Saturday, November 5, 2016


Below I reproduce "Whispers in the Loggia" breaking news about Newark giving Cardinal Designate Tobin of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis as their new bishop.

How curious that Pope Francis would name the Archbishop of Indianapolis a cardinal in the first place and how overjoyed that archdiocese must have been to become an archdiocese with a cardinal, only to have Pope Francis pull the red carpeting right out from under them  today and transfer him to Newark, New Jersey right next to Manhattan which already has a cardinal.

Very curious, no?

This Rocco Palmo's breaking news:

Saturday, November 05, 2016

To Heal Newark, Pope Brings "Big Red" – In Historic Move, Cardinal Tobin Tipped for Jersey Post

Fifteen years ago this autumn, at the installation of his successor in Newark, the newly-created Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington memorably tipped his red hat to the North Jersey crowd – a gesture intended to say that he owed the scarlet to them.

And now, it appears Uncle Ted has fully returned the favor, landing a cardinal to lead the 1.3 million-member fold in its own right.

In a watershed decision signaling a new era after the controversial reign of Archbishop John Myers, on Monday the Pope is expected to name Cardinal-designate Joseph William Tobin CSSR – the 64 year-old archbishop of Indianapolis whose impending elevation at this month's consistory stoked widespread shock – as head of New Jersey's marquee diocese, which has been roiled by years of tumult and low morale following assertions of the Newark church's lax handling of cases of clerical misconduct, coupled with broad distaste over Myers' austere, distant management style.

To be sure, the reported nod isn't merely a blockbuster, but even more historic than the Cubs winning the World Series – never before has an American cardinal been transferred from one diocese to another... and with New York just across the Hudson River, the move portends an ecclesiastical scenario heretofore unseen on these shores nor anywhere else in the Catholic world: two cardinals leading their own local churches not just side-by-side, but within the same media market.

While the move was reported late Friday night by the online affiliate of the local Star-Ledger, after credible yet unconfirmed word of the nod was received by Whispers early Thursday, two ranking ops ducked comment on the pick in deference to the pontifical seal, and – as the notoriously leak-prone Newark crowd went into overdrive on Friday – a document from the archdiocese's Chancery was obtained by these pages bearing Tobin's name. (Complain all you want, but this house has its due diligence to carry out.) On a separate front, late Friday the archdiocese alerted reporters to a press conference scheduled for 10.30am Monday in the Cathedral-Basilica of the Sacred Heart – keeping with standard practice on a yet-unannounced appointment, the event's topic was not disclosed.

Having reached the retirement age of 75 in July, a quick succession for Myers has long been anticipated, even in the wake of Archbishop Bernard Hebda's transfer to the Twin Cities earlier this year after 28 months in waiting as a coadjutor who had been kept as looped-out of the governance of the wildly complex archdiocese as he was beloved among its priests and people. Since the younger prelate's move to an even more beleaguered posting was only made possible due to Myers' drive to remain in office until the canonical age-limit kicked in, Hebda's departure brought the frustration and "depression" among wide swaths of Newark's clergy and laity to a near breaking-point.

In Bernie's stead, Joe Tobin – who takes the chair of the US bishops' arm for clergy, religious and vocations later this month – is likewise being sent in with no less of a mandate for healing. If anything, that task has now become all the more high-profile given the appointee's newfound prominence. Still, considering the former Redemptorist chief's experience as an inner-city pastor in Detroit and Chicago, a deep history with Hispanics (who comprise almost half the Newark fold) and a more gregarious personality than Francis' first intended choice for the post, the new cardinal might just make for an even happier and more comfortable fit than Hebda had already well proven to be.

On another front, Tobin's reputation as a champion of women religious over his two-year stint as #2 of the Vatican's "Congregation for Religious" makes the significant presence of female orders and motherhouses in the archdiocese the proverbial "icing on the cake"... and, indeed, that Newark's vast roster of institutions includes one of the few diocesan-owned universities (Seton Hall) as well as two major seminaries and a college-level one serves to underscore the outsize impact its archbishop has not merely on the life of his charge, but with the reach of its entities, even beyond.

As reported at the top, multiple signs point to Newark's fourth archbishop as the lead architect behind the choice of his second successor. Having maintained an enduring devotion for and among the Jersey church since his transfer to the capital in 2000, McCarrick – who Francis is said to revere as "a hero" of his – made a direct appeal over recent weeks for Tobin to be named to Newark, according to two sources familiar with the cardinal's thinking.

Beyond the Ted-push, with the Pope ostensibly alerted to the archdiocese's troubled state, Francis reportedly took the rare step of soliciting impressions on the Newark church from outside the normal bounds of the appointment process at its final stages. In the US, a similar degree of wider consultation is known to have been sought from the Domus in just one other instance – the 2014 selection of Blase Cupich, now likewise a cardinal-designate, for Chicago. Given the more than decade-old bond between the now-pontiff and Tobin, however, this choice can be seen as Papa Bergoglio's most personal move in the American hierarchy's top rank to date – as one well-traveled cleric who knows the Redemptorist summed it up, for all intents and purposes, "Tobin is 'Francis.'"

