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Catholic Bishop Faces Backlash For Telling Catholics Not To Support LGBTQ Pride Events

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter

Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin is facing backlash for a Saturday tweet in which he told Catholics not to support LGBTQ pride events.

Tobin, who serves as the bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, spoke out as Pride Month began June 1. He told Catholics the month’s events “promote a culture and encourage activities” that go against their faith. The bishop’s message then began trending on Twitter. (RELATED: Here’s What We Know About Cardinal McCarrick, Pope Francis And The Figueiredo Report)

“A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June,” he tweeted. “They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful for children.”

Following the large amount of negative backlash his tweet received, Tobin released a statement standing by his tweet but saying he regrets the offense his comments might have caused.

“I regret 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,” Tobin said in the statement released by the Diocese of Providence on Sunday. “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.”

The bishop added he and the Catholic church respect and love members of the gay community and that people with same-sex attraction are “beloved children of God and our brothers and sisters.”

“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,” the bishop said. “That is what I have always tried to do – on a variety of issues – and I will continue doing so as contemporary issues arise.”

Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Texas, spoke out in defense of Tobin, saying in a tweet that the bishop was “simply speaking for one truth of the deposit of faith.”

“God made humans male & female,” he tweeted. “Certainly those who are confused about their identity need Christ’s love & compassion, let’s remember Christ’s love is expressed when dies on the cross for the truth.”

Strickland also tweeted an article on the incident from the Boston Globe.

“Please stop labeling bishops who speak the truth of the Gospel as homophobic,” he tweeted.

“God gave us sexual intimacy for the procreation of children and the deeper union of a man & woman in marriage. Stating this truth is not homophobia, it is simply reality.”

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