Bishop Tobin, Scandal, & Me


Steve Skojec serves as the Director of Community Relations for a professional association. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he earned a BA in Communications and Theology. His passions include writing, photography, social media, and an avid appreciation of science fiction. Steve lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Jamie and their five children.

  • Austin

    Good for Bishop Tobin to speak out. For a long time, the Kennedys have worn their Catholicism on their sleeves, being photographed with priests, attending Mass, etc. with the implication that if you don’t vote for them, you are not a “good Catholic.” It reached a point where the Kennedys appeared to be some sort of defacto Papal Nuncio for the United States. Just because they are rich, famous and hold political office, does not mean that their opinion on matters “Catholic” counts for any more than any other layman.

  • Deacon Ed

    very much what has been needed to be said. Unfortunately, his outspokenness is an indictment of so many of the others who prefer to remain silent. As you say, we need to support the ones who lead courageously and prod those who do not.

    Unfortunately, a large share of the problems with bishops is the USCCB. Once that organization is de-funded and dissolved, we’ll be a lot better off.

  • mark

    When I ponder this, I ponder the apparent fact (just from a cursory survey) that after the patristic age, there seem to be very few bishops who have been canonized.

    Think about it.

    I have no sympathy for bishops, but I do think that there is something about their positions, involving, as they do, power and operating at a level of interaction and dynamic between the most powerful aspects of society, plus the temptation of seeing the need to maintain the outward appearance of the institution…that somehow mitigates against sanctity.

    Interesting to ponder.

  • William H. Phelan

    “The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops”. St. John got it right. Thank you for your piece, Steve. I appreciate your adult viewpoint as I come across it so infrequently in Catholicism. That is why bishops Tobin, Burke and others of their caliber are so critical to ALL Catholics. And that is why bishops such as these were suppressed under previous papacies. They are actually more “papal” than many popes and it takes a real pope (Benedict) to promote them.

  • William

    Mark, there are many, many bishop saints. Today is “Martinmas,” the feast of St. Martin of Tours, bishop. Remember, all popes are bishops, too; and there are many pope saints on the calendar. Our own American Saint, John Neumann, was a bishop (read his biography some time; it’s very interesting). Fulton J. Sheen, Archbishop, is another American being scrutinized for sainthood.

  • I am not Spartacus

    In, Amchurch Comes Out, Fr. Joe Wilson defined scandal thusly: “Scandal in the Church nowadays does not mean “something sinful has happened:” it means “somebody outside the walls of this place has found out about this and we had better contain it before our benefactors hear of it.”

  • Micha Elyi

    Good for Bishop Tobin to speak out.

    Yes. When a bishop gives firm public correction to the publicly scandalous, he gives strength to many in the Body of Christ who are weakening before temptations to fall into privately scandalous behavior.

    For a long time, the Kennedys… appeared to be some sort of defacto Papal Nuncio for the United States.

    Well said, Austin.

  • Jason M

    I’m going through my own personal stuggle with my faith right now and the example of most of our bishops has not helped matters. I don’t like to criticize them because I know that they have a difficult vocation, but they are pastors of Immortal SOULS. I wonder how often they remember that.

    I find examples such as Bishop Tobin to be inspiring when I read them. I do not read his comments as just a chastisment of an errant member of his own flock. I read it as a correction of me as well since my own bishop hasn’t spoken out on these issues.

    It’s edifying, but it’s just not the same. It’s sort of like when a friend’s parent corrects you when you’re a kid. You get the lesson, but it doesn’t have as much impact as if your own parent did it.

    Everyone, please pray for me.

  • Mark

    I said after the apostolic age, which doesn’t include Martin, but still.

    Think about how many hundreds of bishops there have been, say, since the Reformation. How many have been canonized? Think of the lists of the canonized and newly beatified that come out every few months…are many are bishops? How many Catholics of the 17th-20th century have been canonized by JPII and B16…and how many bishops can you name of that group?

    Hardly any. It’s not a condemnation – it’s a recognition of the challenges of the office.