An Open Letter to Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

We need leaders who will not mislead us and scatter us. We cry out for shepherds who will shepherd us, so that we need no longer fear and tremble.

(Image: Jenny Marvin @jennymarvin | Unsplash.com)

To: His Excellency Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, RI

Dear Bishop Tobin,

These lines are in response to your tweet of Thursday, July 19th, 2018. I’m afraid I have rather more to say than the 280-character platform will comfortably allow. You will recall that you said:

Despite the egregious offenses of a few, and despite the faults and sins we all have, I’m very proud of my brother bishops and I admire and applaud the great work they do every day for Christ and His Church.

I assume that the “few” to whom you refer are the Catholic bishops who abuse people sexually, and those who enable such clerics’ abusive behavior by winking and connivance if not active coverup.

To be frank, whether those men are a “few” in any defensible sense of the term is at this point doubtful, but that is not what I would like to discuss. Here, I am concerned to address a different elephant in the sanctuary.

You have all failed us.

You, personally, and all your brother bishops have failed Christ’s faithful. You have failed our children. You have failed our clergy. You have failed the people searching for the Lord, who have a right to the Gospel and therefore a right to the Church as Christ intends her to be, rather than as you have made her; you have failed us all.

I hope you are not one of the “few”, who knew something and yet did nothing – but candor compels me to tell you that, for the present purposes, I do not care.

Your duty as a bishop is to know, and to act.

It says so right in the name of the office you hold: episkopos. You episkopoi are the curators, the guardians, the superintendents – in a word, the overseers – of the Church.

Seeing that justice is done by way of transparent and reliable criminal procedure whenever a credible accusation is lodged, while indispensably necessary and imprescindible, is only a small part of the seeing for which Christ instituted your office. Before that, it is your duty to see that the Christian faithful of every age and state of life in the Church are safe from every possible bodily, psychological, and spiritual harm. If you bishops cannot do that, you cannot hope to help us grow in the holiness to which Our Lord calls us, and for which he has placed us in your charge. It simply will not do for you to tell us that you did not see, hence that you did not know, what was before you.

If it were not an insult to our intelligence, it would still be gravely unsatisfactory.

It is your duty to see that your brethren in the episcopacy and the clergy in your charge live morally upright and orderly lives. Ideally, you would see that yourself and all of them live lives of exemplary virtue. At a bare minimum, you must see to it that the children and young people everywhere are safe, and that vulnerable people are protected; that no seminary should become or continue to be a farm for perversion, nor any chancery or chapter a hotbed of corruption and disorder – for, so long as they are, parishes and schools and oratories cannot fail to become playgrounds for perverts. I say again: it is your duty to see, and to act – even to see and to denounce your brother bishops’ failures and misdeeds and miscarriages of duty when and where you do see them.

Just this Sunday, we heard Our Lord tell words of stark warning to the shepherds of His people:

Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of my pasture, says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, against the shepherds who shepherd my people: You have scattered my sheep and driven them away. You have not cared for them, but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.

We need leaders who will not mislead us and scatter us. We cry out for shepherds who will shepherd us, so that we need no longer fear and tremble.

There is something else, Bishop Tobin, which I feel I must say to you: I do not doubt for one second that Our Lord will in His own good time send us good shepherds, who shall do what is just and right. The only question I have for you, Your Excellency, is this: what kind of shepherds will you and your lot try to be in the time the Lord has appointed you to watch over His flock?

You will not see the end of the ruin to lives and souls that you have wrought – not if you live to see a hundred years – but if you open your eyes and act now, you may be in time to arrest the destruction. You may even be in time to take such steps, as may begin to repair the damage.

I believe I speak for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ, when I say that we will not fail to support any shepherd who proves his willingness to toil and to suffer in this cause for our sake and Our Lord’s.

Nevertheless, our patience with those of you, who do not see, is at an end.

Yours in Christ Our Lord,

Christopher R. Altieri

(Opinions expressed in articles for Catholic World Report are the authors’ alone, and do not necessarily represent the positions of other contributors or of Ignatius Press.)


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About Christopher R. Altieri 66 Articles
Christopher R. Altieri is co-Founder and general manager of Vocaris Media and the author of The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood.

102 Comments

  1. Amen.

    The Church is steeped in corruption, crime against The Lord and the children of The Lord, “an adulterous generation” across the world parading in both city and sanctuary in the support of the sex revolution.

    Bishop Thomas Tobin of Newark is a repulsive marketeer of a dead anti-Church.

    For myself, I am angry at Bishop Tobin and men like him.

    The reckoning is come for the counterfeit Church.

    • Chris Altieri’s letter is not to the Cardinal-Archbishop of Newark but to the Bishop of Providence. Wrong Tobin. People ought to pay closer attention before commenting.

      • Yes, Father Stravinskas, ChrisInMaryland made an error regarding similar names. He corrected himself.
        But the this abomination is, nevertheless, true and clear….homosexuals and their sympathizers control the RCC.
        It saddens me greatly to say that.
        If you agree this is true, as the good priest you are, what is your plan to be rid of this filth?
        If you do not agree with the author’s assessment, it would be interesting to know you think otherwise. Thx.

      • Fr. S:

        Agree. I noticed my mistake and corrected 30 min later. You are right about being careful, and I should have been.

        Mea culpa.

      • His Grace Bishop Tobin of Rhode Island is a one of the greatest hierarchs of the Catholic Church in America. He was the bishop of Youngstown, Ohio. Bishop Tobin is a very conservative bishop who without fear defend the Christian spiritual vales which are secularized by the Democrats.

        • Bishop Tobin of Rhode Island must go. They say timing is everything, and lucky for Tobin the state’s Catholic fundraising campaign concluded before this latest story broke and the role our Bishop played in it. There’s no excuse. I snicker to think about the raucous he caused when Raimondo announced her “pro-choice views” and Tobin demanded her photo be removed from LaSalle’s “Wall of Notables.” (She graduated from the high school.) Now, who’s going to demand that Tobin be removed from the “Wall of Bishops?” The Pope?

      • It is easy to confuse the two Tobins. I find it helpful to think of them simply as the “good Tobin” and the “bad Tobin.”

