U.S. bishop, priest attacked for defending marriage: tell them ‘thank you’
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, October 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Faithful Christians wanting to personally thank a U.S. bishop and priest who are facing backlash for defending Christian marriage by dismissing a gay “married” music director now have that opportunity with the launch of an online support campaign through a built-in, hassle-free option to have a personalized postcard mailed via snail-mail.
The campaign, titled Bishop, priest attacked for defending traditional marriage: Tell them 'thank you’!, was launched on Friday by LifePetitions, a branch of LifeSiteNews.
When Fr. Francesco Francese, a Catholic priest in Providence, Rhode Island, took over as pastor at St. Mary’s earlier this summer and discovered that a recently ‘married’ homosexual was the parish’s music director, he knew that he could not look the other way while calling himself a faithful Catholic priest.
As LifeSiteNews reported last week, the pastor met with the music director, telling him that as long as he continued in a relationship that contradicted the teachings of the Catholic Church on marriage and sexuality he could not function as the parish’s music minister.
A small group of parishioners protested the removal of the homosexual music director by wearing rainbow-colored paraphernalia to the Sunday morning service and singing a song about inclusion during the recitation of the Nicene Creed.
But as parishioners sang “All are welcome,” Fr. Francese stood firm, continuing to recite the creed.
Fr. Francese remained standing firm when mainstream media portrayed his decision as rigid and even contrary to what they claimed was Pope Francis’s attitude toward homosexuality.
When this loyal son of the Church started taking heavy flak for his decision, the local bishop decided it was time to personally step in and defend the pastor as well as the faith.
Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin not only defended the priest’s decision but stated that Pope Francis would defend the decision as well.
“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,” he wrote.
“Perhaps those critics should also remember:
- "The Pope Francis who said same-sex marriage is destructive in families and 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."
Bishop Tobin said that those who uphold the teachings of the Church when it comes to sexuality are the ones who are the most like the pope.
“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,” he stated.
The petition to Fr. Francesco Francese and Bishop Thomas Tobin states:
I want to thank you for courageously standing up in defense of the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage.
I am a faithful follower of Christ and believe that sexuality is properly ordered to conjugal love between a man and a woman united in marriage, and furthermore, that homosexual acts are contrary to God’s plan for sexuality as well as the natural law since they close the sexual act to the gift of life.
I stand with you in supporting the removal of the openly homosexual music minister: firstly, because exercising a ministry within the Church is a sign of communion with and fidelity to Church teaching; and secondly, because true "mercy" requires that pastors challenge those entrusted to their care to conform their lives to Christ.
I want to thank you for revealing through your actions what it means to be a true pastor and to live faithfully the Gospel without compromise. Your commitment to Catholic teaching and to caring for the spiritual welfare of your flock is an inspiration to all Catholics struggling to be faithful to Christ during these difficult times.
Please be assured of our prayers so that the peace, love, and joy of Christ may fill your souls and see you safely through any storms that may arise for being his faithful disciple.
Petition signers have the built-in, hassle-free option to have a personalized postcard mailed to Bishop Tobin and Fr. Francese expressing their support. The cost of printing and postage is covered by the signer.