Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island received an invitation in the mail recently from none other than Rudy Giuliani. The politician was inviting the bishop come to a fundraising dinner for his 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 diocesan newspaper, the 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. The bishop also explained, “But then I received an invitation to attend a fundraising luncheon for presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, and that absolutely confirmed my decision.”
Tobin went on to explain why he felt the need 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 of the politician’s standpoint on abortion, “Rudy’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 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 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 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.”