Nelson Mandela

Flo Jonic / RIPR

A Catholic lay group has presented Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin with 20,000 petition signatures demanding an apology for comments he made about the late Nelson Mandela.

They came with a request, “Could you please make sure these are delivered to Bishop Tobin? And after he’s done reading them would you encourage him to recycle the paper,” asked Gina Buckley O’Toole.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

At ten o’clock Wednesday morning, a group of Catholics will converge on the  office of Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin to demand an apology for comments he made about the late Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela had been dead only two days when Bishop Thomas Tobin made a statement that has drawn criticism. He said that while Mandela did much to improve the lives of South Africans his legalization of abortion was, quote, “shameful.”

file / RIPR

Rhode Island Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has taken a lot of heat for criticizing Nelson Mandela. Two days after Mandela died Tobin issued a statement calling his legalization of abortion “shameful.”

But now Tobin supporters are speaking out. The anti-abortion American Life League has put out a statement thanking Tobin. The statement said Tobin had the courage to point out the “shameful irony” between Mandela’s promotion of abortion and his stance against apartheid.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin is receiving criticism over remarks he made on the death of Nelson Mandela. 

On Sunday, two days after the South African leader died, Tobin issued a statement calling Mandela’s support of abortion rights “shameful.” 

The Washington DC based group “Catholics United” said Tobin’s comments reflect a level of tone deafness that is tragic.  Catholics United director James Salt noted that Tobin’s remarks stand in stark contrast to Pope Francis, who last week praised Mandela’s steadfast commitment to human rights.

Providence Diocese

Bishop Thomas Tobin, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Rhode Island, has issued a statement critical of the late Nelson Mandela.

Mandela died last week after a prolonged battle with a lung infection. He was 95.

In a statement, Tobin said there is much to admire about the South African leader, particularly his personal courage and stalwart defense of human rights.

But Tobin takes issue with Mandela’s support of abortion rights.  Tobin said this aspect of Mandela’s life is, “not at all praiseworthy.”

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