    • The Confirmation class at our parish had t participate in a class over the weekend on LGBTQ people. Parents who didn’t let children attend were basically told they could find another church. They would not let parents sit in.

    • There is indeed an anti church that has flourished and is imo, reaching its poisoned-fruit ripeness. Im a revert who left as a teen over the false and weak leaders who couldnt show me that “more excellent way” I was looking for. I was called back miraculously and serve with my gift of intercession and discernment. The Church is being sifted and winnowed-we need to all be praying we are that good wheat which will remain

    • Umm, Bishop Thomas Tobin is bishop in Rhode Island. You can turn off the liberal bishops enabled Macarrick spin. JPII enabled and ignored sexual predators throughout his papacy.

    • ALL “gay” men who are priests need to be struck down in blindness like Saint Paul, otherwise there is no cure for them. Jesus, I trust in You

    • There are two Bishops Tobin:
      Thomas, of Rhode Island ( good)
      Joseph, of Newark (bad)
      Unfortunately people are getting them confused.

  2. Finally someone says it in unmistakable language. Congratulations, Mr. Altieri. I would add only that any cardinal or bishop who knew of Cardinal McCarrick’s crimes or those of any other cardinal or bishop and did not act should be degraded from his Orders, laicized, excommunicated, and reported to civil authorities for criminal prosecution. That includes Bishop Tobin, if applicable.

  3. So I see I am mistaken: Mr. Altieri was noting that his objections were to a tweet by Bishop Tobin of Providence.

    I amend my remarks – which erroneously called the Bishop of Newark “Thomas” Tobin.

    The man I label as repulsive is Bishop Joseph Tobin, the notorious tweeter of “Night-night baby,” and purveyor of sex revolution masses at the Cathedral in Newark. I guess he is not the only tweeting Bishop Tobin.

    As to Bishop Tobin of Providence, my remarks do not apply to him, as I have heretofore always found him to be a good Bishop, seemingly faithful to the Church. Although I would join Mr. Altieri if I thought that Bishop Tobin of Providence was trying to “get this all behind us” (to quote McCarrick on his own deceptive manipulations on sex abuse scandal). On that, I withhold conclusions.

    But in conjunction with Mr. Altieri, I am done with playing pretend.

    I am also beginning to believe that the Catholic Church must come up with (1) an end and alternative to incardination, and (2) a means in Canon Law for all Catholic faithful, including laity, to hold Bishops and Cardinals accountable for actions and inactions.

    • Here’s the latest on Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island (from ChurchPop) –
      Big news in the Church’s social media landscape.

      Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI (not to be confused with Cardinal Joseph Tobin) has deleted his Twitter account amid a backlash to a few of his recent tweets in response to the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal.
      The text reads: “A final tweet. Sadly, Twitter has become a major distraction for me, on good days and bad, an obstacle to my spiritual life, an occasion of sin for me and others. So, good-bye. If I’ve offended anyone, I’m truly sorry. If I’ve helped anyone along the way, thank God.”

      His account is now completely deleted.

  4. Amen. The absolutely pathetic tweet of Bishop Tobin is a prime example of a failed episcopacy. Lukewarmness in the face of the destruction of the Catholic Church at the hands of sexual predators is utterly unacceptable. These perverts are Cardinal’s, Bishops, Rectors of Seminaries, heads of monasteries etc…

    The majority of bishop in the U.S. appear to be incompetent buffoons who allow every sort of abuse to continue in his Diocese. Go to the average parish and what do you find: abusive liturgies and heretical teachings. A laity that is upwards of 80% ignorant of the Content of the Catholic Faith. And almost the only time they every hear from their Bishop is for the Diocesan Appeal.

    And when something like McCarrick et al. pops up, they remain silent or make vague statements like Tobin’s. They should be shouting from the rooftops in open condemnation of this evil. And none of them should be resting until it is rooted out once and for all, and this includes the current villan’s at the Vatican.

    God Will not be Mocked.

  5. This open letter seems appropriate for another prelate, or better to all US bishops. Unless the author has information that this Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence is derelict in not enforcing strict monitoring of his clergy regards sexual abuse. If not why address this letter to one of the very few outspoken bishops who have called into question the trend toward acceptance of homosexuality within the Church, communion for D&R? The Laity are crying out for Shepherds who do not mislead them, shepherds who uphold Apostolic Tradition not simply the plight of illegal migrants. There is where the glaring dereliction is. That is where admonition is so needed. That would be a letter of note.

    • Father, Mr Altieri makes it clear that even in the (unlikely) event that Bishop Tobin knew nothing of the malfeasance of his fellow bishops, he and all the other non-offending bishops have failed to rise to the standards of their office. They are required to take positive action to extirpate the rotten elements in the Church. Instead, they stand by while all manner of liturgical, catechetical, and formational abuses take place under their noses, under the apparent belief that they can discharge their obligations by making the occasional orthodox pronouncement. Hence, we get the familiar (and tiresome) phenomenon of the “good” bishop, who keeps his own hands clean while steadfastly maintaining omerta about the horrendous trespasses of his brethren. It’s just not good enough. Time for an open reckoning.

      • Murray I note below I reread Altieri’s article and agree with your take and his issue with the entire Hierarchy for not shepherding the Church. If the Hierarchy were to stand as a man against the errors attributed to the Pontiff this dilemma could be resolved.

    • I personally have such a letter since February 12, from the Sioux City Iowa Archdiocese showing cover-up for 30 plus years. When I tried to bring it to the light of the Catholic church, the darkness is so thick that “ALL” of the hierarchy wanted nothing to do with it, with exception to a few priests who can do nothing, because these few priests are under a blindfold of obedience that is leading the flock to the slaughter. Jesus, I trust in You

  6. While Mr Altieri’s concern about episcopal non-feasance in the clerical sex abuse situation is correct, we should admit that that has been beaten to death. At nearly every press conference announcing a new bishop (and at his installation), we have been treated to the now-requisite assurance that children in that diocese will be safe. And while any kind of clerical sexual activity is to be condemned, I am more concerned about other forms of abuse, namely, doctrinal and liturgical.
    Frankly, I have never met a single person who has left the Church due to the sexual abuse phenomenon, but I have met hundreds personally who have left for these two reasons (and we know that they actually come into the hundreds of thousands). I can count on one hand the number of American bishops who have taken seriously the doctrinal and liturgical crises: heresy from the pulpit and in the classroom; liturgical deviations galore. To be brutally honest, many have concluded that the only reason the sexual abuse crisis was addressed was because of the horrifically bad press and the millions of dollars shelled out. The issues I have highlighted don’t get the bad press and don’t cause loss of money (actually, money is lost because people abandon the pews).
    St. Augustine preached about bishops who function like mute dogs in the face of ongoing problems. Ratzinger/Benedict often cited that sermon. Non-feasance is just as bad as malfeasance. After all, in the Confiteor we ask pardon for “what I have failed to do.”