Beyond the confines of the North Jersey church – an almost unparalleled concentration of diverse, often poor and violent urban areas but a mile or two from some of the country's wealthiest suburbs, yet all a "periphery" in the shadow of New York – the move sets the stage for an extraordinary power dynamic without precedent anywhere: two cardinals overseeing dioceses separated only by a river, and sharing the US' largest and most influential media market, to boot.

While Tobin and the Big Apple Cardinal Timothy Dolan would remain ecclesially independent of each other as heads of their own provinces, the public interplay between the two garrulous, larger-than-life Irishmen – whose shared lack of shyness is punctuated by a more than occasional difference of approach to church life – is likely to prove more fascinating than not. Put another way, given memories of the famously bitter rivalry across the Hudson between McCarrick and the late John Cardinal O'Connor in the 1980s and '90s, the prospect of tensions between their modern heirs would easily give the earlier feud a run for its money.

As contrasts go between the cardinal-designate and his ostensible predecessor in Jersey, meanwhile, where Tobin remarked about getting "sweaty hugs" from fellow patrons of the Indy gym he goes to at after word of his elevation spread, one could more easily envision Myers building a workout space for himself.... Then again, that might've already happened given the "wellness room" component of a reported $500,000 expansion of the countryside home the archbishop plans to use in his retirement – a disclosure which served to further fuel local discontent.

Along the same lines, as the tipped pick has happily tooled around the Indianapolis church – which, beyond its metro-area core, stretches across Indiana's heavily-rural and mostly-Protestant southern tier – on his own in a pickup truck, how Tobin will take to the police driver and escort long accorded to Newark's chief shepherd is, at best, an open question. (Amid some of the nation's most intense traffic at any given hour, archdiocesan officials have long maintained that the perk is a necessity to keep the ordinary running on time to fulfill a normal schedule of events.)

All that said, another contrast might just be the most poetic. While Myers has long embraced the style of "His Grace" (the traditional English honorific for archbishops and dukes) in reference to himself, Tobin told Indy's diocesan Criterion that when his venerable mother, Marie-Therese, mused upon word of his elevation about how she "can't believe a child of mine is a 'Prince of the Church,'" the oldest of her 13 kids shot back by saying, "Now, Mother, you don't believe 'I'm a prince of the church,' I don't believe I'm a 'prince of the church,' and Pope Francis certainly doesn't believe I'm a 'prince of the church' – so we'll never use that word again!"

*    *    *
With two weeks still to go before he formally receives the red hat in Rome, Tobin has already taken to punching his new weight, hitting the road since the elevation was announced to hold a series of previously-scheduled talks on the plight of Syrian refugees, in the process sparing little criticism of public officials for a lack of courage and the media for ginning up unfounded fears of terrorism on the part of the migrants.

Beyond a concerted soothing of nerves in one of US Catholicism's ten largest outposts, among other challenges awaiting Newark's Sixth Archbishop include the future sustainability and shape of the North Jersey church's ample school system, the ongoing flow of new migrants into diocesan life (with their according need for all sorts of services), and on the state level, leading the church's fight against two significant, ongoing legislative efforts before the General Assembly in Trenton: the respective pushes to legalize assisted suicide and retroactively reopen the Garden State's statute of limitations on the filing of sex-abuse lawsuits.

Though Newark has been the most feverishly anticipated move of the current Stateside docket, it bears recalling that the Pope's picks for two other critical million-plus sees remain pending: Long Island's 1.5 million-member fold based in Rockville Centre, and what's arguably the most important of the entire bunch – the succession to Rome's new Laity Czar, Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell, at the helm of the 1.3 million-member Dallas diocese, a role that doubles as the church's principal voice in the nation's fourth-largest metropolitan area.


Rood Screen said...

He's a firm supporter of parochial and diocesan school, especially for the education of poor children. I like that about him.

rcg said...

I think the move was recommended by Vatican advisors who want a strong opponent to Trump (Pence) near a media market in case Trump wins.

Tony V said...

The pope shouldn't be picking bishops, let alone transferring them. The pope is bishop of Rome, he's not CEO of the Catholic church. Things have gone very amuck.

Anonymous said...

Just look what the Pope said yesterday one last attack on Mr. Trump, God willing President Trump by Tuesday night, before a crowd of LEFT WING SOCIAL JUSTICE WARRIORS, you know folks he we have a man that loves America and on the last debate said he CANNOT accept LATE TERM ABORTION and then we have a anti-American pro-abortion and yes late term abortion advocate, hater of police, the armed forces, the family, Christianity Roman Catholicism in particular and yet we have millions of Roman Catholics who will still vote for this EVIL woman yes I said it because someone must. She is a proven liar, open borders advocate, abortion advocate, a Lesbian yes I said that too, and will elect 4 if not 5 Supreme Court Judges, and when that happens the United States of America will be only a memory and become a third world country. My grandparents came here decades ago from the Austro-Hungarian Empire speaking Slovak and German only, they asked for nothing only to start a new life and family in the country they loved. Don't ever compare my grandparents to the ILLEGAL ALIENS that cross the border daily by the thousands, this makes me sick at the comparison how dare the Democrats and their Leftist allies even justify this. Lord please let His Grace Raymond Cardinal Burke become our next Holy Father.

