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A bishop’s conversion to social media

At Crux, Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, told Christopher White why he’s started using Twitter more. Bishop Tobin used to think the social media site was trivial. But “I came around and thought: the President is using it and the Pope is using it… It has an impact.”

Bishop Tobin has become known for some outspoken opinions. After Ireland voted to legalise abortion, he tweeted: “The Western world has lost its moral compass; it is adamantly atheistic and amoral.”

More recently, after asking for prayers for his back pain, he added: “The good news is that my tweeting finger is working just fine. Infidels, heretics, atheists and apostates: beware!”

The bishop says his more personal tweets – “about my dog, or about the weather, or about my family, or the Steelers or the Patriots” – are a way to “humanise” his office.

But he has also observed on the website: “It just occurred to me that if I spent as much time with my Bible as I do with my smartphone, I’d be a much better bishop.”

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