Bishop under fire for calling on Catholics to not support Pride Month events

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/CNN) - Protesters gathered outside a Rhode Island cathedral Sunday to rally against the state’s Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin.

Bishop Thomas Tobin sent a tweet saying that Catholics should not support or attend the "Pride Month events" in June. He later apologized. (Source: WPRI/CNN)

This after Tobin wrote a tweet urging Catholics to avoid Pride Month festivities.

Dozens gathered outside the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul to protest Sunday evening.

Pride events are scheduled for the entire month.

But this rally wasn’t planned until Saturday after Tobin sent out a tweet calling on Catholics to not go to pride events saying they’re “contrary to Catholic faith and morals.”

“They are especially harmful for children,” Tobin said.

The tweets been commented on more than 87,000 times.

Tobin sent out a follow up statement addressing his tweet.

He said he regretted it becoming so controversial and offensive to some and wrote “As a Catholic Bishop, however, my obligation before God is to lead the faithful entrusted to my care and to teach the faith, clearly and compassionately, even on very difficult and sensitive issues.”

Rhode Island Pride President Joe Lazzerini and many others at the rally say Tobin's statement fell short of an apology.

“I think that he owes an apology to every single queer Catholic across Rhode Island who his comments were disgusting to. Frankly he should have released a much better statement or just released not one at all,” Lazzerini said.

While the music played over Cathedral Square, Mass happened inside the church.

As churchgoers left, some of the signs being held by those rallying said “not our bishop: resign” and “still fighting for my Catholic right to attend pride in 2019.”

Leaving church, Tyler Rowley discouraged his children from looking at the crowd and said he’s proud of Tobin.

“Bishop Tobin’s a Catholic Bishop who taught Catholicism to Catholics and apparently people don’t want the Catholic Bishop teaching Catholicism,” Rowley said. “That’s his job, he’s a shepherd of a flock of Catholics who believe in a certain thing about sexuality. It’s his job to teach that.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said that she stands with and supports the state’s LGBTQ community.

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