Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin has shown once again why people are abandoning the Catholic Church in droves.
As LGBTQ Pride Month kicked off on Saturday, the good bishop urged Catholics not to participate in events that “promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals.”
And the kicker: “They are especially harmful for children,” he tweeted.
That tweet got a hard ratio, and with good reason.
Tobin served as auxiliary bishop in Pittsburgh from 1992 to 1996. Pittsburgh was among the six Pennsylvania dioceses named in a grand jury report last year describing the Catholic Church’s role in covering up the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 child victims by more than 300 priests.
The report describes in horrific detail that abuse, which occurred in every Pennsylvania diocese except Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown:
Most of the victims were boys; but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were prepubescent. Some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography. Some were made to masturbate their assailants, or were groped by them. Some were raped orally, some vaginally, some anally. But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.
In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, the report related how the Church protected one priest accused of abusing a 15-year-old:
Elsewhere we saw the same sort of disturbing disdain for victims. In the Diocese of Pittsburgh, church officials dismissed an incident of abuse on the ground that the 15-year-old had “pursued” the priest and “literally seduced” him into a relationship. After the priest was arrested, the church submitted an evaluation on his behalf to the court. The evaluation acknowledged that the priest had admitted to “sado-masochistic” activities with several boys - but the sadomasochism was only “mild,” and at least the priest was not “psychotic.”
In response to this, Tobin washed his hands of responsibility. “My responsibilities as Vicar General and General Secretary of the diocese did not include clergy assignments or clergy misconduct, but rather other administrative duties such as budgets, property, diocesan staff, working with consultative groups, etc.,” he told the Providence Journal in an August 2018 email. “Even as an auxiliary bishop, I was not primarily responsible for clergy issues.”
On Friday, the U.S. Roman Catholic Church reported that allegations of child sex abuse by clerics more than doubled in the latest reporting period from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, PBS News Hour reported. In that period, 1,385 adults reported 1,455 allegations of abuse, an increase of 762 allegations over the previous year. Catholic dioceses spent $301.6 million during the same period on payments to victims, legal fees, and child protection, PBS reported.
As of last August, the U.S. Catholic abuse crisis had cost the Church well over $3 billion in settlements and monetary awards, according to BishopAccountability.org.
“Victims are coming forward now because of real progress by secular authorities,” the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests told PBS.
It is no wonder, then, that Catholicism has seen the greatest net loss of members in recent years than any other religious tradition in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center. A 2014 study found that 13% of U.S. adults are former Catholics. “This means that there are 6.5 former Catholics in the U.S. for every convert to the faith,” the center said.
Tweet that, bishop.