In a speech Saturday to the annual Portsmouth Institute conference, Tobin said he “received a letter from an angry individual who began, as harsh critics so often do, by establishing his Catholic credentials.”
The prelate quoted the writer as telling him: “Bishop Tobin, based on your pastoral letter and a review of your previous comments on this subject, I have concluded that you are evil, reprehensible, homophobic, and bigoted, and that you should be ashamed of yourself in general and in particular as a so-called Christian.”
Tobin said he also received an email that called him a “fat, old, conservative bigot.” His reply? “I am not fat.”
Tobin’s address, “Evangelization in a Secular Age,” reflected on the modern era’s challenges for Christians. He cited a Barna Group survey declaring Providence the fourth-most post-Christian city in America.
“Is it the failure of the leaders of the Church to adequately preach and teach?” Tobin asked in response. “Is [it] the failure of rank-and-file Christians to give compelling witness in their daily lives? Is it the secular agenda promoted by the leaders of our government? Is it the atmosphere created by the left-leaning media and the erudite academic communities of our area? Is it a combination of all these things? Probably.”
• Related: Tobin: Think ‘very carefully’ before going to gay weddings (May 2)