Reading Between the Lines

July/August 2005

A reader from the Diocese of Providence, R.I., sent us a clipping from the April 20th issue of The Call of Woonsocket, R.I., and it has to do with how the outgoing and incoming bishops of the Diocese greeted the news of Cardinal Ratzinger becoming the new Pope.

The Diocese of Providence is one of the more liberal on the East Coast, and its Bishop Robert E. Mulvee retired this past May. In the November 2003 NOR, Jeffrey Jackson noted this: "On January 6, 2003, the Most Rev. Robert E. Mulvee, Ordinary of the Providence Diocese, delivered the invocation at the inauguration of Providence's Mayor-elect David N. Cicilline. As of his election the previous November, Cicilline lauded himself as ‘America's only openly gay, Italian, Jewish mayor' — having renounced Catholicism to become Jewish. After this received national publicity, the ‘gay' Mayor apostate received his inaugural invocation from…our local Catholic Bishop, who prayed: ‘Bless his honor, Mayor David N. Cicilline…. Help us…celebrate our diversity….'" You get the idea, don't you?

Bishop Mulvee was replaced by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of the Diocese of Youngstown. According to the clipping from The Call, here is what Bishop Tobin said (while still in Youngstown) about the election of Cardinal Ratzinger: "I am delighted at the news that Pope Benedict XVI has been selected as the new bishop of Rome and chief shepherd of the Roman Catholic Church. It is clear that the College of Cardinals, directed by the Holy Spirit of God, have chosen wisely. I, along with the clergy, religious and laity of the Youngstown Diocese, pledge our loyalty, respect and love for Pope Benedict XVI. We pray with gratitude to Almighty God for providing us with a wonderful new shepherd. We also pray that God will bless and sustain our Holy Father as he assumes the serious obligations and heavy burdens of his office."

Contrast this with Bishop Mulvee's statement: "The Diocese of Providence unites with the Universal Church with this historic and joyous election. May the risen Christ bless, strengthen and support our new Holy Father, and may he unite the entire church with the spirit of a new Pentecost as he begins his ministry as the Vicar of Christ."

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New Oxford Notes: July/August 2005

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