Who Is Bishop Thomas Tobin? New Details On The Catholic Priest Who Urged People To Not Take Part In Pride Activities

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Who Is Bishop Thomas Tobin? New Details On The Catholic Priest Who Urged People To Not Take Part In Pride Activities

Sigh. This is all just so tiresome — all the people rallying againt Pride month and the LGBTQIA community. Love is love. Live and let live. What's that saying mostly attributed to Ghandi? "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Well here we have one more example of a Catholic priest — a bishop in this case — who is counseling his Rhode Island flock that they should not participate in or support Pride events. On June 1st, Bishop Thomas Tobin tweeted: "A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ 'Pride Month' events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children." There are things I could say about the Catholic church and children, particularly young boys, but that's not what this article is about. This article is about the fossil who tweeted the anti-Pride sentiment. Who is Bishop Thomas Tobin?

1. Rhode Island Pride's reaction

As you can imagine, the tweet brought about backlash from LGBT groups, including Rhode Island Pride. The group responded to Bishop Tobin's tweet, writing: "This Bishop doesn't represent a majority of RI Catholics who overwhelmingly supported marriage equality 6 years ago. Love is love. You sir are filled with hate." Rhode Island Pride's Joe Lazzerini expanded on this tweet on June 1st, saying: “Rhode Island Pride respectfully calls on Bishop Tobin to do some self-reflection as the majority of Catholic Rhode Islanders in this state reject the idea that to be Catholic is to be complicit to intolerance, bigotry, and fear. Many Catholics are LGBTQIA+ and allies to our community, who participate in the love and diversity that is Rhode Island Pride. All are welcome to enjoy a safe, fun, and prideful celebration on Saturday, June 15th.” Even the mayor of Providence Jorge Elorza chimed in, saying: "A reminder that Providence is a place where all people are welcome to celebrate Pride this month. We stand with and support our LGBTQIA+ community here this June and every day in our capital city.” A protest was organzied in response to Tobin's tweet.

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2. He's been Bishop of Providence since 2005

His biography on the Diocese of Providence states that Bishop Thomas J. Tobin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1948. He graduated from St. Francis University in 1969 and went on to pursue graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of San Anselmo in Rome He was ordained in 1973 and worked as an assistant pastor in Pittsburgh. Pope John Paul II appointed him Auxilliary Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1992. In 1996, Tobin was named Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio. In 2005, he was named Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island. 

3. He won't investigate sexual abuse in the Church

In 2018, The Providence Journal reported that Bishop Tobin was well aware of the allegation of sexual abuse in the Church while he was Auxilliary Bishop of Pittsburgh. He told the newspaper that he was aware of the abuse while it was happening. He said: “My responsibilities as Vicar General and General Secretary of the diocese did not include clergy assignments or clergy misconduct, but rather other administrative duties such as budgets, property, diocesan staff, working with consultative groups, etc.” A grand jury report found that more than 1,000 victims of sexual abuse by priests had come forward but the Catholic Church covered it up for 70 years.

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4. He is strictly pro-life and conservative

Bishop Tobin has posted controversial tweets before. In June 2018, he tweeted that Catholic politicians who support abortion "should be ashamed of themselves." The full tweet, which has since been deleted, said: “The sight of so many politicians scurrying around to protect abortion is truly sad. Self-professed Catholic pols who do so should be ashamed of themselves. Note well: Support of abortion is contrary to God’s will, a betrayal of the faith, and a cause of scandal.” He is so pro-life that he has refused to serve Communion to Representative Patrick Kennedy due to his support of abortion rights. In fact, he confirmed in a statement that it he told Kennedy that it would be "inappropriate" for him to take Communion due to his political stance.

5. He is against same-sex marriage

In 2013, Tobin officiallly switched his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. He told the National Catholic Register: “Abortion and same-sex “marriage” and the involvement of Planned Parenthood were not only accepted — they were promoted. The party has become more aggressive in promoting activities and commitments that are foreign to me. Finally, I decided that I could not in conscience maintain my party affiliation.” When Rhode Island legalized same sex marriage in 2013, he told The Providence Journal: “I was profoundly disappointed that the state moved in that direction and that so many Catholic politicians abandoned ship on this issue. This was a critical issue, and they let us down.”

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RELATED: My Pride, My Way: A Gay Man's Coming Out Story

6. He welcomes refugees and helps the poor

Despite his draconian stance on same sex marriage and abortion, Bishop Tobin has spoken out about Syrian refugees. In 2015, he told WPRI: “It would be wrong for our nation and our state to refuse to accept refugees simply because they are Syrian or Muslim.” He has also created a number of programs in his Diocese that provide help to the homeless and low income residents of Providence.

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.