NOV. 25, 2022

In an unambiguous display of papal disfavor and displeasure, Pope Francis has appointed a Coadjutor Bishop of Providence, four months before the current bishop of that diocese, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, celebrates his 75th birthday, the date on which bishops are required to submit their resignation to the Holy See.

On November 23rd, the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, announced that the Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Center, Richard G. Henning, had been selected by the Pope as Coadjutor Bishop of Providence, with the right of succession.

Pope Francis also accepted the immediate resignation of Tobin’s close collaborator, Providence Auxiliary Bishop Robert C. Evans, who turned 75 in September.

The appointment of a coadjutor—a rare occurrence in church administration—is generally reserved for unusual circumstances, where a bishop is impeded or infirm. The last time a coadjutor was appointed for the Archdiocese of Boston was 116 years ago, when the incumbent archbishop, John J. Williams, was 83 and in failing health.

Bishop Tobin has been the most outspoken, and perhaps the only, real critic of Francis in the American hierarchy. When the Pope issued his decree, Traditionis Custodes, restricting the Traditional Latin Mass, Tobin told Catholics in Rhode Island that no changes in worship were imminent.

A month later, in August of 2021, he went on to say that “I am convinced that if the Church is to prosper in the present age, it cannot hesitate to embrace and support traditional Catholics, traditional liturgies and traditional moral values.”

In October of 2021, Tobin directly and publicly opposed the Pope’s endorsement of civil unions legislation, stating “The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions. The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships…the legalization of civil unions, which seek to simulate holy matrimony, is not admissible.”

That same month, Bishop Tobin called upon the Pope to challenge Joe Biden on the killing of the unborn, saying that Biden’s support for abortion was “an embarrassment for the Church and a scandal to the world.”

The Catholic Action League called the unprecedented and unwarranted appointment of a coadjutor “a gratuitous and vindictive act, intended to publicly humiliate Bishop Tobin and express the Pope’s personal impatience with Tobin’s impending departure.”

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “Prelates favored by the Pope—like Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley—routinely linger in office, sometimes for years, after the date of their resignation. The appointment of a coadjutor in Providence is an uncoded, clear channel signal from Papa Bergoglio that Thomas Tobin’s resignation will be accepted at one minute past midnight on April 1, 2023, the date of his 75th birthday.”

“It also tells us that the Pope wants the clergy of Providence to understand that Tobin’s leadership of the diocese is, for all intents and purposes, already over.”

“Faithful Catholics venerate Pope Benedict and Pope Saint John Paul II for their articulate defense of orthodox Christian morality, but fail to recognize that they were, often, ineffective administrators, promoting men who were morally and doctrinally unfit for ecclesiastical office.”

“Pope Francis, on the other hand, is a ruthlessly efficient administrator, who rewards his friends and punishes his enemies. He understands that personnel is policy.”

“Traditional Catholics may deride the reign of Francis as the last gasp of 1960’s era modernism, but Francis intends to prolong his influence by purging the Roman Curia, the College of Cardinals, the Episcopate and the church’s religious orders of all of those opposed to the Bergoglian revolution.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *