Seemingly in response to critics, like Rhode Island Senator Donna Nesselbush, who took issue with the recent firing of Michael Templeton, the Music Director at the Church of St. Mary in Providence due to his same-sex marriage, Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Providence Diocese has written a short defense of sorts. In his piece, Tobin disputes the idea that Pope Francis is somehow softening the church’s approach to non-heterosexuality.
Tobin doesn’t defend the church’s position of intolerance to homosexuality but instead seeks to demonstrate that Pope Francis can not be differentiated from the church’s anti-gay agenda.
“When Church leaders have to respond to situations involving persons living an openly ‘gay lifestyle’ these days, we’re often scolded and told that we should be ‘more like Pope Francis,’ presumably the ‘Who-am-I-to judge’ Pope Francis,” writes Tobin, before listing four examples of the Pope actively not “gently advancing” the cause of gay rights and gay marriage:
- “Perhaps those critics should also remember the Pope Francis who said that same-sex marriage is destructive of families and is the work of the devil.
- “And the Pope Francis who has now supported the Mexican Bishops’ campaign to oppose gay marriage in their country.
- “And the Pope Francis who rejected the nomination of the Ambassador from France because the Ambassador is openly gay.
- “And the Pope Francis whose administration immediately fired and disciplined a priest who was working in the Vatican upon learning that the priest was gay and involved in a relationship.
“It seems to me, then,” concludes Tobin, “that when we uphold the faith and teachings of the Church about homosexuality, we are indeed a lot like Pope Francis.”