Bishop Tobin: Homosexuality, the Church and Pope Francis

Gay music director was released from St. Mary’s Church after he had contracted a so-called “marriage” with his gay partner.  His Priest, Father Francesco Francese, formly met with the music director to inform him that Church policy doesn’t allow people to publicly represent the Church while living a public life in contradiction to Church teaching.  ‘

Bishop Thomas Tobin released the following statement:

When Church leaders have to respond to situations involving persons living an openly “gay lifestyle” these days, we’re often scolded and told that we should be “more like Pope Francis,” presumably the “Who-am-I-to judge” Pope Francis.

  • Perhaps those critics should also remember the Pope Francis who said that same-sex marriage is destructive of families and is the work of the devil.
  • And the Pope Francis who has now supported the Mexican Bishops’ campaign to oppose gay marriage in their country.
  • And the Pope Francis who rejected the nomination of the Ambassador from France because the Ambassador is openly gay.
  • And the Pope Francis whose administration immediately fired and disciplined a priest who was working in the Vatican upon learning that the priest was gay and involved in a relationship.

It seems to me, then, that when we uphold the faith and teachings of the Church about homosexuality, we are indeed a lot like Pope Francis.

Bishop Tobin: Don’t Be Fooled

Catholics: Vote Pro-Life

By Bishop Thomas Tobin: As the primary election draws near in Rhode Island, I encourage faithful Catholics to vote pro-life – and never to vote for any candidate, of any party, who supports abortion.

And don’t be fooled by those who say they “aren’t pro-abortion, but are just pro-choice.” It’s a smoke screen for what they really believe, but are afraid to admit. After all, what kind of choice are they promoting? They’re not talking about choosing a favorite ice cream flavor, are they? And it’s not about so-called “reproductive freedom or women’s health care” either. Clearly, politicians who support abortion are encouraging a choice that ends the life of an innocent human being and ultimately harms the mother, personally and spiritually!

As Pope Francis has reminded us: “It is not progressive to try to resolve problems by eliminating human life.” (EG #214)

Bishop Tobin Rejects Abortion Supporting Governor’s Invitation

Pole Alert:  The Providence Journal is conducting a poll.  “Should Bishop Tobin have accepted Governor-elect Raimondo’s invitation to her inauguration?”  With over 3000 votes Bishop Tobin only has 960 votes.  Please show your support for the Bishop and click here to vote.

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.

Planned-Parenthood-Supporting Catholic Politicians: “A Pathetic Spectacle”

Bishop Tobin, “Abortion is a sin, and those who provide it, promote it,
and support it will be held accountable by Almighty God”

The Gospel of life must be proclaimed, and human life defended in all places and all times. The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government, but the voting booth as well. (American Bishops, “Living the Gospel of Life”)

by Bishop Thomas Tobin:  Prior to the recent primary election I received a heartfelt letter from a member of the Diocese who had just discovered that the candidate for whom she had intended to vote was “pro-choice and for same-sex marriage.” She wrote: “Dear Bishop Tobin, for whom do I vote? Do I vote at all?”

I responded to my letter-writer that it wasn’t appropriate for me to suggest candidates for whom she should or shouldn’t vote, but that it was important for her to become well-informed about the candidates and their positions, pray about it, and then vote according to her well formed conscience. I told her that I often faced the same dilemma. I also sent her a copy of the American Bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” that places in a broader context some of these important political decisions.

Bishop Thomas Tobin

Bishop Thomas Tobin

It’s a real problem that many faithful Catholics face these days – how to vote when all of the candidates are pro-abortion. (Candidates euphemistically call it “pro-choice” but it’s really a stance that enables and promotes abortion, isn’t it?)

The dilemma is more excruciating when the candidates profess to be lifelong Catholics. As I said in my recent statement about Catholic politicians and abortion, “It is always disappointing when a Catholic candidate for political office abandons the teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life for the sake of self-serving political gain. Such actions demonstrate an inexcusable lack of moral courage . . . Abortion is a sin, and those who provide it, promote it, and support it will be held accountable by Almighty God for the unjust death of unborn children.”

