Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

Birthday: 1 April 1948

Bachelor of Arts – St. Francis University, Loretta, PA
Seminary Studies – Pontifical North American College, Rome, Italy
Graduate Studies – Pontifical Liturgical Institute of St. Anselmo, Rome, Italy

Ordination: 21 July 1973
Episcopate: 27 December 1992
Facebook Twitter (401) 278-4500

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin on the Issues

Viganò testimony

Supports investigating Archbishop Viganò’s claims
  • In a statement, Bishop Tobin said “The allegations lodged by Archbishop Viganò involving Pope Francis are substantive, and need to be investigated in a prompt and just manner.” The “present impasse in the Church, unfolding on an international level, has caused confusion and division among the faithful, even locally,” he wrote. “Only Pope Francis can resolve the serious crisis in which the Church now finds herself, and I respectfully urge His Holiness to address this matter as soon as possible. The future direction of the Church, its spiritual welfare, and the faith of God’s people, are at stake,” he said. (NBC 10 News)

Amoris Laetitia

Unclear on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics
  • A diocesan taskforce presented to Bishop Tobin in April of 2018 its recommendations for how to implement Amoris Laetitia in his diocese. The suggestions, unclear on the question of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, have not yet been implemented but they called for better educating the laity about accompaniment and discernment. (Rhode Island Catholic)
  • On January 19, 2017, Bishop Tobin wrote a column summarizing Amoris Laetitia, the dubia, and those who want and those who don’t want to give Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. Tobin was unclear as to whether such persons should be given Communion or what his diocese would do for them. He did praise Amoris Laetitia by saying it is about “much more” than communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. He called it a “comprehensive and challenging blueprint for the pastoral care of marriage and the family.” (Catholic News Agency)
  • In December 2016, Bishop Tobin told a local news affiliate that there are parts of Amoris Laetitia that he finds “a little troublesome.” He also said he hopes Pope Francis would provide guidance as to which interpretations of Amoris Laetitia the Church will follow. (WPRI News)
  • In July 2016, Bishop Tobin said he believes it is “pretty clear” Amoris Laetitia is “marked by ambiguity,” and that it was written ambiguously on purpose. Tobin said that because Amoris Laetitia is unclear in what it teaches, Catholics will do “just about whatever they want” when it comes to Holy Communion. (LifeSiteNews)
  • In an April 2016 statement, Bishop Tobin said that it will be important to engage the “lived experience” of families that don’t always live up to the “ideal” proclaimed by the Church. “Our prayer is that every family will be a holy family, and that God’s Family, the Church, will be a home where all can find a place at the table,” it added. (WPRI News)
  • In a diocesan column published ahead of the 2014 Synod on the Family, Tobin said that while Church teaching on marriage cannot change, something “has to be done” about the Church’s pastoral approach to divorced Catholics. “The status quo is unacceptable,” he said. Tobin also rhetorically asked if it might be better to rely on the conscience of the laity to decide if they should present themselves for Holy Communion. (Catholic News Agency)

Pro-life leadership

Actively engages in pro-life leadership
  • During a 2018 pro-abortion rally outside the Rhode Island state capital, protesters projected a message on the capitol building which read, “Bishop Tobin does not speak for R.I.” In a tweet responding to the message, Tobin called it a “wonderful compliment” to be identified as an enemy of pro-aborts. (Church POP)
  • On April 3, 2018, Bishop Tobin tweeted that there is no right to end the life of an unborn child. Abortion is a form of capital punishment for babies, he said, and it exploits vulnerable women. “Wrong, just wrong!” (LifeSiteNews)
  • In 2015, Bishop Tobin buried the body of a 20-week old aborted baby found in a sewage plant. Tobin named the baby “Francis” in honor of Pope Francis, who Tobin said encourages Catholics to change the “throwaway culture” of abortion. (LifeSiteNews)
  • Bishop Tobin joined in two pro-life, prayerful demonstrations outside abortion clinics for the 2010 40 Days for Life Lenten campaign. (LifeSiteNews)


Upholds Church teaching on homosexuality
  • In 2016, Tobin rebuked Virginia Senator Tim Kaine for supporting gay “marriage,” abortion, and gay adoptions. On Facebook, Tobin stated that although Kaine likes to say his faith is central to everything he does, apparently his faith “isn’t central to his public, political life” given his opposition to well-established Catholic teaching. (LifeSiteNews)
  • Bishop Tobin told Catholics in a 2015 diocesan letter that homosexual acts are always sinful and that attending same-sex ceremonies “might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.” (LifeSiteNews)
  • In 2012, Tobin wrote a column for the Rhode Island Catholic urging state lawmakers to resist legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Tobin said homosexual “marriages” are immoral, untested social experiments that will endanger religious freedom. (CatholicVote)

