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Providence Bishop Tobin criticizes Pope Francis again, this time over same-sex civil unions

Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin.Gretchen Ertl

PROVIDENCE — Hours after Pope Francis for the first time endorsed same-sex civil unions, Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin called such relationships “objectively immoral” and said the Catholic church should not accept them.

Francis' support for civil unions came in the documentary “Francesco,” which was released in Rome Wednesday. Other topics discussed by the pope included racial and income inequality and migration, according to the Associated Press.

But Tobin took issue with Francis calling for a civil union law, which he said “clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the church.” Tobin was a vocal opponent of Rhode Island’s move to civil unions and the eventual passage of a gay marriage bill.


“Individuals with same-sex attraction are beloved children of God and must have their personal human rights and civil rights recognized and protected by law,” Tobin said in a statement. “However, the legalization of their civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible.”

Tobin has been a critic of Francis at various times over the past seven years, at one point suggesting that the pope has not been vocal enough about abortion. He has also never been shy about voicing his opinion on a range of issues, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s faith, President Trump’s position on illegal immigration, and LGBTQ Pride Month.

Dan McGowan can be reached at Follow him @danmcgowan.