    • Fr. Stravinskas, I very much agree with you that doctrinal and liturgical abuse are serious and cause harm to the church. However, just prior ro that comment you state that, “while any kind of clerical activity is to be condemned” that doctrinal and liturgical abuse cause you more concern. Do you not think that priest sexual activity/involvement is a serious violation of doctrine?

      Also, I am sad to state that I have encountered several people (during hospital visits) who shared with me that they did leave the Roman Catholic Church due to all the sexual activity of priests which has not been punished and stopped.

      • No, clerical sexual activity is not a violation of doctrine; it is a violation of morality. More to the point: Someone can fully accept Church teaching on sexuality and fail to live up to it. The biggest problem occurs when someone fails to live up to the teaching and then proceeds to question or deny the teaching.

    • With respect Father, the abuse scandals and sexual misbeviour in the Church have NOT been “beaten to death”. I say this because these scandals keep happening over and over on a daily basis. Just do a simple google news search with the term “Catholic priest” and look at the litany of disgusting headlines that appear (there aren’t that many priests in the world but as a group they are able to generate daily abuse headlines world wide). Sadly, there’s nothing “dead” about these scandals as they are very much alive in the Church. They will and should come up as long as they keep happening. We must also speak about them to remain vigilant.

      As long as our so-called bishops refuse to act (which includes clamping down on heresy, dissent and liturgical abuse) we should continue to discuss these things and bring them to light in the faint hope our bishops have a conscience and will act. Maybe you misspoke but it’s not an either/or thing. We should be rightly concerned about dissent and liturgical abuse AND protect our children and vulnerable adults from sexual predation. I will say though that the immediate safety of a child takes precedent over a bad liturgy. Frankly, I’m sick of the whole lot of them and if it wasn’t for my need for the sacraments I would walk away; and yes I’m very tempted to leave over the abuse scandals.

      • Absolutely spot on.
        This issue not been “beaten to death” because each week more abominations of this type are revealed!

        • Father, with respect, this issue is far too serious for rhetorical word games or pretending to be naive.

          Do a google news search with the term “Catholic priest” you will see that on a daily basis there are reports of Catholic clergy abusing people on every continent. This is a very serious and on-going problem in the Church. It must be rooted out. This issue hasn’t been “beaten to death”. It is an on-going cancer in the Church.

        • We can perhaps accept that priestly abuse has been reduced to a negligible amount, as often reported. And praise be to God if so. But the bishops adroitly managed to delay their own reckoning at the time, and now it seems to be catching up with them.

          Common sense tells us this: the episcopacy is a closed circle, a relatively small group men with great authority and limited accountability. And like all such groups, word tends to get around. If McCarrick’s evil acts were widely known among laypeople going back almost two decades, how much more so among the bishops? Of course they knew. Of course they did. And they said nothing. We can surmise that they are still saying nothing about other “brother bishops” who are guilty of similar perversions.

          I wish I could be confident that Bishop Tobin (along with Finn, Burke, O’Malley, Chaput, name your “conservative” bishop here) has been floating along in blithe, childlike innocence lo these many years, but it just defies credibility.

    • Quote:
      “Frankly, I have never met a single person who has left the Church due to the sexual abuse phenomenon…”
      Just off the top of my head, prominent author/journalist Rod Dreher.

      • With all respect to father S … I think the arc abuse scandal has greatly weakened the faith of many cradle Catholics.. to the point that while they might show up in the pews from time time… in their hearts I get are gone due to the scandal and definately trust of the Church…. and a lot Peopledo not look deep into the Church etc due to the scandal= lost converts. I live Holy Mother Church and am graced with Faith no scandal can take and I know people fail, they are to blame, the Church sails on as She is…the deliverer of the Gospel and salvation.

        Still, I do not believe that rampant abuse of minors etc goes on to this day. I believe that the Church like all institutions had predators in it just like baptist churches did, camps, libraries etc… this morning s. Or just a cathol C church issue… it happens everywhere and while any cover up is gravely wrong and some have occurred… I think I wrong to say that all kinds of bishops knew and did nothing. That is gravely wrong too unless you have first hand witness proof. Our society has only begun to understand how predators think and behave and tend to never change. As a society we are only starting to act in accord with this knowledge. Please be careful, painfully so when attacking a whole group. My own personal knowledge is that there is rampant doctrinal and liturgical abuse in the south and ignorance of our great faith…. it breaks my heart.

      • I have known several who left because they or members of their families experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a priest. In some cases, whole families, large families, left.

    • Fr S. with all due respect, our priest never– and I mean never- has us recite the confiteor on weekend masses (or daily for that matter. And he has been our priest for 18 years!

        • It’s the Mass which fulfills the pewsitters obligation to the third commandment. It used to be Sunday Mass.
          But, as you certainly know, 4pm (MASS) on Saturday is the now the Lord’s Day. Thanks, Vatican2.

