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R.I.P. Thomas J. Tobin, the Bishop who Shit Himself to Death
The privilege of writing an obituary for such an esteemed bishop is very bittersweet.
G.O.T.H.S. is saddened to report on the death of His Excellency The Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin, the Catholic bishop of Providence, Rhode Island. Bishop Tobin died at home, after violently shitting so much and so hard that he literally died.
Prior to serving in Providence, Tobin was an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Pittsburgh from 1992-1995. While serving in Pittsburgh, Tobin was made aware of abusive priests in his diocese, but chose to do absolutely nothing about the abusive priests who worked under him because he didn't believe that following up on child sexual abuse was part of his specific responsibilities, as someone else was in charge of personnel stuff. Incredibly, we know this because, for some reason, he said all of that to his local paper after the 2018 release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report, which describes widespread coordinated abuse that happened while he had the power to investigate claims and professionally discipline priests. It is unclear what Tobin thought he was accomplishing by telling this to a reporter, especially because throughout his career he kept putting out condemnatory statements as bishop about Democrats he doesn’t like, using phrases like “Our respect and pastoral care, however, does not mean that we are free to endorse or ignore immoral or destructive behavior, whenever or however it occurs,” or “If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definite teachings on moral issues, he or she would seriously diminish his or her communion with the Church,” or that "[Joe Biden's politics are] an embarrassment for the Church and a scandal to the world," all of which can be read as grimly ironic in light of his own appalling negligence, moral failure, and material contribution to the erosion of the church’s moral authority. It's possible that Tobin was just hoping that people would forget about his inaction in Pittsburgh by the time he died. Thankfully, we all will forget that, because we will instead remember the very memorable way in which Tobin died: screaming "oh God oh God oh God" while unbuckling his belt and rushing to his toilet, sitting down, and then being shot up like a model rocket from the violent force of his shit, which emptied out his guts so fully that he died.
After the release of that Pennsylvania report, Tobin was quick to embrace former apostolic nuncio Carlo Mario Vigano’s open letter explaining how the scandal came to be, emphasizing that “The allegations lodged by Archbishop Viganò involving Pope Francis are substantive, and need to be investigated in a prompt and just manner.” To be absolutely clear on what was in the specific letter that Tobin endorsed and called substantive, and which has since been very thoroughly debunked by journalists as Vigano has continued to lose his grip on reality: Vigano’s letter alleged that the Pope was placing serial child abusers in positions of power in order to strengthen the power of the church’s “homosexual networks… act[ing] under the concealment of secrecy and lies with the power of octopus tentacles,” and that several American bishops - Francis’ more visible allies in the states - were in on it, and that all of these people needed to resign. Tobin signed on to this explanation, even though he was one of the bishops in the dioceses from that grand jury report, during the period described in that report. He signed on to a letter that named his boss and his coworkers as people so committed to Gay Octopus Power that they were willing to enable widespread child sexual abuse. Tobin has never apologized for this or walked it back or expressed even a bare minimum of sheepishness that he thought this was at all a good thing for him to endorse as bishop, and he appeared to just be hoping that everyone will forget that he ever said anything about this. And we have forgotten it, as Tobin will instead be remembered for his baroque death that eyewitnesses have described as "kind of like the laxative gag in American Pie, except of course that the guy in American Pie didn't die and Tobin definitely did, from shitting so much."
Tobin was also notable for his evangelization of the faith on Twitter, where he had over ten thousand followers. We know this because at one point in his career he was begging for more Twitter followers, offering episcopal blessings and prayers in exchange for getting those followers.
Tobin subjected those ten thousand “lucky souls” to the usual stupid bullshit you see from conservative bishops on Twitter, like forbidding Catholics in his diocese from attending Pride month events and decrying them as “especially harmful to children,” or wryly noting that "Biden-Harris. First time in awhile that the Democratic ticket hasn’t had a Catholic on it. Sad.", which of course implies that there was a Catholic on the ticket in '08 and '12, which would have been Joe Biden. One of the first things that we should remember about Thomas Tobin is that he was not very smart. But that's not the very first thing we should remember about him; the very first thing we should remember about him is that moments before his death, his asshole effectively changed into a flamethrower spraying human shit, or some other Geneva-convention-banned weapon spraying human shit.
Tomorrow would have been Tobin's 75th birthday, the day he is required to submit his resignation to Pope Francis. Given that Francis had already appointed a coadjutor to the Providence diocese, Tobin was unlikely to serve very long past his birthday. Like, for example, Charles Chaput, Tobin was someone that Francis was looking to formally retire at the earliest possible opportunity. And like Charles Chaput, Tobin understood the job of bishop as primarily “being an asshole in public”. Given his history, Tobin was doomed to be remembered as a miserable failure of a bishop, one who seemed to possess no compassion, discernment or even self-awareness. The arch of Pittsburgh and dioceses of Youngstown and Providence, as well as the American church overall, would have been far better off if he had never been ordained. He would have been remembered as an utter embarrassment to the Catholic church, unless, in the final moments of his life, he was able to accomplish something slightly more respectable than any of his statements and actions as bishop. And fortunately, he did, and my repeatedly talking about his fatal diarrhea can give him a legacy far more dignified than the one he tried to build for himself. So instead of being remembered for all of these bleak, sad, wretched things that could permanently stain his reputation and the reputation of the church, we can remember Tobin much more fondly now, as a man who merely died screaming in pain while unimaginable amounts of shit poured out of his asshole like a ceiling-mounted hotel showerhead that just got its hose unkinked. For his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, may they rest in peace. Amen.
Thomas Tobin shit himself to death.