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Bishop defends brother bishop attacked for telling Catholics to not ‘support, attend’ LGBT events

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Bishop Thomas Tobin

PETITION: Support Catholic Bishop who is calling for a boycott on LGBT 'Pride'. Sign the petition here.

June 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A US bishop is defending his brother bishop who is under assault from LGBT activists and mainstream media after he told Catholics that they should have nothing to do with homosexual "pride" events. 

Tyler, Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland defended Catholic principles and Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin on Twitter over the weekend after Tobin’s exhortation for Catholics to eschew homosexual "pride" events. Strickland was responding to the Boston Globe’s story on Tobin’s June 1 tweet on Catholics and gay pride events during June, in which Tobin told Catholics they should "not support or attend" the LGBT events because they "promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

Amid intense backlash against Tobin for his statement in defense of Catholic principles, the Globe’s report on the matter had adjudicated Tobin’s tweet via its headline as “homophobic.”

Strickland, shared the Globe story on Twitter, promulgating Catholic teaching, as did Tobin, and also disputed the notion it was “homophobic.”

“Please stop labeling bishops who speak the truth of the Gospel as homophobic,” he tweeted. “God gave us sexual intimacy for the procreation of children and the deeper union of a man & woman in marriage. Stating this truth is not homophobia, it is simply reality.”

Strickland’s tweet received some 22,000 comments along with some 3,700 retweets and more than 12,000 likes. Tobin had netted 93,000 comments, 7,000 retweets and approximately 27,000 likes on his tweet by press time.

Both bishops were the targets of intense LGBT vitriol and anti-Catholic vitriol from those commenting on their tweets.

Strickland, who has been vocal in recent months in defense of Catholic teaching, had expressed support for Tobin on Twitter the day after Tobin’s tweet, sharing the tweet on June 2, and saying, “Thanks for speaking up Bishop Tobin....let us be mighty loving messengers of truth and light in Jesus Christ.”

That tweet from Strickland had a less intense a response, with 200-plus comments, 470-plus retweets, and 2,600 likes.

Pride events, particularly parades, are known for their lewd dress and vulgar behavior. They ultimately exist to celebrate lifestyles and acts that are contrary to Christianity and other major world religions. Children are frequently present at the events, and therefore exposed to the morally offensive displays.

The Church Catholic teaches that sexual relations are reserved for marriage, which is between a man and woman (CCC-2360). Church teaching also states that homosexual tendencies are objectively disordered, and that individuals who experience them “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (CCC-2358). The Church also teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and they “are intrinsically disordered," and further that “under no circumstances can they be approved” (CCC-2357). And the Church states teaches that, “homosexual persons are called to chastity” (CCC-2359), which is also what its teaching says about all people. 

The two bishops are not alone in warning against the danger of "gay pride" demonstrations while also drawing the ire of LGBT activists. When a gay pride parade was planned for Rome during the Church’s Jubilee Year of 2000, the late Pope Saint John Paul II neither equivocated nor placated about the implications, saying it was an “offense” to Christian values.

''In the name of the Church of Rome I can only express my deep sadness at the affront to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and the offence to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics throughout the world,'' he told pilgrims in a Sunday message one day after thousands had marched in a gay pride parade in Rome.

''Homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law,'' John Paul II said in an address given from a balcony over St. Peter's Square July 9, 2000. ''The Church cannot be silent about the truth,” the pontiff stated, “because she would fail in her fidelity to God the Creator and would not help to distinguish good from evil.''

A New York Post article at the time called the pope “angry,” and cited an Italian gay activist who’d claimed John Paul II’s remarks to be “homophobia and anti-gay prejudice fed by the Vatican hierarchy.”

Last year Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, issued a statement on the correct catholic response to gay pride events. It said in part:

A Catholic bishop has the grave moral duty to raise his voice and take a stand regarding the phenomenon of ‘gay pride’ parades. There is a systematic spread of ‘gay pride’ parades throughout the entire Western world. Furthermore, one can also see a growing support for the ‘gay pride’ phenomenon among representatives of the Catholic clergy. At the same time, there is a widespread situation of silence, passivity and fear among those in the Church who should unambiguously address this situation and protect the life of the Church from the infiltration of the poison of the ideology of homosexuality and gender, and proclaim the truth of God’s creation and of His holy commandments.

