human life as a precious gift of God from the moment of conception until the time of natural death. As a leader, as a public official, Rudy Giuliani has a special obligation in that regard,” said Bishop Tobin. In the invitation for the event, mention was made of having a photo taken with Giuliani for $1,500.

Referring to this offer, Bishop Tobin told the organizers, “I won’t be attending the fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani. If Rudy wants to see me, he’ll have to arrange an appointment at my office. We’ll talk about his position on abortion. And if he wants a photo [of me], it will cost him $1,500 as a donation for the pro-life work of the church.”

Bishop Tobin’s letter was raised during the June 5 Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire. Moderator Wolf Blitzer from CNN asked Giuliani about Bishop Tobin’s criticism of his position on abortion.

Just as Giuliani attempted to answer, lightning struck the building and caused problems to the sound system. When the former mayor tried to answer the question a second time, lightning struck the building again accompanied by a loud clap of thunder. When the other two candidates heard the thunder a second time they both slowly and quietly backed away from Giuliani. Making light of the situation, Giuliani quipped, "Look, for someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that's happening right now."
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