Providence bishop Thomas Tobin caused a bit of a stir yesterday with a post on the diocese's website responding to Rhode Island's new marriage equality law. Tobin wrote that Catholics should "examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies." And while he says the Church has "respect, love, and pastoral concern" for people "who have same-sex attraction," it can't "endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior."
"It is important to affirm the teaching of the Church … that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,' (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #2357) and always sinful," Tobin writes. At the Dish, Andrew Sullivan calls the letter "a nasty piece of divisiveness" that puts "a wedge between Catholic family members and their gay brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters." Rhode Island is a deeply Catholic state, WPRI points out; the Providence Diocese boasts around 621,000 members, which works out to be more than 60% of the state's population. (Read more Rhode Island stories.)