When Bishop Thomas Tobin posted a homophobic tweet encouraging Catholics to ignore Pride month and claiming gay pride is somehow harmful to children, the LGBTQ community responded. And they didn’t hold back.

“A reminder that Catholics should not support or attend LGBTQ “Pride Month” events held in June,” Tobin wrote. “They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Catholic faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children.”

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Tobin’s tweet went viral and was ratioed quickly — in other words, meaning his remarks were so offensive that the number of comments outnumbered “likes” and retweets, writes David Badash for The New Civil Rights Movement.

Twitter was flooded with replies from queer and trans people and lots of allies, including celebrities, BuzzFeed News reports.

“This is pure ignorance & bigotry,” tweeted actress Mia Farrow. “Ignore this hate-filled hypocrite. His mind set leads only to suffering. He brings to mind those priests who molested my brothers. Of course we should embrace our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and children. Jesus spoke of love.”

She also made another important point.

“Kids are in far more danger in a Catholic church than at a Gay Pride gathering.”

And Farrow isn’t wrong. Especially in Tobin’s case. He served as auxiliary bishop of Pittsburg, one of six Pennsylvania dioceses, where a Grand Jury found the Catholic church tried to hide decades of sexual abuse perpetrated by more than 300 priests, Joe.My.God. reports. Tobin tried to back out of this last August by saying “he became aware of incidents of sexual abuse when they were reported to the diocese,” but this wasn’t under his jurisdiction. So in other words, he was okay with knowing this and letting abuse slip under the wire.

But gay people are contrary to “Catholic morals” and are “harmful for children.”


And other Twitter users (including actress Patricia Arquette) agreed.

Jorge Elorza, the mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, where Tobin is based, tweeted his support for the LGBTQ community, noting everyone is welcome to celebrate Pride Month.

“We stand with and support our LGBTQIA+ community here this June and every day in our capital city,” he wrote.

The backlash to Tobin’s tweet was swift and a rally was held outside the largest Catholic church in the city. And Tobin issued an apology that really wasn’t an apology.

“It was not my intention” to offend, he wrote in a statement. “But my obligation before God…is to teach the faith.”

Joe Lazzerini, president of Rhode Island Pride, said Tobin’s tweet was outrageous.

“He said LGBTQIA people are harmful to children, and frankly, hearing that from a [leader] of the Catholic church is frankly flabbergasting.”

But it’s not just that, Lazzerini added. The bishop’s comments obliterate Catholic LGBTQ people and their allies.

“Regardless of how he personally feels, regardless of what the supposed teachings of the Catholic church are, I don’t think the bishop represents Rhode Island Catholics.”

Let’s hope Lazzerini is right because to think anything else is disgusting. People like Tobin need to check themselves out in the mirror.

Featured image courtesy of the video above