Bishop Thomas J. Tobin - Without a Doubt
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Without a doubt it's difficult to be a faithful Christian, a faithful Catholic in the world today. It's even more difficult to be a young Christian, a young Catholic. There are so many pressures and temptations; so many alternate voices that lead young people away from Christ and His Church. We need to pray for our youth, encourage them and support them in the practice of their faith. more
This is a story about Peter, Paul and Mary. No, not the great Apostles and beloved Mother of Jesus, but the other Peter, Paul and Mary - you know, the singing trio, the folk group. If you're under a certain age, let's say about thirty, you probably don't know much about Peter, Paul and Mary - known to their groupies as PP&M. But if I mention songs like Puff the Magic Dragon, Blowin in the Wind, If I Had a Hammer, Leaving on a Jet Plane and This Land is Your Land, perhaps you'll feel a little more comfortable! more
A long period of years must past before the liturgical edifice, which the mystical Spouse of Christ has formed in her zeal and understanding to proclaim her piety and faith, will again appear splendid with dignity and harmony, cleansed of the accumulations of age. more
No doubt you've heard or seen the initials, WWJD, representing the question, "What Would Jesus Do?" The phrase is so common now it's become somewhat of a cliché. It appears on clothing, jewelry and trinkets. Some aberrations have developed. I've heard that for irreverent high school students the initials mean, "We want Jack Daniels." The phrase has been used as an advertising slogan to pitch a particular beverage, "What would Jesus drink?" and as an environmental challenge to drivers of oversized, gas-guzzling SUVs, "What would Jesus drive?" more
Why is the Church so adamantly opposed to "gay marriages" and civil unions? Doesn't the Church's stance discriminate against homosexuals? What harm is done if homosexual activity is between consenting adults? How does it affect my marriage and family? Why does the Church care if in fact the Church won't be required to witness such unions? more
It's funny how various seasons of the year invoke such vivid memories. It's certainly true for Holy Week, at least for me. My memories of Holy Week are associated especially with places I've lived and worked as a priest. more
It's funny how various seasons of the year invoke such vivid memories. It's certainly true for Holy Week, at least for me. My memories of Holy Week are associated especially with places I've lived and worked as a priest. more
The Providence Visitor Thursday, March 23rd, 2006 "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." (Mt 25:35) In a time when both the community and the Church are trying to respond to a new wave of … more
A number of years ago, a local pastor, a classmate of mine, asked me to give a Lenten talk at his parish on the topic of sin. In introducing me to the congregation, the priest explained that he had asked me to speak on sin because I was such an expert on the subject! It's a claim I can't deny. But in truth, we're all experts on sin. Sin is all around us; we can't avoid it. We live in sin and sin in us. "Sin is present in human history," The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains. "Any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile." (#386) more
Recently we observed the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, without a doubt, a good and noble cause. Recall that at the Last Supper Jesus prayed for His followers, "that they may all be one, as you Father, are in me and I in you." (Jn 17:21) And, in his encyclical on ecumenism Pope John Paul wrote: "All the faithful are asked by the Spirit of God to do everything possible to strengthen the bonds of communion between all Christians and to increase cooperation between Christ's followers." (#101) Along the same lines, however, it occurs to me that we should also have a "Week of Prayer for Catholic Unity," for even within our own Catholic family there are divisions and fractures. How often we see the sad spectacle: members of the faithful divided into special interest groups, separated from one another and lobbying for their own agendas; the laity disillusioned with their pastors, bishops and institutional Church in general; priests formed into cliques, estranged from their brothers, distant from their bishop, disdainful of Church teachings and disciplines; bishops with their own priorities, publicly divided over strategies and policies. more
Rejoice, O young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. (Eccl 11:9) The headline in PARADE magazine revealed some of the best news I've heard in a … more
The annual observance of Catholic Schools Week, January 29 to February 5, provides our diocesan Church with a special opportunity to emphasize the important mission of Catholic schools, to renew our support of our schools and to express our profound gratitude to all who are generously committed to their success. more
There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die. (Eccl 3:1-2) more
What to buy for a man who has little and wants even less? That's the question I've pondered ever since I met the Dalai Lama last month at Salve Regina University in Newport. more
I wonder what emotions filled the heart of our Blessed Mother Mary as she awaited the birth of her son in that first Advent. And it was Advent, to be sure. Oh, I know, there were no Advent wreaths or purple vestments. No one sang "O come, o come, Emmanuel." And certainly the tiny shops of Bethlehem weren't filled with shoppers looking at glitzy Christmas things while "Jingle Bell Rock" played in the background. But for Mary it was Advent, the first Advent, the best of Advents. more
There is spreading in every part of the world a sort of practical and existential atheism ... The individual person, all bound up in himself, finds himself ever more bereft of that "supplement of soul" which is necessary for him ... There is no longer a need to fight against God; the individual feels he is simply able to do without Him. (Pastores Dabo Vobis, #7) more
You probably remember the parable Jesus told about the man who prepared a great feast for his family, friends and neighbors. When all was ready, he sent his servants to gather the invited guests. They refused to come, however, each offering an excuse: one had to check-out a new field he had purchased; another had to test-drive some new oxen; a third had just married and wanted to stay home with his bride. The master of the house then ordered other strangers to be invited so that his house would be filled and the banquet not wasted. (Cf. Lk 14:15-24) more
It seems to me that public opinion polls always have to be approached cautiously. So often the results are influenced by subjective factors: Exactly how were the questions phrased? Who was asking the questions? Did the pollster have a personal agenda? How were the participants in the poll selected? more
"Are you willing to sacrifice an entire parish for the sake of one incompetent, uncaring priest?" That's the question presented to me in a letter I received from a parishioner very unhappy with her pastor. I'll attempt to answer the question, but first, a little background. more
"I've never had the chance to talk to a priest before," said the young lady sitting next to me, "but if I don't ask you some questions right now I'll probably explode and have to see my therapist tonight." more
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