20K Sign Petition Demanding Apology From Bishop Tobin

Dec 18, 2013

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.

A petition of 20,000 signatures are seeking an apology from Bishop Thomas Tobin for his comments about Nelson Mandela
Credit Flo Jonic / RIPR

The stay-at-home mom and practicing Catholic got only as far as the front door of diocesan headquarters in Providence. She presented diocesan spokeswoman Carolyn Cronin with a spiral bound notebook about an inch thick.

Buckley O’Toole, a member of a group called “Faithful America” said it contained the names of 20,000 American Catholics who take issue with comments Bishop Thomas Tobin made about the late Nelson Mandela. Two days after Mandela died Tobin said the South African leader’s legalization of abortion was “shameful.” 

She read a portion of the petition to a group of reporters gathered at the church, “Your shameful and mean-spirited attack on Nelson Mandela is an embarrassment to the church,” said Buckley O’Toole. “Please apologize and spend some time reflecting on Pope Francis’s recent warning about the church becoming too obsessed with abortion and gay marriage.”

Tobin issued a statement asking the group to respect his opinion about Mandela’s legacy.  He says his firm opposition to abortion reflects the teachings of the Catholic church.

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