Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, sparked a firestorm of controversy when he tweeted recently that “Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June” because they “promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals” and “are especially harmful for children.”
But according to Father Philip Bochanski, the head of Courage International, a Catholic apostolate to same-sex-attracted Catholics, Bishop Tobin’s remarks were in line with Catholic teaching on the controversial issue.
The tweet met with swift backlash, including from prominent celebrities and television personalities. Despite criticism of the tweet from actress Mia Farrow and Sunny Hostin of The View, many came to the bishop’s defense and argued that he was simply stating Catholic teaching.
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, stated that “Bishop Tobin is simply speaking for one truth of the deposit of faith. God made humans male & female. Certainly those who are confused about their identity need Christ’s love & compassion; let’s remember Christ’s love is expressed when [he] dies on the cross for the truth.”
In a subsequent statement, Bishop Tobin said that he regretted “that my comments yesterday about Pride Month have turned out to be so controversial in our community, and offensive to some, especially the gay community. That certainly was not my intention, but I understand why a good number of individuals have taken offense.”
Bishop Tobin emphasized 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.” He concluded that “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.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” because “they close the sexual act to the gift of life” and “do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.” The Catechism emphasizes that “under no circumstances” can such acts be approved but acknowledges the genuine struggle and the need to love a person with such inclinations.
“Homosexual persons are called to chastity,” it adds. “By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”
This is not the first time that a Church leader has spoken out against such events. In the year 2000, Pope St. John Paul II condemned a “Gay Pride” festival that occurred in Rome.
‘”In the name of the Church of Rome, I cannot not express bitterness for the affront to the Grand Jubilee of the year 2000 and for the offense to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world,” he said in an address. “Homosexual acts are against nature’s laws,” he added. “The Church cannot silence the truth, because this … would not help discern what is good from what is evil.”
Read more at National Catholic Register