What a pathetic spectacle Catholic candidates present when, having to choose between Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Church, they choose Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in our nation. Do these candidates have no respect for the religious heritage of their parents and grandparents? Have they no appreciation for the sacraments, the solid education, the communal support, and the moments of comfort and guidance the Church has provided for their family over many generations? And I wonder – when in the future these candidates are in need of prayers and blessings, the Last Rites of the Church, and then finally funeral services – will they turn to Planned Parenthood or the Catholic Church to stand by their side?

The Bishops’ document to which I’ve already referred gives some guidance in these questions. It explains, first of all, the importance of the virtue of prudence. “The Church fosters well-formed consciences not only by teaching moral truth, but also by encouraging its members to develop the virtue of prudence. Prudence enables us to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it.” (#19)

The Bishops then get a little more specific about voting. “Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. That is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience.” (#34) And this: “When all the candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma.” (#36)

And that brings us back to the question posed by my letter writer: “Bishop Tobin, for whom do I vote?”

If we distill the guidance of the Church, it seems to me that when no candidate presents an acceptable position, especially about critical moral issues like abortion, the voter has three options.

 

3 Voting Options  When Both Candidates Support Abortion

The first is to choose the candidate who, in traditional terms, is the lesser of two evils. Let’s just say, for example, that one candidate promotes an extreme position on abortion, welcomes the endorsement of and eagerly embraces the evil agenda of Planned Parenthood, supports partial-birth abortion, and disdains the sincere convictions of pro-lifers; and another candidate would restrict abortion in some circumstances, opposes taxpayer funding of abortions, and is willing to work with and respect pro-lifers – a voter might properly choose the second candidate even though the position is flawed.

Secondly, as a kind of protest, a voter could decide to write-in the name of someone who represents pro-life values. In this scenario, one might vote for St. John Paul, Pope Francis, Mother Teresa, or our own local pro-life hero, Baby Angela! Even though this person surely wouldn’t be elected to office, a vote in that direction would send a clear signal that at least some voters won’t settle for anything less than a pro-life candidate. Contrary to what critics will charge, it’s not a wasted vote; it’s a sincere expression of conscience that upholds moral truth. And that’s never a waste!

Finally, a voter might well decide to skip this year’s election and not vote at all, or at least not vote for a particular office. Although Catholics have a general moral obligation to participate in the life of our nation, there are many ways to do that, and there’s certainly no obligation to vote in each and every election, particularly when the options are repugnant to the well-informed conscientious Christian voter.

I know, it’s a tough time to be a moral, pro-life voter. The field is narrow and the options are few. But, vote according to your conscience, pray for our state and nation, and sleep well. Remember,

God’s still in charge!

 

Slight editing.

Mandela from a Christian Perspective . . .

Mandela’s Support of Abortion “Shameful”

(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)-The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, today offered the following statement regarding the death of Nelson Mandela.

 

Nelson Mandela: Charitably give thanks for the good and plead Mercy for the bad.

“Many people around the world and in our own nation are mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela. Indeed there is much to admire in Mandela’s long life and public service, particularly his personal courage and his stalwart defense of human rights.

There is part of President Mandela’s legacy, however, that is not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa. In 1996 Mandela promoted and signed into law the “Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Bill” that, according to the New York Times, “replaced one of the world’s toughest abortion laws with one of the most liberal.”

While we pray for the peaceful repose of President Mandela’s immortal soul and the forgiveness of his sins, we can only regret that his noble defense of human dignity did not include the youngest members of our human family, unborn children.”

Catholics: Examine Your Consciences Very Carefully Before Endorsing “Same-Sex Marrige”

“Same-Sex Marriage” Is Clearly Contrary To God’s Plan For The Human Family.  Catholics Who Endorse Evil Damage Their Relationship With God.

By:  Bishop Thomas Tobin

My dear Brothers and Sisters,TobinBishopThomas

Since the legislative approval of “same-sex marriage” in Rhode Island, a number of people have requested that I offer some guidance on this development. It is for that purpose that I write at this time. In particular I wish to invite members of the Catholic Church in Rhode Island to a moment of prayer and reflection as we respond to this new challenge of the post-Christian era into which, clearly, we have now entered.

