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Bishop says ‘Pride Month’ activities are harmful to kids, faces huge international backlash

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Updated June 3, 2019 at 7:50 p.m. EST to include response from the USCCB choosing not to comment and referring LifeSiteNews to Bishop Tobin’s communications office.

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, June 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – When Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin tweeted a simple warning to his diocese cautioning against participation in LGBT “Pride” events during so-called “Pride Month,” an international backlash quickly erupted.

LGBT and progressive activists moved swiftly to squash the Catholic shepherd’s advisory to his flock to remain faithful to “Catholic faith and morals,” demonstrating the resolve of anti-Catholic forces to silence Church teaching.

Early on June 1, the first day of what LGBT activists insist is a month for celebrating their lifestyles, Bishop Tobin (not to be confused with left-wing Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey) 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.”

Within 48 hours, an astounding 86,000 mostly negative replies were posted to Bishop Tobin’s tweet calling his comments “disgusting,” accusing him of being a “hate-filled hypocrite,” and spreading “poisonous thinking.” A pro-LGBT protest was quickly organized for Sunday evening.

“Since Bishop Tobin called on Catholics to abandon Pride & the LGBTQIA+ community-we are taking Pride directly to them,” Rhode Island Pride organizers said.

The protest took place outside the Providence Diocese’s Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul while Mass went on inside.  

Pro-LGBT celebrities seized the opportunity to condemn Catholic teaching.

“This is pure ignorance & bigotry,” tweeted actress Mia Farrow. “Ignore this hate-filled hypocrite. His mind set leads only to suffering. He brings to mind those priests who molested my brothers. Of COURSE we should embrace our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and children. Jesus spoke of love.”

“Shame on you. LGBT kids are thrown out on the streets and abandoned because of poisonous thinking like yours,” said fellow actress Patricia Arquette.

Lesbian tennis champ Martina Navratilova ignored the substance of Bishop Tobin’s statement and instead rehashed past clergy sexual abuse scandals, saying, “A reminder that Catholic clergy has been a lot more dangerous to kids than LGBT. Just so you don’t forget....”

Navratilova did not mention that most sex abuser priests are homosexuals who prey on adolescent boys.

In Tobin’s hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was ordained, the LGBT group which sponsors Pittsburgh’s PrideFest called for that diocese to publicly denounce the Providence, Rhode Island bishop.

Across the Atlantic, British comic Julian Clary said he hoped that God would strike Bishop Tobin dead: “May God strike you down Bishop, at His earliest convenience.”

And Ireland’s Culture Minister, Josepha Madigan, tweeted: “Not the God I know. Disgraceful.”

Two days after the extreme pummeling of Bishop Tobin began, only one of his brother bishops has come to his defense. Tyler, Texas Bishop Joseph Strickland at first tweeted his gratitude for Bishop Tobin’s sage advice to his flock: “Thanks for speaking up Bishop Tobin....let us be mighty loving messengers of truth and light in Jesus Christ.”

As the controversy escalated, Strickland sent out two more tweets.

“Bishop Tobin is simply speaking for one truth of the deposit of faith,” said Bishop Strickland. “God made humans male & female. Certainly those who are confused about their identity need Christ’s love & compassion, let’s remember Christ’s love is expressed when dies on the cross for the truth.”

“Please stop labeling bishops who speak the truth of the Gospel as homophobic,” pleaded Strickland. “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.”

UK pro-life and pro-family activist Obianuju Ekeocha, better known simply as “Uju,” expressed dismay that more U.S. prelates have not rushed to Bishop Tobin’s defense.

“What shocks me the most is not the tens of thousands of vile responses to Bishop Tobin’s tweet that clearly states the position of the Catholic Church,” said Uju, “it is the silence of the many other Catholic leaders and Catholic media personalities on this platform.”

“God bless Bishop Tobin,” she added.  

LifeSiteNews reached out to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asking if a statement of support for Bishop Tobin was forthcoming. The USCCB chose not comment, and deflected LifeSiteNews’ inquiry to Bishop Tobin’s communication office.

While his brother bishops appear to have chosen to remain silent, a few priests and high profile Catholics have stood up for Tobin.

Dr. Taylor Marshall, author of the just released Infiltration, suggested that the harsh treatment Tobin has received in response to his simple tweet defending Catholic teaching is precisely the reason prelates are so often reticent when it comes to proclaiming the truths of our faith.  

“If you read the horrible & savage comments addressed to Bishop Thomas Tobin, you will see why bishops don’t speak out. They are afraid of this reaction,” said Marshall.

“I respect Bishop Tobin for his bravery & for weathering this storm like [an] oak. He has a spine and a couple of other things, too,” he added.

On Sunday, Bishop Tobin issued the following statement:  

I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community. That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense. I also acknowledge and appreciate the widespread support I have received on this matter.

The Catholic Church has respect and love for members of the gay community, as do I. Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.  

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.  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, 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.

At roughly the same time Bishop Tobin issued his original tweet, pro-LGBT Fr. James Martin sent out one of his own, implying that God creates people “gay.”  

“To all my many LGBTQ friends, Catholic and otherwise: Happy Pride Month,” said Martin. “Be proud of your God-given dignity, of the gifts God has given you, of your place in the world, and of your many contributions to the church. For you are "wonderfully made" by God (Ps 139).”

 

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

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