    • Agreed… liturgical and doctrinal abuses going on way too many ch as well as homilies that too often say nothing more then essentially. Be good and love everybody… a far cry from what is needed in today’s world. I was recently fired from a catholic school for refusing to work on Sunday. In that firing I was actually accused of teaching that it he divorced and remarried go to hell… I kindly informed the lady that indeed they do ( without annulment). Other wayward things went on that were not Christian. I have up a high paying teaching job to teach and a cathol Catholic school … they fired me without even letting me finish out the year !! A practice commonly only utilized for those teachers that commit crimes… but no,… in this school it was utilized for a devout orthodox catholic whom veils and only receives on the tongue and on my knees… I kneel to receive my Lord… what little it is to give our God

    • Fr. S, I do agree with what you say in most points, but a point I would like to make you aware of is when the laity is effected by the Non-feasance of the hierarchy. The obedience for a priest is like a blindfold, making the laity a flock without holy shepherds. There are no correct measures given during confession, the homilies are words and only words. Personally, I would rather see one holy priest than a million good priests. We, the laity, have to make our homes Churches, but without the Holy Eucharist, to do that is a joke. God has to intervene when it seems to me that His Catholic church is filled with nothing but zombies of all sorts. I say, Jesus I trust in You

  7. The letter should be addressed to Pope Francis and that well-known network that he supports and that supports him in return. That network includes for example: Cardinal McCarrick; Cardinal McCarrick protegees Cardinals Joseph Tobin, Kevin Farrell and Blaise Cupich; Cardinal Danneels; Cardinal Coccopalmiero and his secretary; Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia; Msgr. Battista Ricca; and Fr. James Martin.

    • Dan, you are correct.
      But these individuals will give response with their standard-issue moral/theological jesuit-speak gymnastics.
      The pew-sitters have had it. Especially those with children. It is so very over with these traitors to Christ and his Church.
      God, only, will correct this. Only God. He will not be mocked. His wrath is comming very soon.
      Smirk all you want, Father Stravinskas, your children were not the one’s touched by these homosexual maniacs.

    • Bravo for naming them.
      And I DO know, personally, people who fled because of clergy sexual abuse. Not only those souls, but men who cannot find a safe seminary. When I asked several priests, both online and in RL, to recommend such a seminary where homosexual shenanigans weren’t rampant I was met with crickets. One said, “there IS one in Italy…at least, it WAS free from that sin, but I honestly can’t vouch for it today.”
      How infinitely sad is THAT? So, Fr. Stravinskas, can YOU recommend a seminary in the US that is both friendly toward traditionalists and free from homosexual influence?

    • You omitted Dolan of New York. I bet you he knew about McCarrick but he did not do and say anything because he did not want to offend his friends and benefactors in the LGBT crowd, which has succeeded in infiltrating many of the parishes in his diocese, to name a few, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Ignatius of Loyola, Blessed Sacrament, St. Paul the Apostle. Pre-Gay Pride Parade celebrations are common in these churches. Sickening.

  8. Rod Dreher left the Catholic Church because of the scandal.

    Cheerleading by bishops is even worse than cheerleading by Catholic media. It reminds one of the bs of the 60s and the self-esteem movement of the 70s and onward.

  9. I, for one, am done with this filthy nest of vipers known as the Catholic Church. The rot goes all the way up to the papacy. Your primary occupation appears to be covering for predatory sodomites, with the occasional platitude about immigration thrown in for good effect. If Jesus was ever part of it,
    He left a long time ago.

    • Kevin, blessed be God. Jesus will never leave or divorce His Spousal Church and Bride, no matter how many Judases – satan gets many to commit spiritual suicides as spiritual Judases when they encounter evil – we should be like Jesus who never leaves, imitate Jesus not Judas – satan whispers the opposite, leave like Judas, do not remain like and with Jesus, who never leaves us even if our mother or father would leave us, He will never leave us (cf Isa 49)… Jesus already said and offers these Judases His Sacrifice of Good Friday with His Passioned-Plea, Father forgive them for they do not realize the horrors and evil they have done – the greatest horror and evil if these who Jesus wants to repent and come to life would be eternally lost. May the Holy Spirit bathe you with the His Light and Solace so that spiritual judas-ic suicide does not become a wretched glory of satan for anyone… Enter the open and pierced Heart of Jesus on the Cross, because our thoughts and ways are not His, His are as far away from ours as the east from the west…. Blessings, Kevin. Let us pray for the perfection of conversion and holiness of everyone, that none be lost, but all return to the Father now and forever, Amen. Alleluia!!

    • This is God’s Church… he is there. I highly recommend that you do not let the devil win in the battle by leaving the Church. Yes there are bad men, but the Faith had nothing to do with them… do not let them rob you of all that is beautiful true and everlasting in the Cathol C Church. There has from the beginning been bad men in the Church.. Judas iscariot…, the first pope denied Jesus… etc… but even as bad man continue to be found in the Church through the ages or faulty men… so too does the truth and sacraments remain and can be found as well… no matter what. Christ, I repeat Christ remains in His Church…in the Gospel kept in corrupt. … in the sacraments so pure! He is there for you unblemished… you will find Him no greater in any other Church, no closer… intimacy with Him is in the Church. She is Holy! … not her faulty priests and bishops…. DonNot let the devil have you to focus only and see only what is imperfect…. through the ages no matter what … the saints speak to the holiness and truth of the catholc Church. She is your mother. She loves you!! Badboriests snd bishops crucify her, Matt her , but she remains … you too must make an act of Faith and remain. No other Church founded by God Himself .

  10. Excellent article.
    It’s not rocket science…God will not be mocked.
    The gay bishops and priests and their sympathizers do not believe this, of course.
    It is later than we all think. And much later for you, dear homosexual Catholic clergy.

  11. Astute journalism is not rehash of long addressed issues. Example. An expose of why Cardinal Di Nardo’s USCCB does not correct an extremely disturbing moral hypocrisy. The USCCB’s own creation Catholic Relief Services born under Cardinal Bernadin’s seamless garment. In essence a wonderful endeavor. Michael Hitchborn founder of the Lepanto Institute made that expose recently citing documents revealing funding with monies from pew collections [and in ignorance my own contributions] of Inter Action. Inter Action promotes contraceptives and abortifacients as a means of population control. Is the reason Cardinal Di Nardo is mum on this abhorrent fact Govt monies to the USCCB, CRS and perhaps the Inter Action policy’s consistency with Vatican thought on population and the environment? A letter of inquiry to Cardinal Di Nardo is clearly more deserved than a letter to Bishop Thomas Tobin.

