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slides: Controversial Comments by Bishop Tobin Over the Years

Thursday, September 17, 2015

 

Bishop Tobin

From abortion and gay marriage to Pope Francis, Rhode Island’s Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin is not afraid to speak his mind. Here are some of his more controversial quotations over the years. 

 

Related Slideshow: Bishop Tobin on Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Pope Francis

Below are some of the more controversial or noteworthy statements of Rhode Island Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin covering a range of issues, from abortion to atheism, from Catholic politicians to the new pope.

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Carbon Sins

“‘Laudato Si’ has been enthusiastically embraced by the American Bishops and we’ve urged our fellow Catholics to take action to protect the environment. But shouldn’t we bishops be giving a good example too? For the sake of reducing carbon emissions, might we consider reducing our national and international travel—especially the number of meetings and programs we schedule and attend? After all, as a story in the New York Times awhile back pointed-out, ‘Your biggest carbon sin might be air travel.’ I offer this as a serious consideration, not to be snarky. After all, Pope Francis has encouraged us not to be ‘airport bishops,’ hasn’t he?”

- Bishop Tobin column “Without a Doubt” in The Rhode Island Catholic, June 25, 2015

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Modern Technology

“When it comes to machines and communication, and lots of other things I guess, I prefer the 20th century (mid-20th century actually) to the 21st century.

Here’s my confession: My computer skills are very basic; I don’t know a DVR from a VCR; I’ve heard about Netflix and Blu-Ray but don’t really know what they are; I prefer CDs to iTunes, real books to iBooks, and actual photos to Instagrams; I don’t own an iPod, an iPad or a laptop; I don’t use online banking and insist on having a real paycheck in hand rather than a direct deposit; and I really dislike having to refill my growing list of prescriptions online.”

- Bishop Tobin column “Without a Doubt” in the Rhode Island Catholic, April 16, 2015

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Elorza’s Atheism

“I should emphasize that being an atheist would neither recommend nor disqualify him from being Mayor of Providence. But I wonder if an atheist mayor would be in a position to respect the sincere convictions of believers (of all faiths) and to encourage and support the many contributions the faith community makes in our city and state. 

So, can anyone help determine: Is Jorge Elorza an atheist or not? It would be good to know before Election Day.”

- Bishop Tobin Facebook post, October 21, 2014

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Pope Francis’ ‘Mess’

“Pope Francis is fond of ‘creating a mess.’ Mission accomplished.”

- Bishop Tobin Facebook post on the Synod on the Family, October 21, 2014

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Counter-Cultural Church

“In trying to accommodate the needs of the age, as Pope Francis suggests, the Church risks the danger of losing its courageous, counter-cultural, prophetic voice, a voice that the world needs to hear.”

- Bishop Tobin Facebook post on the Synod on the Family, October 21, 2014

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Acting Like Protestants

“The concept of having a representative body of the Church voting on doctrinal applications and pastoral solutions strikes me as being rather Protestant.”

- Bishop Tobin Facebook post on the Synod on the Family, October 21, 2014 

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'Half-Baked' Documents

“Have we learned that it’s probably not a good idea to publish half-baked minutes of candid discussions about sensitive topics, especially when we know that the secular media will hijack the preliminary discussions for their own agendas?”

- Bishop Tobin Facebook post on the Synod on the Family, October 21, 2014 

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Divine Providence

“Relax. God’s still in charge.”

- Bishop Tobin Facebook post on the Synod on the Family, October 21, 2014 

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Divorced Catholics

“I often think about, and truly agonize over, the many divorced Catholics who have ‘dropped-out’ of the Church completely, as well as those who attend Mass faithfully every Sunday, sometimes for years, without receiving the consolation and joy of the Holy Eucharist. And I know that I would much rather give Holy Communion to these long-suffering souls than to pseudo-Catholic politicians who parade up the aisle every Sunday for Holy Communion and then return to their legislative chambers to defy the teachings of the Church by championing same-sex marriage and abortion.”

- Bishop Tobin column “Without a Doubt” in the Rhode Island Catholic, September 18, 2014

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Abortion Obsession

“Our commitment to human life is important. Some have said that this commitment can be an obsession. If it’s an obsession to protect unborn life, then it’s a very important obsession.”

- Bishop Tobin at a rally outside Planned Parenthood, as cited in the Boston Globe on December 10, 2013

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Nelson Mandela

 “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.”

- Bishop Tobin statement on the passing of Nelson Mandela, December 8, 2013

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Being Catholic

“Being a Catholic does not mean having to choose between doctrine and charity, between truth and love. It includes both. We are grateful to Pope Francis for reminding us of that vision.”

- Bishop Tobin statement in response to Pope Francis interview with the Italian newspaper, La Civiltà Cattolica, September 20, 2013

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Pope Francis on Abortion

“I’m a little bit disappointed in Pope Francis that he hasn’t, at least that I’m aware of, said much about unborn children, about abortion, and many people have noticed that. I think it would be very helpful if Pope Francis would address more directly the evil of abortion and to encourage those who are involved in the pro-life movement. It’s one thing for him to reach out and embrace and kiss little children and infants as he has on many occasions. It strikes me that it would also be wonderful if in a spiritual way he would reach out and embrace and kiss unborn children.”

- Bishop Tobin as cited in the Rhode Island Catholic, September 12, 2013

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Pope Francis Surprises

“Although Pope Francis presents a very simple, humble, gentle persona, it would be a huge mistake to underestimate him. In times past he has acted and spoken very forcefully on important issues. In Argentina he challenged his own priests to leave the safety of their churches and go out to evangelize and take care of the poor. And he was fearless in challenging the civil government on issues like abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage. I suspect we’ll see some very dramatic words and gestures from this pope.”

- Bishop Tobin on the election of Pope Francis in his column “Without a Doubt” in The Rhode Island Catholic, March 21, 2013

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Gay Marriage

“[H]omosexual 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.”

- Bishop Tobin column “Without a Doubt” in the Rhode Island Catholic, January 7, 2013

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Woonsocket Cross

“These public battles involve the attempt to remove God from the public square and to render our society sterile and bereft of moral values. It’s an attempt to create a nation without a spiritual vision, without a soul. 

- Bishop Tobin at rally in support of Woonsocket Memorial Cross, May 2, 2012

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Death of God

“Without a doubt there will be other attacks on religious freedom. And if you and I don’t stand up to oppose these initiatives then we are complicit in the death of God in our culture. I don’t know if, in the end, we will fail or succeed, but I promise you this: I will be faithful and I will stand with you.”

- Bishop Tobin at rally in support of Woonsocket Memorial Cross, May 2, 2012

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Moral Anarchy

“The question whether or not some people are made that way—I think that’s still an open question. I’m not quite ready to cede that. But even if that is the case, that someone has that disposition, they still have the ability as human beings to control their behavior—otherwise there’s anarchy and chaos.”

- Bishop Tobin, responding to a question about whether sexual orientation is innate or acquired, interview with GoLocalProv, April 12, 2011

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President Obama

 “Is there any longer any doubt that Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion president we’ve ever had?”

- Bishop Tobin column “Without a Doubt” in the Rhode Island Catholic, January 29, 2011

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Crossing a Kennedy

“Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category—it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an ‘imperfect humanity.’ Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.”

- Bishop Tobin open letter to Congressman Patrick Kennedy, November 12, 2009

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