Joseph W. Tobin
Archbishop of Newark
Tobin in 2017
|Appointed||November 7, 2016|
|Installed||January 6, 2017|
|Predecessor||John J. Myers|
|Other posts||Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria delle Grazie a Via Trionfale |
Ecclesiastical Superior of Turks and Caicos
|Ordination||June 1, 1978|
|Consecration||October 9, 2010|
by Tarcisio Bertone
|Created cardinal||November 19, 2016|
by Pope Francis
|Born||May 3, 1952|
|Parents||Joseph W. Tobin & Marie Terese Kerwin|
|Previous post||Archbishop of Indianapolis (2012-2017)|
Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) (2010-2012)
Titular Archbishop of Obba (2010-2012)
Superior General of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (1997-2009)
|Motto||Gaudete in Domino|
(Rejoice in the Lord)
|Coat of arms|
Joseph W. Tobin
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Ordination history of
Joseph W. Tobin
Joseph William Tobin, CSsR (born May 3, 1952) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church. A member of the Redemptorists, he has been the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, since his installation on January 6, 2017. He had served as the Archbishop of Indianapolis since 2012 and as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) from 2010 to 2012. He has been a cardinal since November 19, 2016.
Tobin was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1952, the oldest of the 13 children of Joseph W. Tobin and Marie Terese Kerwin. He was baptized five days after his birth at the historic Church of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded and administered by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (better known as the Redemptorist Fathers). He later attended the parochial school there.
By the time he had graduated, Tobin felt called to serve as a Catholic priest and applied to the Redemptorists, by whom he was accepted as a candidate. He then attended St. Joseph's Preparatory College in Edgerton, Wisconsin, the Redemptorists' minor seminary. After graduating in 1970, he was received into the novitiate of the congregation to begin his formation as a member. He made his temporary profession of religious vows as a member of the congregation on August 5, 1972, and his perpetual vows on August 21, 1976.
In 1975 Tobin gained a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Holy Redeemer College in Waterford, Wisconsin, after which he was sent to study at Mount St. Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus, New York, where he earned the degrees of Master in Religious Education (1977) and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Theology (1979).
Tobin was ordained a priest on June 1, 1978. The following year he returned to his childhood home, when he was appointed the parochial vicar of Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit. He was later named pastor there, serving from 1984 to 1990. From 1980 to 1986 he served as an episcopal vicar for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and also assisted at the local diocesan marriage tribunal. From 1990 to 1991 he served as pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago, Illinois.
Tobin was elected General Consultor of the Redemptorist Fathers in 1991 and on September 9, 1997, was elected Superior General, being confirmed for another term in this post on September 26, 2003. That same year he became Vice-President of the Union of Superiors General. He was also a member of the Council for Relations between the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the International Union of Superiors General from 2001 to 2009.
In 2005, he participated in a Synod of Bishops in Rome, where he spent a week in a Spanish-language discussion group that included the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who later became Pope Francis and named Tobin a cardinal.
Tobin spent 2010 taking a sabbatical attached to Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, residing with the De La Salle Brothers. He pursued his interest in the rise of secularisation and secular culture, attending seminars by the sociologist of religion and anthropologist Peter Clarke, studying at the Las Casas Institute and taking classes at Blackfriars.
Tobin speaks English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
In May 2009 Tobin was named to oversee the professed men's element of the Apostolic Visitation of the Church in Ireland, scheduled for September 2010. On August 2, 2010, Tobin was appointed secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) and titular Archbishop of Obba. Tobin was the second US cleric to hold the post.[a]
Tobin was told of his appointment two weeks before it was announced. He recalled:
I was painting my mom's house in Ontario when the phone rang. The voice on the other end said it was Cardinal Bertone, and my first thought was that it was a prank, ... you know, I thought maybe it was one of the Redemptorists fooling around. Quickly, though, I realized that it really was Bertone, and he said that the Holy Father wants you to do this. My first reaction was to tell him that off the top of my head, I could give him the names of five people much more qualified to do this job than I am. I was completely serious about it. But Cardinal Bertone said no, this is what the Holy Father wants. He said I could take a week to ten days to think about it, so I talked to my superiors, my closest friends in religious life, and my spiritual director.
Tobin received his episcopal consecration in Rome on October 9, 2010. He had said:
[My] hope is that the Vatican's relationship with the local churches can be a sort of creative tension. I think life without tension would be very boring and useless. We can't walk, we can't talk, we can't sing without tension. You need to have tension in your vocal chords and your back, let alone a guitar. However, tension can be destructive. The challenge is to recognise the diversity of gifts and the plurality of churches and the one spirit that unites us. And I think that is the adventure of a lifetime.