  12. May the Holy Spirit illuminate the darkness of their deeds, exposing them to the Light that converts, sanctifies and brings to Eternal Life. The Bishops especially have this task: Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph 5:11)

  13. Well stated, Mr. A. My thoughts exactly, only you express them so much better. I *love* my Church and my Faith, and our faithful shepherds. But for those in our leadership who have betrayed Jesus and us, which includes those who have covered up for those who have committed horrendous crime and sin – these clergymen and others need to grow a spine and develop a Catholic conscience. Looking the other way and not speaking up when an innocent is being victimized does not only torture the victim a second time. It also makes that person a co-conspirator, a perpetrator to the crime. And yes, even if their actions are not addressed here on Earth, they most certainly will be addressed by our good God in Heaven.

  14. There appear to be some in the Church hierarchy who are behaving little differently than the House of Eli in the Old Testament. What is old is now sadly new again.

  15. I reread Chris Altieri’s article and although I don’t approve singling Bishop Thomas Tobin out it appears Altieri used Tobin’s tweet as a literary foil for a more significant issue with which I agree. That is the collective admonition aimed at all our Hierarchy [not to absolve we priests either] for failing to shepherd the Church. On that score Altieri’s article is courageous and true and deserved better.

    • In a certain way, “conservative” bishops like Thomas Tobin are the problem. Their refusal to confront their wayward colleagues and acknowledge the full extent of the corruption in the hierarchy ensures that the crisis will continue to fester. Also, like their leftist brother bishops, they mix their theological and moral conservatism with a sentimental political liberalism on issues like immigration, the welfare state, climate change etc. that they deliberately try to present as binding teaching, which it is definitely not.

  16. Re: Fr. Stravinskas’ important comments on abandonment of teaching sound doctrine, in context of the concerns about the charges of homosexual predator behavior, it is instructive to note that both of these major problems have a nexus in Cardinal McCarrick.

    McCarrick was one of the dissenting priests who, as college administrators, joined Fr. Hesburg of Notre Dame, and a number of presidents/administrators of SJ and assorted other colleges, who crafted, signed and published the 1967 Land of Lakes statement, their “manifesto” declaring that their colleges (Notre Dame, Fordham, BC, Holy Cross, the U. of Puerto Rico, etc) would no longer bind themselves to teach theology in accordance with the Church’s magisterium.

    Cardinal McCarrick was also the man who engineered the 2004 public deception about Canon 915 and the withholding of the CDF memo (from then-Cardinal Ratzinger) to US Bishops, instructing them on their duty to withhold Holy Communion from people who publicly persisted in promoting grave sins like abortion, euthanasia, etc.

    And it was McCarrick who helped engineer the deceptive “child-protection” policy established by the USCCB, which pretended, in direct contradiction of the facts in the 2002 Abuse Crisis Report, that the sex abuse crisis was primarily pedophilia by male adults against female children, rather than homosexual predation against teenage boys and young seminarians (81%).

    Note that wrt the last item, one or both diocese commenting on the settlements involving McCarrick’s offenses against seminarians insisted that “no (civil) laws were broken” and that “no charges involved minors.” This was of course the deliberate intention of the USCCB program, to focus attention away from the a major part of the main problem, homosexual predation against seminarians and teenage boys, and the cancerous corruption of the abuse subculture persecuting holy young men answering the vocation to the priesthood.

    • I am just speechless, knowing that how the Cardinal was behind every bad things. You would know the person by their inclination, liberal, too-politically involved American (maybe throughout the world) bishops. It’s time for US bishops to guard on their moral consciences rather than raising their voice in heavily political matters like immigration issues, which is not that simple. Let the politicians solve political problems, you spiritual leaders do concentrate on your duties, which guard and protect the souls entrusted to your care to lead them to solvation, but first, reflect on your own conscience and heart and mind so you can stand before Jesus without guilt, especially when you consecrate His Body and Blood in the Mass. Well, this is dark age, we should all keep awake and pray that we don’t fall to temptation. Jesus, have mercy on us sinners!

  17. Can I scream WOW!!!?

    I so cannot contain my joy at this letter. About time. About time.

    We should send them to all bishops. They all helped foster this perversion if not by aiding and abetting the perverts, by remaining silent in the midst of perversity.

    THEY ALL KNEW. THEY DID NOTHING.

    • Precisely. The good priests in this comment section (and they are good priests) may be content to cavil about “long-addressed issues” and attempt to divert the conversation toward other problems in the Church, but the bishops have thus far evaded scrutiny for their shameful silence about their brethren committing sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. It’s long past time to drop the “company man” facade.

  18. CWR is a millstone around the Church
    Bishop Tobin of Providence is right and all of fhe rock throwers are selfrighteous prigs

  19. It really comes down to this. We need to get the homosexuals OUT of the clergy and seminaries. Gays should be welcomed in the pews, but not in the sanctuary.

  20. Paul (July 23 at 4:16AM) writes that any Cdl or Bishop who knew of Cdl McCarrick’s crimes…should be excommunicated. In the article above “McCarrick, the Bishops etc”,
    JD Flynn of CNA mentions that when Cdl O’Malley delivered the letter to the Pope with
    accusations against Bishop Barros, he possibly mentioned also to the Pope the
    allegations against Cdl McCarrick. If that happened the Pope also knew since April 2015 about McCarrick and should be excommunicated following Paul’s proposal. Philly Phil writes that gays should be welcomed in the pews, but not in the sanctuary. Why did the Pope appoint three homo-lobbyists in the Vatican last year, Fr James Martin,Fr Jose Tolentino and Fr Timothy Radcliffe?

  21. If Bishops or Cardinals cannot call each other to higher moral standards than they have no business carrying those titles. Don’t expect the faithful to have ANY faith in you either.

  22. That the letter was addressed to the wrong prelate is problematic. May I suggest that the author resubmit his open letter for CWR with the correct bishop (cardinal) named? The problem is that if this is not taken down, future internet searches will find this version of the article with the misleading title and the good bishop’s name will be harmed since not everybody reads the comments section.

