“I urge all parties to refrain from unhelpful, inflammatory rhetoric.”
You’ll remember that a pastor in Rhode Island last weekend made some eyebrow-raising comments about abortion and pedophilia that sparked widespread news coverage and, in some corners, condemnation.
Thursday morning, the pastor’s bishop issued a statement in response:
Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin on Thursday sought to de-escalate the firestorm over comments made by a West Warwick priest who compared pedophilia to abortion.
Tobin was under increasing pressure from lawmakers and clergy abuse survivors to respond publicly to comments made by the Rev. Richard Bucci of Sacred Heart Church.
“I urge all parties to refrain from unhelpful, inflammatory rhetoric, and to reflect personally and prayerfully on the consequences of these grave matters,” the bishop said in a statement released Thursday morning. “In the context of the present public discussion, it is important to affirm that both the sexual abuse of minors and abortion are horrific, immoral actions that have very serious, harmful consequences.”
The full statement, from the Diocese of Providence website:
In the context of the present public discussion, it is important to affirm that both the sexual abuse of minors and abortion are horrific, immoral actions that have very serious, harmful consequences.
First, it is never acceptable to underestimate the harm caused by sexual abuse of minors. Sexual abuse, wherever and whenever it occurs, causes long-lasting, sometimes permanent and devastating harm to the victims/survivors, their families and the entire community. Allegations of sexual abuse must always be taken most seriously and every effort should be made to protect children and youth, to eliminate abuse, to prosecute abusers, and to offer assistance to those who have been harmed.
But, abortion is also a sinful, immoral act, an “abominable crime.” (Second Vatican Council) Abortion destroys innocent unborn life; it exploits vulnerable women; it diminishes family life; and it corrodes the moral fabric of society. There are no circumstances, personal or political, that justify the termination of unborn children. The Catholic Church has been very clear and consistent in condemning the evil of abortion, and we affirm that those who promote, support and approve abortion, including civic leaders, are responsible for having committed a grave evil in the sight of Almighty God.
In the current public discussion, I urge all parties to refrain from unhelpful, inflammatory rhetoric, and to reflect personally and prayerfully on the consequences of these grave matters. May we renew our efforts to protect life and promote the common good, especially for children and youth, and may God bless our commitment with wisdom, prudence, humility and charity.