Big news in the Church’s social media landscape.
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, RI (not to be confused with Cardinal Joseph Tobin) has deleted his Twitter account amid a backlash to a few of his recent tweets in response to the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal.
Here was his last tweet, posted yesterday:
The text reads: “A final tweet. Sadly, Twitter has become a major distraction for me, on good days and bad, an obstacle to my spiritual life, an occasion of sin for me and others. So, good-bye. If I’ve offended anyone, I’m truly sorry. If I’ve helped anyone along the way, thank God.”
His account is now completely deleted.
In the last few days, Bishop Tobin had tweeted in response to accusations that Cardinal McCarrick had sexually abused minors as well as seminarians and priests under his authority for decades. While not addressing Cardinal McCarrick’s actions directly, he said while there were a “few” bad ones, he was proud of the lives of most of his brother bishops.
“Despite the egregious offenses of a few, and despite the faults and sins we all have,” Bishop Tobin wrote, according Crux correspondent Christopher White, “I’m very proud of my brother bishops and I admire and applaud the great work they do everyday for Christ and His Church.”
When people responding on Twitter were upset that it seemed like he was “circling the wagons” rather than addressing the serious problems of corruption in the episcopate, he tweeted again: “If you find a perfect church out there somewhere, by all means, join it. But remember, the moment you join it, it will cease being perfect.”
This second tweet only fanned the flames, with many commenting that, while they generally respected Bishop Tobin, they thought his responses were inappropriate for the situation.
Bishop Tobin had been unusually active and open on Twitter compared to other bishops. Rather than having staff manage his account, he personally tweeted, often sharing personal stories and perspectives.
ChurchPOP previously reported on some of his more noteworthy tweets twice: one in which in shared a funny story from his time as a priest, and one in which he relished being pinned as being an anti-abortion leader by pro-abortion protesters.