    • Rev. David K. Seid, O.P. I have such a letter that is damning to the Sioux City Iowa Archdiocese that shows that the hierarchy is guilty of cover-up for over 30 plus years of one person. He abused 50 plus kids from 11-16 years of age. I appealed to at least 20 Archbishops who said what you are saying, “wrong prelate”. How hypocritical! What is the right forum for “cover-up” of abusing children? Who is attending to all the victims who are not within reach of the statute of limitations, that these wolves let run out? How cunning and shrewd are shepherds, who lead us Catholics to a slaughter with words like, “wrong prelate”. Words are only a delay of the action that should be taken by each and every ONE of YOU! You are anointed for God’s SAKE! Does that mean that you should take action or should we be lulled to sleep with words like, “wrong prelate”.

      I am tired and disgusted, because Jesus put in my hands to expose the hierarchy of priests who avoid what Mr. Christopher R. Altieri is trying to put forth for Catholic laity like myself. As far as I am concerned, “anyone who does nothing, is guilty!” You need to start listening, and praying incessantly for Jesus’ Catholic church, because the abomination of sin from an anointed one is worse than all the world’s sins, and it pierces Jesus’ Heart through and through. Read Saint Faustina’s entry 1702, “I will allow convents and churches to be destroyed.” This is sad, because Jesus said the words.

      Jesus, I trust in You

      • Mark Silverberg, you misread my comment. First of all, the author of the article himself admits that he meant Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Newark rather than Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence. Secondly, to be quite frank, I don’t see how you jumped to the conclusion that I do not think forums such as CWR are inappropriate places for challenging malfeasance by bishops and other clergy. Thirdly, I DO believe that the bishops have collective responsibility for correcting and disciplining those in their own ranks. Nevertheless, I need to be humble enough not to presume to know how much Bishop Thomas Tobin has been in or outside of the loop and thus, his personal degree of responsibility might well be mitigated if McCarrick’s cronies and enablers have successfully kept him on the margins inasmuch as knowledge is power. Also, if your Christianity includes charity and giving the benefit of the doubt where reasonable, do not fail to note the positive testimonials of the faithful who know Bishop Thomas Tobin better than you and I. Finally, consider that you may be doing me an injustice when you assume that I do not believe in the need for clerical reform. The fact is, that I do and this goes far beyond the scandal BOTH of us recognize is most egregious.

        • “First of all, the author of the article himself admits that he meant Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Newark rather than Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence.”

          No, the author did not state that. The open letter is addressed to “His Excellency Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, RI”. It’s very clear. And the reasons for the letter are also stated clearly.

          • OK, Mr. Olsen, I stand corrected on that point. I read a bit too hastily a sequence of slightly garbled replies (only slightly upon a re-read) involving a “Chris in Maryland”. However, the rest of my reply to Mr. Silverberg stands. While I’m at it, I’m grateful that CWR is willing to tackle this very uncomfortable issue through publishing articles like this with attendant comments. The bishops’ need this kind of prod to break out of their groupthink. Better to respond to the the grievances voiced by the faithful NOW than to wait for lawsuits to force a change later.

    • “That the letter was addressed to the wrong prelate is problematic. May I suggest that the author resubmit his open letter for CWR with the correct bishop (cardinal) named?”

      The correct bishop is named. The open letter is directed to Bishop Tobin of Providence, the person who authored the original tweet in question. The point is that the tweet is completely inappropriate and clueless at a time when the ongoing sodomite crisis in the priesthood and hierarchy worldwide is not being properly addressed by a single prelate, up to and including the pope.

  23. “Who Am I To Judge” sets Catholics up for failure when led by a shepherd who sits on the High Throne in failure to enact judgment! Who am I to judge is confession, “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”, but has become a dispirited place of words. Who am I to judge is why Jesus made Peter the rock by which to judge mankind by. Who am I to judge turns evil into good and good into evil when it is proclaims from the Chair of Peter!

    Jesus, I trust in You, that You will fill the Throne with a shepherd who understands the words, “Who Am I To Judge!” in order to maintain justice in, by and through Your Holy Name, “Jesus Christ”, Amen

    • Father: Yes the abuse is from 30 years ago – yet we are only now finding out abut it. McCarrick was the face of the American Bishops reforming itself over sexual abuse in 2002 – only in June 2018 did we find out he was an active abuser and homosexual during all this time. Turns out he’s been living at a seminary since his retirement and it is NOW acknowledged that seminarians were his usual prey. Be careful of reducing this cavalierly – we still don’t know what else has been secreted from us all these years and we now know that, despite 2002, our “shepherds” don’t think we need to know about all the “settlements” they have made for the homosexual clergy, including Bishops. As has been cited elsewhere, there have been a number of Bishops who were unmasked as homosexual predators by the civil or criminal justice systems, the Church leaders who knew or should have known about these never told anyone, including legal authorities. Every American Catholic should remember that Cardinal Farrell told us the scandal was “over” in 2002. He is the poster boy for the cluelessness of our Bishops – having missed Fr. Maciel’s crimes while holding a leadership position in the Legionaries of Christ and not knowing about McCarrick despite living with him for quite a while. Yet this man gets promoted to head a Vatican dicastery. Our shepherds HAVE failed us and we should no longer trust that they will resolve things. And if they will not act to protect our children’s and seminarian’s bodily integrity, they cannot be expected to resolve our doctrinal and liturgical crisis.

  24. When I think of these clerics, knowingly holding the precious Body snd Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, knowing full well the perversion they are partaking in, literally gives me chest pains. Where oh where was, is their conscience? This is why we have abortion on demand, this is why we have thousands of closed Catholic schools, this is why we have no priests! Instead of protecting the faith, they have been protecting Satan himself!

  25. Congratulations to all who have participated in this discussion. I am totally disgusted by the lack of effective leadership, from the pope down. As was pointed out, “epi-skope” means “over-see” or “super-vise”, and that is exactly what is not happening – more like “over-look” in fact. I am tired of bland sermons with not a word of good doctrine in them. I encourage everyone to remain faithful to the One True Church by practicing sound doctrine and good behavior and teaching by example. Do not leave the Church, but remember the words of Pope St Peter, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The fact that your parish priest or your bishop are not up to standard is no excuse for deserting the Church. Just the opposite – you need to stay and help fix the Church.

