McShane Appears on MSNBC to Discuss Pope


University President Rev. Joseph M. McShane addressed the question of “Who is the Fordham community?” in an email on Oct. 15.


On Saturday, Sept. 26, Fr. Joseph McShane S.J., president of Fordham University, appeared as a commentator on MSNBC during Chris Matthews’ coverage of Pope Francis in Philadelphia. McShane appeared as a voice on the program, during a live stream of the Pope celebrating mass in Philadelphia.

Matthews has a prior history with Fordham University, as he was the commencement speaker for the Fordham graduating class of 2006. He acknowledged this when talking to McShane, and mentioned their mutual acquaintance, Senator Chuck Schumer, who spoke at commencement in 2015, though not as the keynote.

McShane was brought on to talk about the history of the Catholic Church in New York, and how in the words of Matthews, “the cardinal of New York works as a civic leader.” Matthews referenced Cardinal Timothy Dolan who delivered a welcome to the Pope from the archdiocese of New York at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sept. 24.

McShane responded that, “it goes back to the first archbishop John Hughes, who was this enormous civic figure, not always loved, but someone that everyone had to contend with,” and noted the historically aggressive personality of the bishop known as ‘Dagger John.’

Hughes also founded St. John’s College in 1841, which later became Fordham University

“[Hughes] set a role that all of his successors in the role played their part in,” McShane continued. “Part of the reason they have these personalities is because they have to work with the mayor and other civic leaders.”

The discussion was cut short by Matthews, “out of respect to mass starting in the church.”