Pope Francis’ Pick Cardinal Tobin Issues Incoherent Call to Disarm Americans

By John Zmirak Published on June 4, 2023

If you have a dark sense of humor like mine, and take a perverse pleasure in hunting down the foolish and futile, you might slake your thirst by looking up “Fail” videos on Youtube. But there are only so many skateboarders you can watch slamming into parking meters. Then you start to get jaded.

You might try watching impossibly bad, amateurish movies like those of Neil Breen. This gent who lacks any talent for storytelling not only writes and directs his own pretentious, New Age dramas. He stars in all of them too, usually playing some god-like character who steps into complex human problems and solves them — via pious ecological platitudes, pointless nudity, cartoonish violence, and the worst CGI ever used.

But it gets a little depressing after a while. Breen is just some schlub with a camera. In real life, offscreen, he makes no pretense of offering solutions to mankind’s deepest needs and urgent, burning problems. Much less does he spend millions of donated dollars to regularly churn out self-important, incoherent, potentially destructive answers that could ruin real people’s lives — and receive respectful treatment by our media.

The Kings of Comedy

For that kind of perverse humor you need to turn to our Catholic bishops. As I’ve noted before, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issues more than 200 policy statements every year — most of them on subjects like “climate change” and immigration policy where they have exactly zero expertise, and Catholic morality offers no clear-cut answers.

Rarely do these supposed pastors speak about issues specifically Catholic or even Christian. Instead, they moralize and pontificate on public policy. When Trump was in office, their tone was hysterical and self-righteous, as if they were America’s legitimate government in exile. Nice, when they can’t even seem to keep track of predator priests in their own ranks.

Cardinal Cupich Set a Record That’s Hard to Beat

In the past, The Stream pointed to Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich’s star, bravura performance, in one of the epic “fail” statements of the whole of Christian history. When pro-life hero David Daleiden risked prison time by using investigative journalism to expose Planned Parenthood’s sale for profit of baby parts from abortions, Cupich spoke up.

Not in defense of Daleiden, or even unborn children. No, Cupich wrote a column for The Chicago Tribune which said that, yeah, cannibalizing babies for parts was pretty bad. But it was no worse, he implied, than enforcing America’s borders, setting limits to Medicaid, or executing convicted killers. You think I’m making this up? Go read the column for yourself. It’s got more gallows humor than any episode of The Addams Family. As you read it, remember that this man controls a budget of many millions of dollars, and runs the religious lives of millions of people.

Cardinal Tobin Manages to Beat Cupich’s Absurdity Score

But now Cupich must look to his laurels. Because one of his brother bishops has written something even more outrageous and infantile. Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark (like Cupich, a Pope Francis pick) weighed in recently on Americans’ gun rights. He admits that we have them — though he seems to think such rights come from the Constitution, not from God.

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But he wants us to give them up. “Voluntarily.” For the sake of “peace” and “the common good.” Tobin calls for “voluntary self-restraint” as a solution to the “gun violence” epidemic.

I don’t think these words mean what he thinks they mean. Because throughout his letter, Tobin calls for the government to pass laws severely limiting Americans’ access to firearms, beyond the already odious barriers faced by Americans in blue states and cities, such as his own Newark, New Jersey. That’s not “voluntary,” and it’s not “self-restraint.” It’s mandatory and coercive, enforceable by cops who will come to your house carrying guns, and threatening you with prison.

Nonsense and Tyranny, Built on a Lie

So at the heart of Tobin’s supposed pastoral teaching about the Christian thing to do when faced with violence is an obvious, blatant lie. He doesn’t ask people to voluntarily not carry guns — as most people don’t. Of course, in Newark they pretty much can’t, which is a shame since Newark is the “murder capital of New Jersey,” and ordinary folks deserve the chance to protect themselves when the police apparently can’t. (Most of these crimes, as you can imagine, were not committed by people with legal weapons.) As Jason Jones wrote in a classic essay at the Catholic magazine Legatus:

On the issue of gun rights and gun control, we are speaking of perhaps the most basic human right imaginable: the right to defend yourself and your family against an immediate threat of violence — either against your person or your hard-earned property.

In many American cities, violent crime is a constant threat to citizens’ well being — not only to their safety and that of their children, but to the fruits of their hard work. The home, the car, the possessions that a member of the working poor has managed to accumulate might have taken them many years to acquire and could prove impossible to replace. But short of full-on surveillance, there is no way for the state to provide such citizens adequate protection. So these citizens must be allowed to arm themselves in a proportionate manner.

Tobin doesn’t believe this. He thinks that his flock in Newark must remain defenseless against violent crime, and rely on a government whose police force is riddled with complaints about racist policing, and has faced punitive budget cuts. What’s more, he wants to replicate that situation across America. He calls on his fellow bishops to conspire with him in promoting national gun control legislation.

I Don’t Need a Gun in My Palace

None of this is voluntary. It’s a power-grab by men who have security guards and live in palaces. In fact, Tobin’s lifestyle is more indulgent than most. His residence is comfy enough that beefcake Italian actors enjoy living there, rent-free, with no explanation for why the cardinal needs them on the premises.

Er, what? That’s right. Lifesitenews reported on this story, which casts a light on just how apostolic Cardinal Tobin’s lifestyle is, and how closely he’s in touch with the average, crime-harried resident of Newark, New Jersey:

Newark’s Cardinal Joseph Tobin is in the limelight again after having reportedly confirmed rumors he recently housed in his rectory a young Italian actor for a period of time.

The Pope-Francis-appointed Cardinal admitted to American Spectator’s investigative reporter George Neumayr Nov. 15 that he “temporarily” housed in his rectory the movie star while the actor improved his English at a nearby school.

Speculations are now abounding that 36-year-old Francesco Castiglione — who runs an Instagram account with hundreds of shirtless ‘beefcake’ poses — may have been the intended recipient of Tobin’s “nighty-night, baby. I love you” tweet from earlier this year. Tobin quickly deleted the tweet and apologized, saying it was meant for his sister.

Tobin is just the kind of man I want writing laws seizing Americans’ basic human rights, in the name of “voluntary self-restraint.” A man who lives just the way the rest of us do: on donated money, in palaces, with hunky Italian models.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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