A small group of about 5 people met outside the Providence Dioceses Wednesday morning to deliver a petition to the Bishop. The group is demanding an apology from Rev. Thomas Tobin over comments he made about the late Nelson Mandela.
The petition, signed by nearly 20,000 people, was organized by an online community called 'Faithful America'.
Last week Bishop Tobin released a statement calling Mandela's support for abortion "shameful." The group felt that the comment made while the world was morning the loss of Mandela was "mean spirited" and "an embarrassment to the church."
"I had to speak up because I saw someone that the world respects as a great human rights leader being disparaged," said Gina Buckley O'Toole of Warwick. "Catholics all know our position on abortion. There's a time and a place for everything.
"He [the Bishop] is not Christ-like. If Jesus were alive today, God know what he would say about him," said Concetta DiCenzo who supports the petition.
The Bishop did not meet with the group in person. Instead he issued a statement saying he respects the groups opinion.
"I hope the members of this organization will also respect my opinion about President Mandela's legacy, which, in my view, had both positive and negative aspects."
The group says the Bishop's comments are also out of step with the teachings of Pope Francis, who recently said the church is becoming too obsessed with issues including abortion and gay marriage.