Bishop Tobin's anti-LGBT tweet called on Catholics to boycott Pride events throughout June.
Just a day after Rhode Island Bishop Thomas J. Tobin had warned his parishioners not to take part in any LGBTQ events planned for a Pride month, a priest in his own parish has taken strong issue with him.
Tobin had tweeted his directions on Saturday and immediately set off a firestorm.
The Reverend Edward Pieroni stated at Sunday mass that his concern was for gay or lesbian church members.
He stated: “I am told that as of 8 o’clock this morning, [the tweet] had generated 51,000 responses and apparently this made the CBS News, along with the local news.
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“My concern is that for people who are lesbian or gay — same-sex attraction — that they may leave the church. A lot of people have hung in there, but it’s like ‘One more slap and we are done.’ I am here to beg you — and I will get on my hands and knees and beg you — not to leave.”
He went on: “For a long time the official church has had a tug of war going on between liberal and conservatives.
“Maybe we ought to concentrate more on getting the message out there and less on backbiting. The ultimate goal is Jesus pulling us all together.”
Addressing gay parishioners, he said, “If you are thinking of leaving because you are disappointed or don’t understand please don’t I am begging you.”
On Saturday, Bishop Thomas Tobin shared this tweet: “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.”
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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
On Sunday after a firestorm of protest, he appeared to back down but nonetheless still took a hard line.
“I regret that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community and offensive to some especially in the gay community. That certainly was not my intention but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense, I also acknowledge the widespread support I have received on this matter.
“The Catholic Church has love and respect for members of the gay community as I do individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God. However, as a Catholic bishop, my obligation before God is to lead the faithful and teach the faith. This is what I have always tried to do.”
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