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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Rhode Island bishop regrets controversial tweet

Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin said he regrets comments that “turned out to be so controversial” on Twitter.

The bishop recently tweeted that Catholics should not support or ‘attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events’ because ‘they promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to the Catholic faith and morals.

‘They are especially harmful for children,’ he added.

The backlash on Twitter – and elsewhere – was swift and focused on the harm children have suffered in the Catholic Church because of clergy sex abuse. Many others said his comments were offensive to gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and other communities. A rally by the LGBT community and supporters took place outside the Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul in Providence after the comments.

“I regret that my comments about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community,” the bishop said. “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.”

He added that “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,” but also said that as a Catholic bishop he has an obligation to “teach the faith clearly” on various matters.

Picture: Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I., celebrates Mass at the first Diocesan Youth Day at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Cumberland on 8th September 2018. (CNS photo/Brian Fraga, Rhode Island Catholic).