PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (LifeSiteNews) — An American bishop known for defending doctrine has praised Catholics who attend the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) and asked that they be supported in the name of Church unity.
“In this Week of Prayer for #ChristianUnity, let’s also work to safeguard and promote ‘Catholic Unity’,” tweeted Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence in Rhode Island.
“In particular, let’s resolve to respect and support members of our own Church who are devoted to TLM. They are faithful Catholics who greatly love the Lord and his Church.”
In this Week of Prayer for #ChristianUnity, let’s also work to safeguard and promote “Catholic Unity.” In particular, let’s resolve to respect and support members of our own Church who are devoted to TLM. They are faithful Catholics who greatly love the Lord and his Church.
— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) January 18, 2022
While the response to this tweet was overwhelmingly positive, and included praise from Father John Zuhlsdorf — “May God reward you!” — a few critics accused Latin Mass Catholics of “attacking” or “reject[ing]” the pope.
Tobin is familiar with the power of the TLM to galvanize Catholics, as he helped revitalize a wilting parish in 2018 by asking the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), who celebrate only the TLM to take it over. Catholics then flocked to the church from all over New England to attend the old rite.
The bishop’s statement that supporting Latin Mass Catholics is in service of unity in the Church contradicts assertions, echoed in a recent papal document, that Catholics who are attached to the traditional rite are divisive.
As governments across the globe seek to mandate abortion-tainted Covid-19 “vaccines” on millions of people against their will, medical autonomy continues to diminish worldwide, setting a dangerous precedent for future generations.
In response, during this Season of Advent, we have an important petition sponsored by Deacon Nick Donnelly of England, which makes the case that reception of the COVID vaccines currently available in the Western World is “morally illicit” for virtually all, if not every individual, in ordinary circumstances.
“The Bethlehem Declaration” has already been initially endorsed by four Catholic prelates, including Bishops Marian Eleganti, Rene Henry Gracida, Athanasius Schneider, and Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, along with ten priests and many scholars, activists and journalists from the United States, Europe, and Australia.
It also provides a compelling presentation, rich with hyperlinked resources documenting that not only are these injections morally illicit, but ineffective, unsafe, and unnecessary.
Calling mandates for reception of these chemicals “acts of violence” and “criminal,” the document also encourages those facing these difficult situations to exercise the virtue of prudence to the best of their ability while providing plenty of information to assist them in doing so.
Deacon Donnelly said this manifesto received its name since the Church is presently contemplating the “baby Jesus who manifests the sanctity of life of all babies, created in the image and likeness of God.”
“Bethlehem is also associated with the massacre of the Holy Innocents by King Herod,” he said. “This petition gives us the opportunity to protest on behalf of these silenced victims of the pharmaceutical industry” who have been exploited and used for the development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines.
Another signatory, child advocate Elizabeth Yore, called the Bethlehem Declaration “an outstanding document” which serves as “the definitive response to the globalist tyrannical health Madness.” Encouraging everyone to read it, she said, this petition “must resonate strongly amidst the noisy covid clatter.”
“I so love the gravitas of this grace-filled and divinely inspired document,” Yore said.
The Bethlehem Declaration concludes with the following appeal expressing the intention of this petition:
We therefore respectfully appeal to the Holy Father, the CDF, all Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, lay faithful, and all people of good will to vehemently oppose the reception of these morally tainted, dangerous, and ineffective products, along with the gravely unjust mandates for their reception being imposed upon millions of students and workers across the Christian West.
The Bethlehem Declaration:
Challenging the moral liceity of the abortion-tainted experimental injections for COVID-19 and calling for universal opposition to ‘vaccine mandates’
'For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man’ (GS 22).
Whereas the Second Vatican Council rightly summarized the horror of abortion classifying it as an “abominable crime” which also encompasses a “supreme dishonour to the Creator” (GS 51 § 3; 27);
Whereas St. John Paul II taught all must oppose such deliberate “murder” of the most vulnerable with “maximum of determination” (EV, 58; CL, 38);
Whereas, the sanctity of pre-born babies, created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27), is gravely violated by their utilitarian exploitation and commodification; thereby furthering the descent of the human race into “a civilization of ‘things’ and not of ‘persons’, a civilization in which persons are used in the same way as things are used” (St. John Paul II, GS, 13);
Whereas all of the experimental COVID-19 gene-based vaccines currently available in the Western world, are abortion-tainted having been tested or developed through the abuse of stolen fetal cells from the bodies of murdered pre-born children…
**Photo Credit: Mike Baumeister on Unsplash
In the letter to the world’s bishops accompanying his motu proprio Traditionis Custodes, Pope Francis said that the post-Vatican II permissions to freely say the Latin Mass were “exploited” to “widen the gaps … that injure the Church” and “expose her to the peril of division.”
The pontiff also speaks in this letter of a “comportment” of Latin Mass-goers “that contradicts communion and nurtures the divisive tendency.”
However, many commentators, among them papal biographer George Weigel, have observed that attempts to restrict and suppress the Latin Mass, most notably through Traditionis Custodes and the Responsa Ad Dubia meant to accompany it, are themselves deeply divisive.
Weigel called Traditionis Custodes “theologically incoherent, pastorally divisive, unnecessary,” and “cruel.”
This perspective is shared by Daily Wire commentator and practicing Catholic Matt Walsh. Walsh believes that the rationale given for the Responsa limiting access to the TLM — that “this is all about unity in the church” — is “dishonest at best.”
“While they say that [the restrictions are] about unity and not division, they’re actually creating more division,” Walsh said shortly after the release of the Responsa in December. Walsh even called the documents’ suppression of the TLM a “divide and conquer strategy” released under the guise of “unity.”
Bishop Thomas Tobin should not be confused with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey.