LETTERS

Bishop Tobin should resign

Posted

To the Editor:

I appreciate Mr. Kevin O’Brien’s attempts to allay our fears, but the Catholic Church and its leaders have failed their sacred and moral obligations, not just in Pennsylvania but throughout the world. It’s impossible to trust the Rhode Island Dioceses when its moral leader states that he was aware of the incidents in Pennsylvania but chose not to do anything because it was outside his realm of responsibility.

Bishop Tobin and Mr. O’Brien, do you not have a moral responsibility to report a crime of sexual abuse? Bishop Tobin and you owe Rhode Island not just your words and prayers but verification that what you say is the truth. How many times might Bishop Tobin have conveniently decided that it wasn’t in his area of responsibility or political interest to report a case of sexual abuse?

The Attorney General of Rhode Island should follow the lead of other states and begin an inquiry of the R.I. Dioceses, and you and the bishop should welcome it as an opportunity to rebuild creditability and trust. However, no matter how the inquiry might turn out, I believe it would be in the best interest of Rhode Island for Bishop Tobin to resign. His washing of his hands in Pennsylvania was like Pontius Pilate trying to absolve himself of his crime.

Tom Wojick

Cranston

Comments

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davebarry109

Bishop Tobin had no duty to report any such thing as he was not in a position to know what the Bishop was doing about the reports of abuse. You assume your boss is doing the right thing absent evidence to the contrary. Bishop Tobin is a great leader in our church and we need him now more than ever. You should pray for wisdom. And the victims. Also pray for the current leadership to withstand the onslaught of decades old evil. The current church has taken great pains to avoid what happened before.

Tuesday, September 11
JohnStark

dave: I was on-board with everything you said until the last sentence. As you know, and others are only acknowledging with great reluctance, the current scandal is the result of Church leadership turning a blind eye to closeted gay men in the seminary...and eventually in the priesthood. Period. Many of these men preyed on emotionally vulnerable teenage boys. If Bishop Tobin knew about it, he had a legal duty to report it to the police, independent of what he did or didn't think his boss was doing. I see no evidence that Church leadership has taken any steps to clean up the root of this horrific evil. Frankly, the Church remains over it's head when it comes to the entire matter of gay men in the priesthood, which has been a dirty little secret for a very long time.

Tuesday, September 11
Thecaptain

Having been raised Catholic and attended Catholic school for 12 years and having sent my children to Catholic school for most of their lives, I am now certain of one fact after the Pennsylvania disgrace. I will never again support the Catholic church for any reason. I will only enter the church for a funeral. I have washed my hands of the deplorable leaders of this religion and their incompetent excuses. Tobin, along with many others, needs to go to jail as he was complicit in this travesty.

Wednesday, September 12
rllavallee

@John Stark: you reached for a facile analysis by claiming that gay men are more likely to abuse children than anyone else. It is more likely that ANY organization that provides access to children is likely to attract Pedophiles, their sexual orientation notwithstanding. Please don't scapegoat homosexuals. Have a look at http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_molestation.html

Wednesday, September 12
JohnStark

rilavallee: While your points are well taken, you are misrepresenting my position. I did not say that homosexual men were more likely than others to molest children. First of all, most of the victims of this vile behavior were not "children", but teenagers. We can quibble with the definitions, but it matters, clinically. Have you noticed that an overwhelming majority of victims were male? Until proven otherwise, I'll stick with the following:

In the last 50 years or so, a disproportionate number of Catholic seminarians have been closeted gay men who sought a quasi-spiritual sanctuary in the priesthood as a means of cleansing their souls. Some of these men preyed on emotionally vulnerable teenage boys and young seminarians. That makes them sexual predators, not pedophiles. As I look back on my years at an all-male Catholic high school, there was never a whiff of any of this. Perhaps the Brothers we had in school did not attract gay men. Or maybe we lacked 'vulnerable' boys who would never have put up with any deviancy, Either way, if you conduct a deeper and uncomfortable analysis, I maintain that you will find a disproportionate number of closeted gay men in the seminary, and eventually in the priesthood. It might take a few generations to clean it all up, And real, honest, transparent leadership would help.

5 days ago
Cat2222

We expect teachers, doctors, caregivers, etc. to report when they see abuse. How much higher is the expectation that the clergy or other church officials report on what they see and hear to protect underage children? It is not just a social obligation. It is a moral obligation the Catholic Church chose to ignore instead of deal with and there are countless adults that face the consequences of those sins. The church owes these vulnerable people more than that.

3 days ago