First, like many others, I am profoundly disappointed that Rhode Island has approved legislation that seeks to legitimize “same-sex marriage.” The Catholic Church has fought very hard to oppose this immoral and unnecessary proposition, and we are most grateful to all those who have courageously joined us in this effort. When all is said and done, however, we know that God will be the final judge of our actions.

As I have emphasized consistently in the past, the Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. I sincerely pray for God’s blessings upon them, that they will enjoy much health, happiness and peace. We also offer our prayerful support to families, especially parents, who often struggle with this issue when it occurs in their own homes.

Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15)

At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.

Despite this serious regression in the public morality of our state we need to recognize that there are other major issues that demand our attention. We must continue to engage our culture, remembering that Jesus called us to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” (Mt 5:13-14) Be assured, therefore, that the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Providence will continue its mission of preaching the Gospel, advocating for what is right and just, and serving the needs of our community to the very best of our ability.

Without a doubt this is a time of challenge, even disappointment for many of us, but it is also an opportunity to be steadfast and courageous, and to renew our commitment to Christ and His Church. As our Lord Jesus Christ told us, “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33)

Dear brothers and sisters, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, may God be with you as you continue your journey of faith, and may He bless you and your families with His finest gifts, now and always.

Originally posted at:  www.diocesepvd.org

“Gay Marriage” and the Politically Correct Winds of Change

… It Opens Up All Sorts of Other Social Experiments For Us, Doesn’t It?

The proposal to legalize “same-sex marriage” in the State of Rhode Island is immoral and unnecessary. Despite enormous political pressure, the General Assembly should stand firm, resist the current fashionable trend, and continue to uphold its longstanding commitment to marriage as traditionally defined.
The multiple problems associated with “homosexual marriage” have been explained in this space on many occasions in the past.

Bishop Thomas Tobin

Bishop Thomas Tobin

The proposal to legalize same-sex marriage is an attempt to redefine the institution of marriage as it has existed in every culture from the very beginning of human history. Marriage between a man and a woman was designed by God for two specific purposes: to affirm the complementary roles of males and females in a loving relationship, and to provide a stable foundation for the procreation and raising of children. Homosexual relationships can achieve neither of those goals.

Secondly, homosexual marriage enshrines into civil law immoral activity. The natural law, the Holy Scriptures, and long-standing religious tradition are very consistent in affirming that homosexual activity is sinful, contrary to God’s plan. It should never be encouraged, ratified or “blessed” by the state. It’s important to emphasize once again, however, that while rejecting homosexual activity, the Catholic Church has consistently promoted respect and pastoral care for individuals with same-sex attraction. They are children of God and our brothers and sisters. They are invited to be members of our churches. It is our very concern for their spiritual welfare, however, that motivates our rejection of the homosexual lifestyle and same-sex marriage.

Next, the concept of same-sex marriage is an untested social experiment with unpredictable long-term outcomes. The marriage of man and woman is, and always has been, the fundamental building block of the human family and human culture. One cannot tinker with this societal DNA without risking unknown changes to the structure of our society, especially as it relates to the proper upbringing of children.

Another real problem to consider is that the establishment of same-sex marriage would pose yet another threat to religious freedom. Proponents of same-sex marriage have frequently proclaimed that no religious institution will be obliged to officiate at marriages that are contrary to their beliefs. That may or may not prove to be true. But what is of equal concern, however, is that religious bodies will be obliged to extend their resources, facilities and benefits to individuals who are living in immoral relationships – contrary to sincerely held religious beliefs. This is not a hypothetical situation; it’s already happening throughout our nation.

An additional recent development that argues very strongly against the ratification of same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is that the U.S. Supreme Court has now agreed to hear two cases that will profoundly affect the legal status of marriage in our country. As early as this summer the Supreme Court might rule that the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” is constitutional and enforceable; or that states must recognize homosexual unions; or that each state has the right to make its own decision in this matter. In any event, why is Rhode Island spending time and energy on this issue right now when the Supreme Court might make the decision for us? Let’s wait and see what the Supreme Court determines before we engage in this emotionally-charged and divisive battle once again.