Abortion politics

Upholds Church teaching on abortion politics
  • In a series of tweets in 2019, Bishop Tobin took a strong stance against pro-abortion legislation in Rhode Island. In one tweet he wrote, “The fear of Roe v. Wade being overturned is being used as an excuse, a smoke screen, to expand abortion in RI. Abortion destroys innocent life and exploits vulnerable women. It is a cruel and violent practice. No more abortion in RI.” After urging Democrats to vote against abortion, he reminded Catholic lawmakers in Rhode Island of his track record in dealing with pro-abortion politicians, linking an article from 2009 when he barred pro-abortion Rep. Patrick Kennedy from communion. (Providence Journal)
  • On March 15, 2018, Tobin tweeted: “Catholics cannot provide, support or encourage abortion. Catholic political leaders have a serious obligation in this matter. Abortion is sinful; it is immoral. It destroys life and exploits women. Disciples of Christ do not support abortion. Period.” (LifeSiteNews)
  • In a February 2018 column for his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Tobin strongly affirmed that “The right to be born is the absolute premise of all other rights.” Late term abortions are “barbaric” and it is a “sin and a shame” that America pays for abortions with taxpayer dollars, he wrote. “Abortion is, without a doubt, the pre-eminent human life issue of our time.” (Rhode Island Catholic)
  • In 2016, Bishop Tobin encouraged Catholics via Facebook to vote pro-life in Rhode Island’s primary elections and “never to vote for any candidate, of any party, who supports abortion.” (LifeSiteNews)
  • Bishop Tobin refused to attend the Catholic governor of Rhode Island’s 2015 inauguration due to her support of what he called “the grave moral evil” of legalized abortion. (LifeSiteNews)
  • In 2014, Bishop Tobin told Catholics to write in “Mother Teresa” instead of voting for pro-abortion politicians. (LifeSiteNews)
  • After Nelson Mandela died in 2013, Bishop Tobin said in a statement that there is part of Mandela’s legacy that is “not at all praiseworthy, namely his shameful promotion of abortion in South Africa.” (LifeSiteNews)
  • Bishop Tobin was awarded the Defender in Faith Award by Legatus, an organization for Catholics who work in business. The group gave him the award in 2010 for “defending the sacredness of Our Lord in the Eucharist by advising a pro-abortion Congressman not to present himself for Communion.” (Legatus)
  • Human Life International, a pro-life organization, awarded Bishop Tobin its most prestigious award in the summer of 2010. The group praised Tobin for his “fearless proclamation of the Gospel,” citing his decision to stand up to pro-abortion Patrick Kennedy as evidence of his “pastoral strength.” (Human Life International)
  • In 2009, Bishop Tobin publicly rebuked pro-abortion Congressman Patrick Kennedy, stating that Kennedy’s position diminishes his communion with the Church. (LifeSiteNews)
  • In 2007, Bishop Tobin wrote a private letter to pro-abortion Congressman Patrick Kennedy informing him he had been barred from receiving communion due to his public stance on abortion. (LifeSiteNews)


Faithful to Church teaching on contraception
  • In 2012, Bishop Tobin released a statement describing the HHS contraceptive mandate as an “unprecedented, outrageous and unacceptable attack on religious freedom.” Tobin urged all Catholics in his diocese to lobby Congress to overturn the mandate. (Rhode Island Catholic)
  • In a 2008 column, Bishop Tobin affirmed that married love is “ordered to the procreation and education” of children. For this reason, Tobin writes, married couples should not use artificial birth control since their love should ultimately be “cooperating with the love of God the Creator.” (Rhode Island Catholic)

“LGBT” ideology

Upholds Church teaching on “LGBT” ideology
  • In a tweet sent on June 1, 2019, Bishop Tobin warned Catholics to “not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride Month’ events held in June” because “they promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals.” He also said the events “are especially harmful for children.” After enormous backlash from the political community, he issued a statement saying he stood by his remarks but that he regrets they turned out to be “so controversial.” He said he hoped a local pro-gay rally would be “a safe, positive and productive experience for all.” Bishop Tobin said he would pray for “mutual understanding and respect in our very diverse community” (LifeSiteNews)
  • Bishop Tobin warned Catholics to be wary of events during the 2018 June LGBTQ “Pride Month.” Tobin tweeted that Pride Month is “not a fun-filled, family-friendly celebration of respect. It promotes a lifestyle and agenda that, in the extreme, is morally offensive.” (LifeSiteNews)


Promotes reverent liturgy
  • On May 25, 2019, Bishop Tobin conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form at St. Mary’s Church in Providence, a parish under the care of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. (Twitter)
  • Bishop Tobin invited the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to take over St. Mary’s Church in Providence beginning August 1, 2018. The Fraternity of St. Peter is a Latin Mass group of priests. (The Missive)

Marriage and Family Life

Upholds Church teaching on marriage and family life
  • On March 21, 2018, Bishop Tobin wrote a letter of support praising a Providence College student who was threatened by other students because he created a bulletin board post stating that marriage is between a man and a woman. Tobin told the student he admires him for “stepping forward to proclaim the teachings of the Church.” (LifeSiteNews)
  • After learning that Mother’s Day cards will stop using the word “mother” and will instead use gender-neutral language, Bishop Tobin tweeted on March 11, 2018: “So it’s official: our culture has become completely irrational.” (Twitter)


Not enough evidence collected on this issue