RI Bishop Tobin Receives Backlash for Mandela Comment

Dec 10, 2013

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

Bishop Tobin is under fire for comments made about the recently deceased South African leader Nelson Mandela
Credit Catherine Welch / RIPR

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.

“Bishop Tobin needs to be more mindful of the leadership of Pope Francis and start singing a different tune if he wants to be a leader in this church,” said Salt. “It’s how many Catholics feel who have been in some ways victimized by the poor leadership that we see from the likes of Bishop Tobin.”

Catholics United describes itself as a progressive group committed to social change. It has about 50,000 members.

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