Skip to comments.Bully Pulpit? (Jim Moran Temper) [Heard on the Hill]
Posted on 05/07/2003 4:48:33 PM PDT by BillF
As if he doesnt have enough trouble, eyewitnesses say Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) got into a nasty battle with the Rev. Michael Dobbins, a Roman Catholic priest, at the Congressmans parish of Blessed Sacrament in Alexandria, Va., this past Sunday.
Considering all of the baggage Moran has, this seat has got to be in play.
At least one other Dem is going to challenge Moran in the primary.
I hope Moran can beat the obnoxious Leslie Byrne in the Dem primary and then lose to the GOP in the general.
Moran's just an obnoxious drunk.
Right here in one of the wealthiest places on Earth, the Democratic Party is unable to obtain suitible candidates.
I wish Jim well against Leslie though. There is no way Northern Virginia should once again risk this nutcase getting into Congress again.
BTW, Jim's gumbahs with Leslie's hubby ~ no one has been asking what's really going on there but a guy married to someone like Leslie has to have some other sort of interest.
Agreed that Byrne is more obnoxious than Moran, but I hope the GOP can take the seat.
What do you mean about "Jim's gumbahs" and so forth? What does "gumbahs" mean? Sorry that I don't understand.
Are you saying that Byrne's husband is a friend of Moran?
I do NOT want to know about Byrne's private relationship with her husband or about any alleged infidelities on his part.
Jim once threatened to punch out another Representative for having questioned Leslie's husband a bit too agressively (in Jim's opinion).
Leslie is part of the gang in the Virginia State Legislature who actually tried to make it against the law to fall asleep in your rec room a few years back.
Evidently Moran was upset about the tone of the sermon, which was about abortion. In addition, some politician buddy of Moran wanted to do some glad-handling during Mass and asked if the priest could "point him out" during the liturgy. The priest had refulsed, which also got Moran's anger up.
This was really the crux of it. Apparently the Lt. Gov. (who wants to BE governor) and another Dem politician were with Moran. AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN CATHOLIC. They were looking for face time and mad that the priest didn't give it. Also, abortion came up. Blessed Sacrament is a very strong prolife parish. My husband read the story aloud to me over the phone and i was going crazy all day looking for it on FR. Thanks for posting, Bill!
"Moran was screaming and pointing his finger at him," said one parishioner who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He went ballistic."
The congressman was not yelling at Father Dobbins," Moran spokesman Dan Drummond insisted to HOH (heard on the hill). "The congressman was not the instigator. It was more of a mutual discussion."
Drummon proceeded to charge that it was "unethical" and possibly "illegal" for Dobbins to use the pulpit to slam Democrats during the Mass. "The priest inappropriately started talking about how Democrats had abandoned Catholics and how the Republican party was the party Catholics could rely on," said Drummond.
Dobbins did not return several phone messages left at the parish Tuesday, but a close friend called HOH to speak on the priest's behalf. "They are lying." the friend said of Moran's account. "That is a flat out lie."
In fact, the Rev. Bryan Belli delivered the sermon at Mass, so Dobbins said nothing that could have offended Moran. Drummond later acknowledged that he was mistaken and that Belli did deliver the sermon.
Bellie did speak about "life" issues in his sermon but did not make a political speech, according to some parishioners supportive of Dobbins. But Claudia Walker, a parishioner of 35 years who sings in the choir and is friendly with Moran, insisted the sermon was filled with references to Tuesday's race for mayor of Alexandria.
The controversy centered on the fact that Moran was attending Mass with City councilman Bill Euille and Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine. The Congressman felt that the comments about issues such as abortion and stem-cell research during the sermon were an unfair attempt to damage Euille, the Democratic candidate for mayor, just two days before the election (RollCall went to press before the results were finalized).
But Dobbins friend charged that Moran was merely upset that the parish had rebuffed a request that Euille be recognized by one of the priests during the Mass (emphasis mine). The friend argued that it was actually Moran who was inappropriately trying to inject politics into the Mass by trying to round up votes for Euille, who is not Catholic.
Regardless of what provided the spark, all sides confirm that Moran and Dobbins mixed it up after Mass. "It was somewhat intense-- they were probably two inches apart," said Waller, who stressed that Moran had acted properly. "If anyone had body language that was out of line, it was Dobbins."
According to Dobbins friend, the priest responded to Moran's anger by saying, "How can you reconcile yourself as a Catholic with your views on abortion?"
Moran's camp agrees this was not a good way to break the ice. "The congressman responded in kind that he's not changing his position, " said Drummond.
But the Dobbins friend insists it did not end there. "Moran went off the wall,"he said. "He started screaming at him. The nostrils were flaring. He said, "You priests don't know anything about abortion!"
"Congressman, put away the talking points," Dobbins shot back. "Talk to me as your priest."
Moran allegedly responded that there was "not enough time" for the duo to discuss all the congressman's problems with the church. But with Moran's woes over the years and all the speculation about how his career may be over apparently in mind, Dobbins offered a final word.
Congressman, one day you will need me," said the priest. "And I will be here."
Moran fired back that "you priests are close-minded" before other parishioners finally stepped in and tried to calm everyone down. THe Congressman has already offended some Jewish voters in his district with recent comments suggesting that the Bush administration waged war in Iraq at the behest of Israel. But Drummond suggested he's not sweating this clash.
"It was not any sort of remark about the Catholic church," Drummond said of Moran's confrontation with the priest. "I can say as a Catholic, I'm not offended."
So far as I know, the only Republican planning to run is Scott Tate.
I'm willing to bet that Mr. Drummond has no problem with Jesse and Al going into black churches and telling the congregations to vote Dimocrat.
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