Thomas Joseph Tobin
Thomas Joseph Tobin
|Bishop of Providence|
|Appointed||March 31, 2005|
|Installed||May 31, 2005|
|Ordination||July 21, 1973|
by Vincent Leonard
|Consecration||December 27, 1992|
by Donald Wuerl, Anthony G. Bosco, and Nicholas C. Dattilo
|Born||April 1, 1948|
|Denomination||Roman Catholic Church|
|Previous post||Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh|
Titular Bishop of Novica
Bishop of Youngstown
|Alma mater||Gannon University|
Saint Francis University
Pontifical North American College
Pontifical Gregorian University
Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm
|Motto||STRONG - LOVING - WISE|
Thomas Joseph Tobin
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
Early life and ordination
Thomas Tobin was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and studied at St. Mark Seminary High School and Gannon University, both in Erie, before entering St. Francis University in Loretto where he received his BA in 1969  and the Pontifical North American College and Pontifical Gregorian University, both in Rome. He also pursued his graduate studies at the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome.
Tobin was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Vincent Leonard on July 21, 1973, and then served as an assistant pastor at St. Vitus Parish in New Castle until 1979. From 1979 to 1984, he was an assistant pastor at St. Sebastian Parish in Ross Township, later becoming administrative secretary to Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua, Associate General Secretary of the Diocese of Pittsburgh (1987), and Vicar General and General Secretary (1990).
On November 3, 1992, Tobin was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh and Titular Bishop of Novica by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on December 27, 1992, from Bishop Donald Wuerl, with Bishops Anthony Bosco and Nicholas C. Dattilo serving as co-consecrators. In Pittsburgh his responsibilities included budgets and property management. When a 2018 grand jury report detailed an extensive history of sexual abuse in the Diocese during his time there, Tobin said he was "aware of incidents of sexual abuse when they were reported" but was "not primarily responsible for clergy issues”. Tobin was named Bishop of Youngstown, Ohio, on December 5, 1995, and installed there on February 2, 1996. In 1997, he was given an honorary doctorate from his alma mater of St. Francis University.
Pope John Paul II appointed Tobin Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, on March 31, 2005 as one of his last appointments of a bishop during the pope's 26-year reign; he was installed on May 31, 2005. Bishop Tobin sits on the Board of Trustees of Providence College and of Salve Regina University. He also maintains a column for his diocesan newspaper, "Without a Doubt", These columns have been published in two volumes: Without a Doubt: Bringing Faith to Life and Effective Faith: Faith that Makes a Difference.
In November 2009, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy said that Tobin told him not to take Communion because of his supported for the legalization of access to abortion. Tobin said he had written Kennedy in confidence in 2007 and never intended a public discussion, adding "At the same time, I will absolutely respond publicly and strongly whenever he attacks the Catholic Church, misrepresents the teachings of the Church, or issues inaccurate statements about my pastoral ministry."
When President Obama announced support for same-sex marriage, Tobin said it was "a sad day in American history". His views on Catholic morality and voting have included the concept that voting for a pro-choice, feminist, or pro-LGBTQ candidate is morally unacceptable. He also stated:
... the Catholic Church has respect, love and pastoral concern for our brothers and sisters who have same-sex attraction. I sincerely pray for God’s blessings upon them, that they will enjoy much health, happiness and peace.... Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs. Indeed, as St. Paul urges us, we are required to “speak the truth in love.” (Eph 4:15). At this moment of cultural change, it is important to affirm the teaching of the Church, based on God’s word, that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful. And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.
In August 2013, Tobin announced that he had changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, citing the Democratic Party's support for abortion access as his primary reason for doing so. Later in the year, he criticized Pope Francis on multiple occasions. After the Pope reprimanded Catholics who "obsess" over abortion, Tobin, without mentioning the Pope by name, called it "a very important obsession". "It’s one thing for him to reach out and embrace and kiss little children," Tobin said. "It would also be wonderful if in a spiritual way he would reach out and embrace and kiss unborn children." He added that he was "a little disappointed in Pope Francis." Many Rhode Island lawmakers[who?] criticized Tobin for his words, both on abortion and homosexuality, with one alleging that his tone was "not very Christian-like." Many publicly stated that they preferred Francis's less dogmatic approach. Tobin later defended himself, referring to his comments as "little concerns," adding that he had said "a lot of nice things" about the Pope. On a separate occasion, he asked, "Is an ‘easy’ church, devoid of any moral imperatives or challenge, being faithful to its mission?"
- 2005 Saint Francis University Alumni Directory page 276
- "Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin says abuse was outside his responsibility". Providence Journal. August 21, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- "Without A Doubt" Archived January 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Gilgoff, Dan. "Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin's Response to Rep. Patrick Kennedy". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- "RI Bishop Tobin: Obama's support of gay marriage 'a sad day in American history'". Providence Journal. May 20, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- Tobin, Thomas Joseph (May 2, 2013). "Letter to Catholics on the Approval of "Same-Sex Marriage" in RI". Diocese of Providence. Archived from the original on December 17, 2013. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- Stanton, Mike (December 10, 2013). "Combative R.I. bishop counters Pope Francis's message". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence Official Site
- Book: Effective Faith: Faith that Makes a Difference
- Without a Doubt Column Archive
|Catholic Church titles|
Robert Edward Mulvee
| Bishop of Providence
James William Malone
| Bishop of Youngstown
George Vance Murry, SJ
| Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh