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One of the sanctuary lamps of the Saint Francis Health SystemLori Windham/Twitter

(LifeSiteNews) — The attack against Christianity, so obvious now for any thoughtful Christian, goes straight through the pro-lifers in Evangelical and Catholic Christianity. We have seen where evangelical ministers have dared to defy this zeitgeist, most notably in Canada and Scandinavia. In Canada, a Polish immigrant and evangelical minister ignored COVID restrictions. In Sweden and Finland, conservative Christians have read Paul’s letter to the Romans regarding homosexuality and preached on it.

They paid a price, being arrested, harassed, jailed, beaten. In the U.K., which has cloned the American buffer zones around abortion clinics, pro-lifers have been arrested merely for standing on a sidewalk, inside an abortion clinic “stay-away zone,” praying silently. They held no signs, said not a word. They were interrogated by cops, asked what they were doing, and arrested when they confirmed they were at prayer.

If anyone wonders if prayer is effective, the godless governments certainly think so.

Catholic sidewalk counselors in Philadelphia and Tennessee have been illegally arrested by the FBI thugs for their witness in front of child extermination clinics. Their conviction is not important to the Deep State. The justice process itself, involving a small fortune and much emotional suffering, has itself become punishment, and warns what will be the fate of others who dare witness for Truth.

Now this persecution is moving from harassment of individuals to entire Christian institutions. Just recently the fraudulent Catholic and President Joe Biden, under his administration, tried to force a Catholic hospital in Oklahoma to remove its vigil light, in the chapel, which by ancient practice must be maintained 24/7 next to the tabernacle. It is here where Catholics and Orthodox believe the Real Presence of God dwells. It must be honored by this candle light, held within a red glass cylinder, bolted to the wall, the floor or suspended from the ceiling. Even when people are not in attendance, the crimson light maintains the notice: God is here. Start acting like it.

READ: Biden admin backs down on trying to force Catholic hospital to extinguish sanctuary candle

The practice predates Christianity, as a red vigil lamp was kept next to the Ark of the Covenant, where the Real Presence of God dwelt in the form of the staff of Aaron, the manna and the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

To even touch the Ark meant death. We find in the Bible that once, when it was being transported, it began teetering and about to fall to the ground. A helpful servant or soldier rushed forward to keep it from falling, but was struck dead instantly. It seems unfair, but God’s laws are strict.

In Christ’s time, what was in the Jerusalem temple was an imitation of the original Ark, which was lost or destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Later, the Persians permitted the Jews to rebuild their Temple. When the Roman general Pompey captured the Temple in the midst of a Jewish civil war in 63 B.C., he boldly marched up to the Holy of Holies. His curiosity needed to be satisfied, and defying all the Jewish laws, marched up to the Ark, opened it — without dropping dead, of course — and found absolutely nothing inside.

What type of religion is this, he thought, which worships … a void?

Yet, the Ark, however empty, must have had a significant presence, for Christ Himself worshiped and prayed there … and cleansed it of the profane trafficking that took place “in His Father’s house.” Then too, the Temple curtain was ripped in two on Good Friday, signifying the end of the barrier between God and man.

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We ask you to join us in thanking this faithful shepherd for his years of loving service to Christ and His Church. 

Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence, RI, known for his outspoken defense of the Church’s moral teachings on the sanctity of life, marriage, and human sexuality, has just resigned upon reaching the age of 75 on April 1.

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In a statement to the diocese on the occasion of his resignation, Bishop Tobin thanked the faithful and clergy of Providence for their support over the years, encouraging them to remain steadfast in the faith. “I urge all the members of the church to remain steadfast in your faith, to be proud of the good work you are doing, and to be determined to carry on the work that Jesus has entrusted to you,” Tobin said. 

As bishop, Tobin consistently raised his voice to clearly reiterate the perennial teachings of the Church that the life of the unborn is sacred, marriage is a lifelong union between one man and one woman, and the innocence of children must be protected in society.

He has also defended traditional Catholics who wish to worship according to the Church’s ancient liturgy in the Tridentine Latin Mass. 

Unafraid to hold to account so-called “Catholic” politicians who aggressively promote abortion and oppose the protection of the lives of the unborn, in 2019 Tobin excoriated Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, who says he is Catholic but voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, designed to protect children born alive during botched abortions from being left to die.   

In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, Tobin called out the contradiction between a politician calling himself Catholic and yet rejecting Catholic teaching on the sanctity of life. In a tweet sent out on May 7, 2020, Tobin said one cannot be an “authentic” Catholic and hold a pro-abortion position. 

“Just saw a headline in a Catholic newspaper with the phrase ‘pro-abortion Catholic.’ Sorry. That’s a contradiction in terms. You can’t be a Catholic, at least not an authentic one, and be ‘pro-abortion.’ Or ‘pro-choice.’ It’s the same thing,” the bishop said

SIGN: Thank you Bishop Tobin for answering God's call to serve His Church

Several months later Tobin again sparked a heated Twitter debate over what constitutes a Catholic when he sarcastically implied that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden isn’t one. The outspoken bishop was hammered on Twitter with ad hominem attacks after he posted the following:  

Biden-Harris. First time in a while that the Democratic ticket hasn’t had a Catholic on it. Sad. 

— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) August 11, 2020 

Tobin doubled down on his criticisms of President Biden’s zeal for abortion in 2022, when he stated that he could not be “both a devout Catholic and a pro-abortion zealot”: 

President Biden cannot be both a devout Catholic and a pro-abortion zealot. The two are mutually exclusive. He is a poor, lost and confused soul. Truly, we need to pray for him, everyday. 

— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) September 23, 2022 

Tobin’s courageous defense of the Church’s moral teachings was not limited, however, to standing up against the prominent pro-abortion advocates of the Left. He also earned their hatred with his public stance against LGBT ideology and intimidation. 

On June 1, 2019, to mark the beginning of so-called “pride month”, the Rhode Island bishop tweeted that Catholics should not take part in “pride” events due to their conflict with the Catholic faith, making special note of the danger to children: 

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. 

— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) June 1, 2019 

The public stance made the bishop the target of high-volume vitriol from LGBT adherents and supporters, who 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. 

Several days later, Tobin issued the following statement, declaring it his obligation as a bishop to preach the truth of Christ “even on very difficult and sensitive issues”, affirming that he would continue to do so. He stated, “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.” 

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Ever sensitive to the needs of the flock entrusted to this care, Tobin also supported those Catholics devoted to the ancient liturgy in the Traditional Latin Mass. In January 2022, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, he encouraged “respect and support” for “members of our own Church who are devoted to [the] TLM,” affirming their fidelity to the Church, a notable public defense in the face of attacks from authorities in Rome, such as Cardinal Roche, who has dubbed those who love the ancient Mass “more Protestant than Catholic.”  

In contrast, Bishop Tobin wrote: 

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 

Again, earlier this year, Tobin criticized the increased ostracization of traditional Catholics by Rome in a tweet that contrasted the heavy-handedness of the Vatican’s restrictions with the Pope’s call for accompaniment and listening. The prelate wrote,  

The way the Vatican is dealing with the Traditional Latin Mass does not seem to me to be the “style of God.” Pope Francis himself has emphasized that those who are attached to the TLM should be “accompanied listened to, and given time.” 

— Bishop Thomas Tobin (@ThomasJTobin1) February 21, 2023 

With the courageous Bishop of Providence now retiring, the sentiments of Catholics grateful for his defense of life, family, and faith can perhaps not be put better than what was stated by those same Catholics several years ago: “Your clear and compassionate teaching gives hope to Catholics and Christians everywhere.”  

In the words of Bishop Strickland, “Thanks for speaking up Bishop Tobin….let us be mighty loving messengers of truth and light in Jesus Christ.” 

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Bishop Thomas Tobin retires at age 75 - LifeSiteNews

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But Christians also remember what Christ told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well:

Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.

So, what of the crimson light found in every Catholic church where the Blessed Sacrament resides, the “real presence” of God in our midst?  

Yes, God is everywhere, and wherever two or more are gathered in His name, so too is He. But that was just as true in 1000 B.C., 586 B.C., 63 B.C., and in 30 A.D. The Ark was still the Holy of Holies, something physical, something where people could go to worship the one, true and eternal God. The dispute between Jews and Samaritans was over where … the Temple or a holy mountain. It was sufficient a division to make them shun each other to a fault. 

Yet Christ knew the Samaritan error was sincere and in ignorance. The Samaritan woman demonstrated her knowledge and full understanding of the nature of the dispute. His “Good Samaritan” parable showed that He was not interested in human disputes. The conversion of the woman’s village and the subsequent evangelization of Samaria after the Resurrection melted everything away. 

READ: Biden national security document depicts Christian pro-lifers as domestic terrorist threat

Indeed, the Crimson Light was no longer found in the Temple after its destruction in 70 A.D. As Christ had predicted, it was going to spread around the world. Today’s evangelicals worship God “in spirit and truth,” as do Orthodox and Catholic, with the addition of a Real Presence found in both the humblest of chapels and most magnificent cathedrals. 

But the Biden administration said that the vigil light in the Catholic hospital chapel was — gasp! — a fire hazard!  

Well, of course it is. Just as is every bottle of rubbing alcohol, electrical socket, power strip and emergency generator. 

So, the order came … remove it, or lose federal funding. 

This author has long decried the danger of federal funding, anywhere and in any circumstance, not only because it is unconstitutional, but because it comes with federal dependency and control. 

So, now what? 

If anyone thinks that conservative news blogs are ignored, try again. Within a few days of this outrage being published, the Biden administration reversed its course. The order was withdrawn. Naturally, nothing appeared in the mainstream media.  

The administration was likely prepared to do so. These little pin-pricks are merely testing the waters. But be assured, a new location and angle is already prepared. The real lesson, however, is likely lost on not only the hospital but the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Unless and until federal funding is refused, religious freedom will erode. 

But where will the revenue come from? Well, there was no problem finding it in the days of a robust Christianity. Thus, we can truly say that the needed evangelization of society is the only true solution to all of our troubles in this cultural free-fall.

Bob Bird ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and 2008. He is a past president of Alaska Right to Life, a 45-year Alaska resident and a retired public school teacher. He has a passion for studying and teaching Alaska and U.S. constitutional history. He lives on the Kenai Peninsula and is currently a daily radio talk-show host for The Talk of the Kenai, on KSRM 920 AM from 3-5 pm and heard online radiokenai.com.