When Tobin arrived at CICLSAL, it was already conducting a visitation--a critical inspection of ministries and organization--of the 341 institutes of apostolic women religious in the United States. And the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) was conducting a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), focused on theological orthodoxy. In December 2010 Tobin said that Rome needed to acknowledge the "depth of anger and hurt" provoked by a visitation, saying it illustrated the need for a "strategy of reconciliation" with women religious. The CDF issued its report on the LCWR in April 2012, and Tobin was reportedly unhappy both with its content and with the failure of the CDF to consult with him before releasing it.
On October 18, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI reassigned Tobin from his Curia post to head the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis, a Catholic community of 246,000. He was installed on December 3, 2012. His reassignment had been rumored since Tobin had made known his unhappiness with Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's highly critical report on the LCWR in the United States in April 2012.
In June 2014, Tobin warned that ideological polarization of American political life "helps to contribute to the balkanization of American Catholics into so-called right wing and left wing, or progressive and traditionalist, factions, who point fingers at each other". Speaking at a meeting of the College Theology Society he said that: "In my opinion, finger pointing does a great harm to religious life because it makes us defensive ... [and] we feel constantly compelled to defend ourselves against other parties in the church."
On October 9, 2016, Pope Francis announced that Tobin would be made a cardinal in a papal consistory to be held on November 19, 2016. On that day he was made a Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria delle Grazie a Via Trionfale.
On November 7, 2016, Pope Francis named Tobin the Archbishop of Newark, a city which has, like Indianapolis, never before been headed by a cardinal. He was installed there on January 6, 2017.
Tobin is a strong advocate of increased acceptance of migrants into the United States and of a lenient position towards those who are in the country illegally. In March 2017, he accompanied 59-year old Catalino Guerrero to his deportation hearing. The following May, Tobin called on Catholic leaders to resist the immigration positions of Donald Trump, saying, "you really have to believe in inflicting cruelty on innocent people to choose to support the policies we've seen in recent months."
Tobin has been a major proponent of increasing the role of women in the Catholic Church. In an interview with The New York Times published on December 22, 2017, Tobin said that he "understand[s] the consternation" among women who find themselves frustrated that they are not permitted to become priests. When asked about the possibility of a female cardinal, he responded, "Maybe my theology isn't sophisticated enough, but I don't believe that there's a compelling theological reason why the pope couldn't name a woman cardinal."
Tobin welcomed a "pilgrimage" of gay and lesbian Catholics and their families to the archdiocese's cathedral in 2017. In an interview before the Mass, Tobin said, "The word I use is 'welcome.' These are people that have not felt welcome in other places. My prayer for them is that they do. Today in the Catholic Church, we read a passage that says you have to be able to give a reason for your hope. And I'm praying that this pilgrimage for them, and really for the whole church, is a reason for hope."
In an interview with NBC's Anne Thompson on April 17, 2019, Tobin said: "The Church, I think, is having its own conversation about what our faith has us do and say with people in relationships that are same-sex. What should be without debate is that we are called to welcome them." Tobin was then asked about language in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that refers to homosexuality as "intrinsically disordered." Tobin answered, "Well I don't call them 'intrinsically disordered ... It's very unfortunate language. Let's hope that eventually that language is a little less hurtful."
Tobin supported the 2017 book called Building a Bridge, by Fr. James Martin, SJ, which called for the Church to modify its relationship with LGBT people. Tobin commented that "in too many parts of our church LGBT people have been made to feel unwelcome, excluded, and even shamed. Father Martin's brave, prophetic, and inspiring new book marks an essential step in inviting church leaders to minister with more compassion, and in reminding LGBT Catholics that they are as much a part of our church as any other Catholic."
On August 17, 2018 the Catholic News Agency reported that six Newark priests alleged experience of sexual misconduct by two priests in seminary and ministry in the archdiocese. Tobin responded with a letter to the priests of Newark on the same day, saying that he had been unaware of the issue. He concluded the letter by encouraging priests to refer media inquiries to the archdiocesan director of communications.
On August 25, 2018 Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the United States, released a letter describing a series of warnings to the Vatican regarding alleged sexual misconduct by then-cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a predecessor of Tobin in Newark. Viganò claimed that McCarrick "orchestrated" the appointment of Tobin as Archbishop of Newark. Tobin denounced Viganò's statement for "factual errors, innuendo and fearful ideology." He said that the letter "cannot be understood as contributing to the healing of survivors of sexual abuse" and called for "guaranteeing a safe and respectful environment where all are welcome and breaking down the structures and cultures that enable abuse."
One journalist claims that in a conversation with Tobin that he said that around the time he came to Newark in 2016 he heard "rumors" about McCarrick having slept with seminarians, but chose not to believe them, stating that at the time they seemed too "incredulous" to be true.
|Catholic Church titles|
John J. Myers
| Archbishop of Newark
Daniel M. Buechlein
| Archbishop of Indianapolis
Charles C. Thompson
| Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of
Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
José Rodríguez Carballo