Bishop Thomas Tobin Wants to What?

The Man Has Lost His Mind!

Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, is no stranger to creating publicity stunts to get his name in the news. Last week, when the first female governor in the history of the State, Gina Raimondo, was inaugurated, he made a show out of how he refused to attend the ceremony because of Raimondo’s views on abortion (an issue she has almost no jurisdiction over, unless the legislature were to pass an anti-choice bill, which is unlikely given the Democratic majority). This was not the first time he has behaved in a passive aggressive fashion towards elected officials. In 2009, it was made public he had asked then-Congressman Patrick Kennedy to not take communion because, like his late father Edward Kennedy, he described himself as pro-choice, despite the fact as a legislator he had also almost no capability to actually legislate on abortion issues.

This week, he has made a double shot, one in a fashion that can be admired somewhat, the other in a way that seems absolutely bizarre, and all in one day!

First, Tobin accepted a donation of $100,000 from the National Grid Foundation, the charitable arm of the major electric company in the state that depends on fossil fuels, to his Keep the Heat On charity. This is in essence a circular operation, the monies donated will be given back to the fossil fuel burning power companies. Tobin could actually use that money in a more productive fashion by subsidizing the installation of solar panels and other devices that reduce both costs and pollution. And with recent announcements from the Vatican that Pope Francis (whom Tobin has publicly said he finds “disappointing”) intends to address climate change specifically when he speaks at the United Nations, it would actually be more in line with Catholic Church policies to use this charity in a way that insures the poor will never need to rely on fossil fueled heating devices again and therefore never face the challenge of paying to keep the heat on.

The other instance is totally without precedent and is an absolute stunt for attention. This week, a fetus at half term was found at the Narragansett Bay Commission’s Bucklin Point Wastewater Treatment Facility. It is unclear whether foul play was involved, something currently under investigation by the police. Tobin, in reaction, publicly reached out to the police to offer a Catholic burial for the remains. Besides the fact this is a political move to further Tobin’s pronounced effort to break the Rhode Island Democratic Party because of the party’s stance on abortion, the publicity of the offer is only meant to stroke his ego. If Tobin were serious, he could keep this a below-the-radar offer and let the burial remain a private ceremony. Instead, he yet again made this into a song-and-dance show for the news cameras. What’s more, the assumption that the Diocese should have a carte blanche right to intervene in these issues is a dangerous precedent. How does he know the mother was Catholic?

Furthermore, who or what gives him the right to intervene in a police investigation like this? The last time the Church was making major efforts to intervene in the process of secular judicial proceedings, it was so to cover up pedophilia and other sex crimes by various clergymen. Just this past November, Fr. Barry Mehan was arraigned and plead not guilty to charges of sexually abusing children. There are thousands of explanations for how that body ended up at that water treatment site, from an accidental miscarriage to the use of abortifacients like RU-486 or natural elements like pennyroyal tea.

But there is one explanation that Tobin will never accept responsibility for. The medical, scientific, and sociological opinions, verified again and again by examples across the globe, are that the rate of unwanted pregnancies resulting in abortion falls when quality obstetric, gynecological, and family planning care is made available to women of childbearing age for no charge. Scandinavian countries have some of the lowest abortion procurement rates in the Western world because their social safety net includes these provisions under their universal healthcare systems.

Bishop Tobin, however, refuses to allow for such provisions because Catholic dogma teaches that any kind of prophylactic or hormonal birth control is inherently sinful. As explained in a previous story, this theology is based on absolutely debunked science stemming from medieval ideas about conception and medicine. Indeed, it is furthermore known that, while maintaining an absolute stranglehold on the dialogue about birth control in first world nations, the Church provides medicines like the morning after pill to nuns and female missionaries who get raped in third world conflict zones, medications the Church has specifically mis-labeled as abortifacients, despite the scientific fact they are not.

Bishop Tobin claims to be ‘pro-life’. He is in fact not, he is anti-contraception, meaning he wishes to further trends that lead to abortions. That is a scientific fact that he likes to pretend is not true, but it will not change. The level of debate he drops to is akin to children who keep saying ‘not-ah’ when arguing with adults who know the truth about things the child refuses to accept. He is more pro-abortion than Gina Raimondo, the leadership of Planned Parenthood Rhode Island, and even doctors who provide abortions, for one simple fact: he refuses to acknowledge the hard science that will make it possible to attain his goal. The man has ceased to live in reality and instead has put his head in the sand, like an ostritch.

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