Bishop Tobin reacts to Pope Francis’s landmark document

By Bianca Buono


Pope Francis is calling for a more welcoming Catholic Church. That includes more acceptance of gay, lesbian and divorced Catholics.

"It’s 200 and something pages and 300 something paragraphs,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence.

Bishop Tobin, reacting to Pope Francis’s new document called "The Joy of Love."

"It has a unique ability to please and disappoint almost everyone who reads it,” Bishop Tobin said.

The Pope is calling for a more welcoming and less judgmental Catholic Church.

"A pastor cannot feel that it is enough to simply apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives,” he wrote.

Bishop Tobin is still in the process of combing through the 256-page document, but says the pope has partially opened the door for divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion, something that up until this point has not been allowed.

"He does say that each case is a little bit different. And that individuals who are divorced and civilly remarried are part of the church and that in conjunction with and consultation with their priest, their pastor or spiritual director, they have to decide what their participation in the life of the church can be,” Bishop Tobin said.

Pope Francis, however, is not budging on the topic of gay marriage. He says all members are welcome into the church, but same-sex unions are not equivalent to marriage between and man and woman.

"It makes it very clear that nothing can compare with the ideal of marriage as created by God, as one union, man and woman, a lifetime permanent exclusive union,” said Bishop Tobin.

The Pope is asking individual communities to use their own judgment, which is why Bishop Tobin is creating a task force to study the document to figure out how to implement it here in the Diocese of Providence.

"It will be a mixed committee, including clergy and laity. Certainly we need to have some members of the laity involved, married couples, singles, divorced people perhaps,” he explained.

Bishop Tobin said he will be putting together that task force over the next few weeks, but he predicts it will take about a year for them to dissect the document.

© WLNE-TV 2016