GoLocalProv [Providence RI]
August 6, 2022
By Terence McKiernan, President and Co-Director, BishopAccountability, Guest MINDSETTER™
We welcome the decision by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin to backtrack on his ill-considered appointment and remove Fr. Eric Silva from St. Thomas More Parish in Narragansett. But Bishop Tobin has ducked responsibility for this fiasco by issuing an unsigned statement that does not admit that the appointment was a mistake.
We are very concerned that Bishop Tobin has chosen to keep Fr. Eric Silva’s priestly faculties in place. Those faculties should be immediately suspended, pending a full and open investigation of the allegations against Silva. Sexual interrogation of children in confession is closely associated with sexual abuse in the Catholic church, and for this reason is not allowed. Bishop Tobin is well aware of this. His responsibility to the children of the Diocese of Providence requires that he investigate the Silva case properly, keep Silva out of ministry during the investigation, and send a message to Rhode Island survivors and Catholics that the confessional will never be used as a tool for the abuse of children.
We urge Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha to take note of this important case. When considered in light of Bishop Tobin’s egregious mishandling of the case of Fr. Francis C. Santilli, the botching of the Silva case suggests a pattern of ongoing reckless decisions by Bishop Tobin.
Terence McKiernan is the President and Co-Director of BishopAccountability.org Founded in 2003 and based in Waltham, Massachusetts, BishopAccountability.org is a large online archive of documents, reports, and news articles documenting the global abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. An independent non-profit, it is not a victims’ advocacy group and is not affiliated with any church, reform, or victims’ organization.