Bishop Tobin Rejects Abortion Supporting Governor’s Invitation

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BY KAREN LEE ZINER, Providence Journal Staff Write

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

PROVIDENCE — Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said Monday he rejected an invitation this past weekend to attend Governor-elect Gina Raimondo’s inauguration, because of her stance on “the grave moral evil” of abortion.

“Over the weekend I did receive a formal written invitation to the Inauguration, the courtesy of which I appreciated,” Tobin wrote in an email Monday night in response to a Providence Journal inquiry.  “However, as previously announced I will be offering Holy Mass at the Cathedral at that same time to ask for God’s blessings upon our state and nation and our public servants.

“I should add, though, that in conscience, it would always be a problem for me personally to attend the inauguration of any public official who promotes or supports abortion, which we consider to be a very grave moral evil,” the bishop wrote.  Tobin had sharply criticized Raimondo during her campaign for her support for abortion rights.

A Raimondo spokeswoman could not be reached for a response Monday before deadline.

As he did four years ago, Tobin will offer a noon Mass at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul to offer prayers for newly elected leaders, as “a Prayer to Our Nation.”  This marks the second time in at least 24 years that no Catholic bishop will be present at the State House to offer prayers at the inauguration ceremony for a new governor, according to Journal reports.  In 2011, then-Governor-elect Lincoln D. Chafee, an Episcopalian, broke with tradition and decided against having a Catholic bishop offer prayers at the inaugural ceremony.

The Rev. Edward L. Pieroni, pastor of St. Raymond Roman Catholic Church in Providence where Raimondo is a parishioner, will be one of six religious leaders from different faiths participating in the inauguration.  Raimondo will attend a 9 a.m. Mass at St. Raymond, on North Main Street, before the inauguration.  “It’s their regular weekday Mass,” said diocesan spokeswoman Karen Davis. The governor-elect “wanted to start the day with prayer at her parish.”  The Rhode Island Catholic, the diocesan newspaper, reported last month that Tobin “had previously indicated” that he did not intend to attend Tuesday’s inauguration.

Tobin said the noon Mass will mark “an opportunity for us to gather as a faith community to ask for God’s blessing upon our nation and our state at a time when there are so many challenges and issues to be dealt with.”

The day after the election, Tobin told WPRO News that he and Raimondo “have had a nice little exchange of correspondence,” and he was hoping “to build some bridges,” after he’d criticized her endorsement by the pro-choice group Planned Parenthood.

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9 comments to Bishop Tobin Rejects Abortion Supporting Governor’s Invitation

  • Luis


    Thank you, Bishop Tobin, for your courage. This family prays for you and all orthodox, committed, sincere, loyal, devoted, devout, fervent, submissive–as we ALL must be, bishops, priests, religious, and lay people in the ONE, TRUE, HOLY CHURCH.

  • Eileen Dunn

    I’ll support you. Too bad more priests will not stand with you.
    you Will be in my prayers.Eileen

  • Bishop Tobin is a hero. His leadership will inspire people in every walk of life to stand up for their Faith.
    Thank you, Bishop Tobin, from all your fans in Pittsburgh.

  • Mary Seri

    I stand with the bishop. abortion is always wrong and those who support it need to be told in the strongest way that we can.

  • Mary Schaefer

    Thank you bishop, we need the voice of Jesus so much in these days, and you are Him.

  • God bless Bishop Tobin for upholding the teaching of our Catholic Church. All cardinals, bishops and priests should be as courageous as he is.

    All Catholics should learn from and stand by him.

  • ND Pullis

    God Bless you for taking the correct stance. I stand with you. You are in my prayers.

  • Barry Morgan

    Congratulations to Bishop Tobin. We need many more like him.

  • Mrs Diane L Logan

    I totally support Bishop Tobin’s stance. I would go even further and make it a point to deny this woman who not only favors abortion but advocates for it legally to be denied communion. Let her avail herself of those ‘sacrements’ offered at Planned Parenthood instead.

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