July 5, 2011
By Rainbow Sash Movement News Service
Saying that civil unions “promote an unacceptable lifestyle, undermine the faith of the church on holy matrimony, and cause scandal and confusion,” Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin reminded Catholics that they may not participate in such ceremonies.
“To do so is a very grave violation of the moral law and, thus, seriously sinful,” he said in a statement June 30, the day after passage of legislation that will give same-sex couples who enter into civil unions the same rights and benefits as marriage in Rhode Island.
The state Senate agreed to the bill, which the House had already approved, on a 21-16 vote late June 29 and Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, an Independent, has said he will sign it.
Bishop Tobin said he was “deeply disappointed” at the decision to permit civil unions.
“The concept of civil unions is a social experiment that promotes an immoral lifestyle, is a mockery of the institution of marriage as designed by God, undermines the well-being of our families, and poses a threat to religious liberty,”
But the use of such caustic words without any justification, sinks to a further pious level of homophobia. Bishop Tobin only amplifies the dissonance between the divergent teachings of the Church concerning the homosexual person.
On the one hand the Church condemns Gay people when they seek their civil rights, and on the other hand they say homosexuals are to be welcomed and not discriminated against. The Bishops can’t have it both ways either the Bishops are for our Civil Rights, or they are opposed there is no middle ground.
Than Bishop Tobin goes on to direct Catholics not to be part of any Civil Union celebration. How out of touch can this man be? Or more to the point who does he think is listening to him?
Echoing Bishop Tobin was Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, affirmed Bishop Tobin’s comments and denounced passage of the civil unions bill.
The Rainbow Sash Movement continues to call for direct dialogue with US Conference of Catholic Bishops, a dialogue which will have no preconditions.