Pope picks N.J.’s Cardinal Tobin for big Vatican appointment

Posted Mar 04, 2021

Pope Francis has tapped New Jersey’s highest ranking Catholic leader to be one of the few Americans sitting on a powerful Vatican committee that helps him appoint bishops around the world.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, head of the Archdiocese of Newark, was named Wednesday to the Congregation for Bishops, according to a Vatican announcement. The group’s duties include advising the Pope on which priests should be selected to be bishops in dioceses around the world.

Tobin, 68, will be one of two Americans on the panel, which already includes Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich. Tobin replaces retired Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl.

Members of the Congregation for Bishops, which dates back to the 16th century, travel to Rome several times a year and have great influence in picking who will be bishops in their home countries, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

Pope Francis also appointed Brazilian Archbishop Sérgio da Rocha to the Congregation for Bishops Wednesday alongside Tobin.

The appointment does not affect Tobin’s role as head of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey’s largest Catholic diocese, serving more than 1.5 million Catholics in Essex, Union, Bergen and Hudson counties.

Tobin did not immediately respond to a request to comment on his new appointment.

Pope Francis selected Tobin to be the head of the Archdiocese of Newark in 2016. Tobin was previously the archbishop of Indianapolis and is known for his moderate views and sense of humor.

The Pope and Tobin were friends long before Francis became head of the Catholic Church. The Detroit-born Tobin recalled in a 2016 interview that he met the future pope in 2005 when they sat next to each other on a Vatican committee while Francis was still a little-known cardinal from Argentina.

During a coffee break at one of the committee meetings, Tobin joked with the Argentinian that his American mother had heard of the South American cardinal and hoped he would be the next pope. When an amused Francis asked why, Tobin said his Midwestern mother had read stories about the Argentinian’s reputation for cooking his own food, living in modest apartments and rejecting many of the perks that came with being a cardinal.

“He never forgot that,” Tobin said. Years later, Pope Francis wrote Tobin a note saying, he remembered their conversation and his “mother’s good taste.”

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in News and Politics 2021-03-05 03:18:32 -0800