After the initial backlash to Tobin’s tweet and as LGBT activists planned a protest at his chancery Sunday in Providence, Tobin released a statement expressing regret that his comments had caused controversy, affirming love and respect for "individuals with same-sex attraction" on his part and that of the Catholic Church, and also affirming that his job as a bishop is to uphold Catholic principles. 

“Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters,” he said. “As a Catholic Bishop, however, my obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues,” said Tobin. “That is what I have always tried to do - on a variety of issues - and I will continue doing so as contemporary issues arise.” 

“As the gay community gathers for a rally this evening,” he added. “I hope that the event will be a safe, positive and productive experience for all. As they gather I will be praying for a rebirth of mutual understanding and respect in our very diverse community.”

Other voices of support for Tobin

Strickland stood out among bishops in voicing his support of Tobin, but wasn’t alone among Catholics in doing so.  

“The Apostles were not silenced by the sin of Judas, tweeted Father Heilman, priest for the Madison, WI, diocese and author of RomanCatholicMan.com. “All but one gave their lives for the sake of the Truth of Jesus Christ,” Heilman said, sharing Tobin’s tweet. “His Excellency, Bishop Thomas Tobin has the courageous heart of the first Bishops. I stand with you, Your Excellency!”

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights issued a statement in support of Tobin.

“Bishop Tobin was right to call attention to the gay culture and what Pride Month entails,” it said in part. “While many of the events are without controversy, some are obnoxious. There are pictures from the 2017 Providence Pride Month that are disgusting.” The League later tweeted, “While there are many opinions, there is only one truth. And it is one that Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin accurately enunciated on June 1.” 

The Women of Grace apostolate tweeted a post, with a headline stating that the bishop was “Under Fire for Being a Good Shepherd.”

“Support Bishop Thomas Tobin,” The Wanderer Catholic newspaper tweeted, sharing its report on Tobin’s tweet.

“Bishop Thomas Tobin is being viciously attacked for advising his flock avoid LGBTQ Pride events,” the Complicit Clergy website tweeted, “please #STANDwithThomasTobin by posting your comments of support at http://bit.ly/TobinTweet.” 

In a Crisis Magazine column addressing the reaction to the Tobin tweet, Thomas More College Professor Anthony Esolen remarked how no one in living memory would have previously considered Tobin’s message controversial. He also articulated the nature of pride events effectively.

“Inevitably there will be some men marching in jockstraps, simulating sodomy, and barely clad women bidding defiance to “the patriarchy,” which they thereby imply is coextensive with ordinary human nature,” Esolen wrote. 

Of course children should not go to a Pride parade,” he said, “just as they should not be looking at pornography, or being made to think about what grownups do in bed. What do you call somebody who wants to tell other people’s children about those things?”

Esolen also pointed out that the very act being condemned in the reaction to Tobin, which has also been thrown at Strickland, is the very same act being celebrated in pride parades.

A petition lauched by LifeSiteNews in support of Bishop Tobin has been signed by over 18,500. 

"Your Excellency," the petition states, "Thank you for speaking out against 'pride' events! We appreciate your clear guidance in this area for Christians and Catholics." 

"We appreciate you, as a religious leader, speaking out against ‘Pride’ month, and defending Christian Catholic teaching. Thank you, especially, for reminding all Christians that these events promote a 'culture' and activities which are against Christ’s teaching, and against the morals of anyone trying to live as a good Christian."

"Your clear and compassionate teaching gives hope to Catholics and Christians everywhere. I support you and will keep you in my prayers, especially at this time. God bless you and your important work," it concludes. 

Learn more about Bishop Strickland’s views and past actions by visiting FaithfulShepherds.com. Click here.

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