  26. I intend to begin working on a formal letter that can be quickly edited to customize it for individual recipients.
    The target of the letter is high officials in the US government – including the attorney general, congress, various states attorneys and the media.
    The goal of the letter is to request they use their power to open an investigation into the USCCB as a racketeering-influenced, corrupt organization (RICO) that has systematically engaged in sexual assault, child molestation, rape and slavery and in the covering up of the same.
    The goal is indictments and trials of bishops under RICO, for rape and for slavery.
    I’m not a lawyer and I’m not trying to write a legal brief, however if there are lawyers here that want to help, email me.
    All we need is one official or media person to say, “hmm, I think he has a point”. If lots of people send essentially the same letter and that government officer gets 100 of those letters in a month something might happen. It might not work, but our God is a just God and wants justice done on the Earth. I suggest those that don’t want to send out the letter, pray for those that do and their success. I am serious as a heart attack as they say. I’m going to do this, if I’m the only one that sends those letters then that’s that I guess. If 10 people send them, that’s better, if 100 even better. The internet is a funny thing, the strangest things can go from nothing to the topic on everyone’s lips in hours. Let’s make that happen.
    The bishops cannot be allowed to sweep this away and bury it in pronouncements, policies and statements. They cannot be trusted to clean their own house. I don’t even care if the government official or media person that picks up the story does so because they want to make a name for themselves by taking on the Catholic Church. God makes straight lines with bent instruments all the time,
    The US, for all it’s faults, at its best, is a nation of laws. You don’t get to live here as powerful public figures and engage in outrageous criminal behavior with impunity.
    This is about justice. We want the repentance and salvation of our leaders, which goes without saying, but I want justice too and one can repent in dust in ashes just as well from the inside of a federal prison, maybe better.
    I see it as no different as in the high middle ages the state and the church checked each other. There were times when the state became so corrupt that popes and bishops called leaders to repentance, excommunicated them and absolved their subjects of their duty of obedience to corrupt princes. At other times the church and bishops became so corrupt kings and emperors rode in with soldiers and threw bishops and even popes in prison.
    It didn’t always work out of course, but it was the Ghibelline position as espoused by Dante that the state and the church both possessed divine authority, separate but equal and both directed to the promotion of justice and virtue.

    JP Kevin Vail • 21 minutes ago
    Do you really want a federal investigator prosecuting the USCCB under RICO? It will sweep into every dioceses in the US regardless of guilt or innocence. Do you want every Bishop treated like the Gotti Family? Imagine FBI RAIDS on every chancery, every parish office, as well as electronic surveillance of confessionals, rectories, and even private homes of Catholic lay people. Be careful.
    Kevin Vail JP • 16 minutes ago
    Yes. I do, absolutely.
    Any bishop that wants to get off the list of indictments had better start singing and engaging in material cooperation with the FBI, IRS and state law enforcement. No “I didn’t know” BS will be tolerated. Conspiracies don’t actually require every participant to know everything, that’s not the way the law works.
    The bishops will never air their dirty laundry voluntarily, lets put them in front of the US congress under oath.
    You actually are doing them a favor. What I’ve learned as a sinner and as a psychotherapist is people don’t change unless they have a REALLY good reason to. Pain is a great motivator. Sitting in a mansion drinking sherry is not conducive to repentance, sitting in a jail cell with 20 years in front of you is.
    2002 was their last chance to address the issue internally, that was their “come to Jesus” moment. Now it’s time for a “come to Caesar” moment.
    BTW your question is excellent. I may C&P all 3 of these posts together when I post elsewhere because lots will ask that same question.

    • Yes, you are clearly not a lawyer. What you propose will never happen, and should not. RICO has already been used to try and disrupt pro-life activities. We should not advocate its abuse against any religious organization. To the degree that corruption in the Church overlaps with criminal acts, such as pedophilia or financial fraud, these matters should be pursued under the law. But as we know, most of the sexual corruption in the Church is not pedophilia, but predatory homosexualism, which, short of forcible rape, is not a crime. The seminarians who gave in to McCarrick’s disgusting advances, or joined in the gay festivities at Mundelein (and elsewhere — Toronto’s St. Augustine’s apparently once carried on in a similar way, and I’m sure there are more) are responsible for themselves, and under far greater obligation to extract themselves from such a situation than we could reasonably expect from, say, a young female employee being harassed by a powerful man. (Like Clinton and Lewinsky, for instance.). If young seminarians had no more sense of morality than to permit McCarrick to fondle them in a shared bed, they had no business being in a seminary (although they were probably admitted because some gay gatekeeper detected that weakness in them). But to set the legal hounds on the Church to remedy a deep moral corruption among adults is not only foolish and pointless, it sets up the Church for intolerable interference by the state in countless other matters — and all religious people will suffer if that precedent is established. Cases of pedophilia should be actively pursued in the criminal courts, and in my view there should be no statute of limitations (which I think is an obstacle in some jurisdictions). I would not wiish on McCarrick, or any other many, the “prison justice” which so often gets handed out to pedophiles — Fr. Geoghan died a horrible death, and prison authorities basically arranged for it to happen, even though no court would have imposed the death penalty. We must not lick our chops at the prospect of that kind of punishment were such offenders to be jailed. But punished they must be. As a lawyer friend of mine says, “Fight every case in court. No settlements, no back room deals.” It’s sometimes the only way that innocence, as well as guilt, can be established, and this goes for adult accusers as well as children. Among the sins of Cardinal Law was that he paid off every accuser, sometimes without even notifiying the accused, who never knew that the charges were even on his record. This is wrong — it encourages bandwagon false accusations, which do happen. But we can’t allow ourselves to be tempted to use the courts to punish people on tangential issues because their crimes against morality don’t qualify as crimes against the state. The cleansing must come from within, and keep the state out of it, especially since the worst offenses committed by churchmen in their beds and brothels are acts which society at large has decided should be, MUST be, tolerated (which really means approved and endorsed).

