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Evangelization, Live: Bishop Barron Gently Schools MSNBC’s Williams, Matthews


During the Pope’s visit to America, I had the privilege of commenting for NBC News and for MSNBC. Twice I was on for extended periods with Brian Williams, the former anchor for NBC Nightly News, and twice with Chris Matthews, the host of Hardball. I must say that both men are very good at what they do, namely, keeping a conversation going among several different people with varying points of view and assuring that things stay sufficiently lively and interesting. Like most gifted people, they make their particular work seem effortless, but it is a delicate and dangerous high-wire act that they are performing—and all on live television. Williams is a cool customer with a sly sense of humor, and I might add a surprisingly detailed knowledge of motor vehicles and aircraft, whereas Matthews is more passionate, brash, and unpredictable. I enjoyed spending time with both of them.

A theme to which Chris Matthews returned again and again was the role of women in the Church. Like most liberally minded Catholics, he thinks that women get the short end of the stick most of the time and that simple justice demands that they be given equal opportunity. Once he baldly introduced the subject to me this way: “Bishop, isn’t it true that, in the Catholic Church, the management is all male while the women do most of the grunt work? Why can’t women be priests?”

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