A final point. If we are in fact forced to discuss the nature of matrimony in our state, it should be placed before the general public in a referendum. The proposal to redefine marriage as a fundamental structure in our culture is a very serious issue with profound consequences. I suspect that people on both sides of the issue agree with that. On a question of this magnitude, then, the people of this state should decide as they have in many other states. Let us vote!

Some have argued that the “civil rights” of the minority should not be determined by the vote of the majority. I challenge that premise though. What is the source of this so-called “civil right?” Where is the moral or legal “right” to marry a person of the same gender found? It certainly has not been part of the human experience, of human history. Is it simply the personal happiness or fulfillment of individuals, the “right to do whatever I want to do?” If that’s the argument, it opens up all sorts of other social experiments for us, doesn’t it?

It has been said that “the world is changing” and that we need to get with the times. Well, it’s certainly true that the world is changing, but the truth is that not all change is good. It’s never good to accept and promote immoral activity; it’s never good to experiment dangerously with the long-term well-being of the community; it’s never good to impose a politically-correct, socially-fashionable agenda item on the entire community, especially if it challenges the conscience and religious liberty of many, many citizens.

As the General Assembly takes up the question of permitting same sex marriage once again, I urge members of the Diocese of Providence and other concerned citizens to contact their state representatives and senators immediately to encourage them to stand firm; to protect the traditional values of marriage and family and reject same-sex marriage. Dear friends, now is the time to practice your faith and let your voice be heard!

And I urge members of the General Assembly who have in the past defended the institution of marriage – as designed by God and traditionally defined in our society – to do so once again. Be strong in your convictions; don’t be intimidated by the politically correct winds of change. May you have the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it!

This Is A Serious Attack on Religious Freedom

Bishop Thomas Tobin

Bishop Thomas Tobin

War Monument Cross is to Religious For Atheist Group

by Dee DeQuattro:  Bishop Thomas Tobin says the challenge to the war monument that features a cross in Woonsocket by a Wisconsin atheist group is a “serious attack on religious expression and religious freedom” and that the atheists are bullying those who have faith.

“The majority now is being bullied by the minority, by the atheists and by the secularists and we feel like we are on the defensive, we are being bullied and that is not a good feeling to have,” Tobin told WPRO’s John DePetro.

“We are seeing a slow but steady erosion of a basic American value and that is the freedom of religious expression,” said Bishop Tobin. Tobin said the cross should not be taken down but he is open to relocating it to an area of more prominence where it will not be an “issue.” Mayor Leo Fontaine of Woonsocket said he is looking at spaces on private land that the monument could be relocated to if necessary. A rally scheduled for next Wednesday May, 2 at 4:30 p.m. at the monument aims to urge the city to keep the monument where it is.

Tobin told John DePetro that religion is everywhere in American society and various faiths are represented. He said that it is impossible for someone “offended” by the presence of religion to avoid it completely so they need to come to terms with it. “It is very hard to be immune to all that. If people are offended by that they have to deal with their issues,” said Tobin. “They cannot live in a bubble. They cannot isolate themselves completely from every religious expression in our nation, in our culture, in our society.”

Tobin said he does not believe the monument violates the separation of church and state despite accusations from the Freedom from Religion Foundation that the memorial is an egregious violation of the constitution. “This certainly has nothing to do with the separation of church and state. This is not the establishment of a denomination, it is not the establishment of a particular church by the state,” said Tobin, “this is a cultural symbol, this is a religious symbol that speaks to most of our people especially when it is dedicated to our war veterans I think it has a very special reverence.”

Tobin described a cross or a Star of David as a very basic expression of faith and said they are very natural symbols for U.S. citizens. Tobin said this challenge is a “very grave threat to our way of life as Americans and our freedom of religion.”

Tobin said that Rhode Islanders are in a battle for the cross and he hope that the cross will come out on top. “This whole debate about the cross is taking place during Easter season when we celebrate a victory of the cross, so, I think we need another victory of the cross in Woonsocket and I hope that will ultimately prevail,” said Tobin.

Dee DeQuattro | WPRO News