  27. Well said Mr. Altieri. I agree it should be personally addressed to every member of the hierarchy and enforced.
    Fr.S. As a shepherd and as a fellow human, where is your Empathy? Enough of denial and minimizing sodomites. Abuse is abuse wether it happened yesterday, 30,60, or a 100 years ago. It stays with the victim all their lives. We can’t cover the sun w/our pinky. It comes back everytime the perpetrators appear on the news untainted and regarded as a living saint. I praise the courage of those who spoke up. This corruption has to stop. If those priest that spoke up are not heard by their superiors, then go to the police. The filth should be protected by a
    church so afraid of sandal doing their own investigation. It is a David against Goliath. But if we had God, we have no fear. Then we question the lack of vocations. I was raising my sons w/ an open mind to the priesthood but after learning of how spread is this vermin, it is more important for them to be orthodox and fruitful fathers of their own family.No taboos. We only contribute to the church at large after seeing admin. abuses and some priests seeking to be rockstars within our own parish/diocese. It is only after becoming a practicing catholic that I love/learned the beauty/richness of our faith but also learned about the blatant fallen nature of some consecrated ones as well as their lack of orthodoxy. Ignorance is bliss. May God always give us discernment to surround ourselves with real practicing catholics and resources.
    May our Lady keep us within her mantle, may Jesus strengthens us and guide us through these storms.
    Jesus, I trust in you

  28. The Cathedral Of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence is my home parish and Bishop Tobin is my bishop. First of all, he is a rock on the moral teachings of the church and has removed many scandalous priests over the years. A zero tolerance policy since day one. He walked into a complete mess and cleaned house immediately. In the state of Rhode Island he fought gay marriage day in and day out, but a nominal Catholic, Judge Anthony Kennedy, decided what was best for us all. Bishop Tobin leads the way on life issues in the state and is a defender of the unborn like no other. He is under constant attack in the local media and is not a popular public figure in the most catholic state in the country, Rhode Island. When he meet JP2, the future Saint told him, ” that he will suffer a great deal” When the Bishop celebrates Mass at the Cathedral, there is always an armed, plain clothed state policeman lurking around. Bishop Tobin does not always make friends, but he is a great Bishop and a blessing for this cesspool state. He fights the good fight, defends the teachings of the church, loves Our Lady and sure knows how to get a rise out of people. Devout Catholics should pray for a bishop with the courage of Bishop Tobin and if you want to find the problems with the church leadership in the United States, look no further than New Jersey and Chicago. So, please write your letters to these two wink and nod Bishops and leave the good and holy ones alone.

  29. I say forgive them and then remove their standing in the Church in the role they hold. This is so disgraceful and inexcusable. They know right from wrong and choose wrong. God only has the power for such forgiveness. It is all appalling!

  30. On my Facebook page I laid out an unflattering comparison between St. Margaret Clitherow and Bishop Tobin. Then I followed it with this, an open letter of my own. Bear with me: When it comes to building a case and bringing it to the attention of the proper authorities, I am inclined to endorse the idea that Bishops are basically under the authority of the Pope and no others. However, as we sadly discover of St. JPII, Popes can be duped and horrible mistakes can be made in the appointments of Bishops and Cardinals. Something has to give. Perhaps the next step is to set up some kind of national office, composed of a combination of lay and clergy, which is a detached clearing house for reports of abuse, one that guarantees protection — perhaps even a re-assignment amounting to something akin to protective custody — to the complainant if he is a priest or seminarian or other religious. Rules of evidence would have to be observed, but the office should have something like a subpoena power for the accused and corroborative witnesses. This would have to function directly under the Pope, and not be capable of sabotage by Bishops, Cardinals, and Curia, no matter how powerful. In the present absence of this, yes, it is very difficult for anyone serving the Church under a local Ordinary to make a complaint, especially against those in high authority who can easily determine the complainant’s fate. However, my sympathy for young adult men who have played along with the dirty secret of abuse and sinful relationships, among their peers or with authority figures, is limited. If they really find the conduct wrong and are made miserable when it is perpetrated on them, they have the example of Christ and the saints to tell them that their vocation/career ambitions are not things to be held more valuable than moral principle. John the Baptist pointed the finger at the evil deeds of Herod and lost his head. But it had to be done. Thomas More tried to be much quieter than the Baptist but he too lost his head for it. Each of them could have continued to play a very beneficial role in society had they chosen to keep their heads and lay low. But they gave it up. Sometimes there’s a greater good to be achieved. Sorry, but the seminarians’ general reluctance to complain smacks of compromise, hypocrisy, and careerism. They may very well have been admitted to seminary because those in charge detected these very qualities in them. If Bishop Tobin, or any of the other Bishops who are trying to do their duty in these difficult times, find themselves threatened and smothered by those in authority over them, maybe it’s time for one of them to just QUIT, loudly and publicly, and become an apostle of a different kind. I’m sure there are so many faithful Catholics who would be grateful for this kind of courage that such a man would never want for bread and a roof over his head.

  31. I deeply agree with Christopher in my bitter sadness about today’s moral corruption among shepherds in the Church. What happened to the Church? I don’t believe it would be just “a few” leaders. If it were just a few, it would not be in this miserable state. What about majority of bishops? They really didn’t know anything about what’s been going on to the their brother bishops who were committing evil to their own flock? It’s hard to believe. We know when something is not right about our own friends. I cannot imagine how Church leader could think of becoming a Cardinal without guilt on his conscience after he committed such a crime. We, a layperson feels guilty even for the little thing we do against each other and confess our sins. Didn’t he confess his sin to anybody? When moral corruption happens in a religious organization, the effect is more serious and damaging due to its nature. Alas, I (and probably many brothers and sisters) cry out to the Lord that he may cleanse the Church and send us shepherds after his own Hearts! Amen.

  32. I am firmly convinced that the problems in my/our/your Church are a consequence of the rupture in the Liturgy that began before VCII and accelerated after. The “source and summit” of our Christian life/faith has been weakened in its ability to transmit graces from its infinite storehouse to the laity and the priest/sacrifice/Christ who is our shepherd, local and diocesan. The Vicars of Christ must listen to Robert Cardinal Sarah and follow his instructions regarding Ad Orientem, Communion on the tongue while kneeling and silence. I don’t know if he has spoken about limiting sanctuary access to males and reducing/eliminating EEMs. These practices are also to be encouraged as well as regularly offering Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

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