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Monday, November 23, 2009

Scratch a fundamentalist, find a Pittsburgh native

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 7:49 PM

There's been a lot of talk about how Bishop Thomas Tobin, who heads the Catholic Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, has urged Congressman Patrick Kennedy to not take Communion because Kennedy supports abortion rights.

And wouldn't you just know it, Tobin is a Pittsburgh native. I haven't heard anything about the local connection since the Kennedy brouhaha blew up, but a few years back, the Providence Journal did a series on Tobin noting his Pittsburgh roots, right down to the fact that "He was a great fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, of Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris and their four Super Bowl titles in six years." The story also notes that at the ceremony installing him as bishop, Tobin

struck a note of levity. He mentioned having already received many letters, including from one fifth-grade student who admonished him for enthusiastically following Pittsburgh football. He read from it.

"I heard you are a Steelers fan," the child wrote. "I am a Pats fan. We are all Pats fans. Too bad for you!"

The bishop paused, then added, to laughter: "Obviously, I have a lot of work to do up here!"

The Journal even featured a 1973 video of Tobin's ordination here in Pittsburgh. (He's the young guy with the thick-framed glasses, though he doesn't say much.) 

So I guess you can put Tobin's name on the roster of people who left Pittsburgh to become prominent exponents of conservative ideals. Put it right there below folks like Orrin Hatch and Rush Limbaugh.

Sadly, Tobin doesn't exactly do his hometown proud in this exchange about Kennedy with Chris Matthews. Starting around the six-and-a-half minute mark, you start to feel like Saint Sebastian got off easy.

 

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