Gene said...

The illegal aliens coming here now, and all these middle eastern aliens we are encouraging to come, are sleazy, grasping garbage.
They know nothing, and care nothing, about our laws, our heritage, or our culture. They need to be shunned, deported, and made to feel unwelcome in every possible way. The ideologues on the Left and in power are seeding their own, and our, destruction and either do not care or are just too stupid to realize it.

Anonymous said...

Gene says, "The illegal aliens coming here now, and all these middle eastern aliens we are encouraging to come, are sleazy, grasping garbage."

What further need have we of witnesses?

Rood Screen said...

Number 2241 of the CCC puts it well enough: "The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him. Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens."

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone out there can explain what is to me, the opaque, murky world of how bishops are seems about as closed a process as who gets into the country club or the inner workings of the CIA and NSA. I remember a few years ago up here in Atlanta we got an auxiliary bishop, but there was never any public notice in the diocesan paper that we were even seeking one in the first place! Then I saw in our diocesan paper a few weeks ago one of our two auxiliaries was being transferred to, of all places, Alexandria Louisiana as the coadjutor. A few weeks ago, there was a story in the Raleigh paper of their bishop being transferred to Arlington, Virginia this December and the article mentioned that he did not even know he was being considered for the position...which I found odd, as that suggested he was not even interviewed for the position. If so, that is a very odd practice to me of selecting names out of a hat without even interviewing them for the position...certainly if you were running a business, you would not hire someone for a position without at least interviewing them!!! I'm not suggesting election of bishops---that has its own issues---but perhaps more lay involvement, listening sessions as to what is being sought in a successor or auxiliary.

rcg said...

Lay involvment: yikes, no! Mystery assignments probably made to help either diocese with specific issues or specific men with careers. Both can be good things.

TJM said...

Father George Rutler has said it best: One candidate is flawed, the other evil. But we have so-called Catholic priests who will vote for evil. That probably won't help them much when they ask faithful Catholics for money! Maybe the DNC or The Clintoon Crime Foundation can make up the difference!

Dan Z said...

I find it curious that around the same time the Pope made his infamous "a builder of walls is not a Christian" speech, he also said a politician who supports abortion is no different than a mafia murderer. Yet the media did not grab onto that and promote headlines that read "Pope Says Hillary is Like A Mafia Murderer". In fact, I don't think any Catholic bloggers used that either. It just sort of went completely unnoticed.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Anonymous - The process for selecting bishops is, as you note, a curious one.

As to the need for an auxiliary bishop, the local ordinary (Archbishop Gregory in your case) pretty much makes that call, though I suspect he would consult his staff when considering making a request to the Holy See for the appointment of one. He would then petition the Holy See for an auxiliary (or two) and they would decide to act on the petition or not.

Transfers of auxiliaries to their own dioceses after a time is very common. My seminary classmate, Bishop James Conley, served as auxiliary bishop in Denver for four years before being named as diocesan ordinary (bishop) of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska.

All priests know that they MAY be considered for appointment as bishop. Some seek it, others shudder at the very thought!

There is a consultative process that is carried out very, very quietly. Individuals, usually priests who have held some diocesan curial position, receive questionnaires to complete about the needs of a diocese and the qualities of a particular priest who is being considered for appointment to the office of bishop. It is STRICTLY forbidden for the person who receives such a communication to discuss it with anyone - ever.

In the past laity have been asked to express their opinions about the needs of a diocese and what kind of bishop might be chosen to respond to those needs. It may happen, but to my knowledge, they are never asked about an individual by name.

So, I don't think it's as chancy as pulling a name out of a hat, even if the men chosen or transferred are unaware of what's coming. Bishop Burbidge, for instance (Raleigh to Arlington) is a well-known quantity. His ability to serve as diocesan bishop has been made evident during his time in NC and it is reasonable for the Holy See to expect it will be so in Arlington.

No, no one is "interviewed," but their qualities and abilities are well researched and well known by the time the appointment or the transfer comes.

Rood Screen said...


There is ongoing conversation between each bishop and the papal nuncio. Each bishop picks three priests he believes could become good bishops. Also, a variety of chancery priests and even some religious and laymen are consulted.Once a candidate is identified, he is given the opportunity to accept or decline. It is all confidential, and must be so in order to prevent outside influence.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Card Ouellet's short item:

Mark Thomas said...

"One candidate is flawed, the other is evil."

I guess that as long as the Republican candidate is the one favored by this or that conservative Catholic, the Republican candidate's support, for example, of abortion, is merely..."flawed."

For example: Donald Trump supports the murder of a baby who was conceived via rape, incest...and supports the murder of a baby when the "mother's life is in danger."

However, right-wing Catholics categorize Donald Trump's support of abortion as a mere "flaw."

Conversely, right-wing Catholics categorize Hillary Clinton's support of abortion as "evil."

Oh. okay.

It is a "mortal sin" to vote for "evil" pro-abortion Hillary Clinton, according to right-wing Catholics. But it is not a "mortal sin" to vote for pro-abortion Donald Trump as his support of abortion is a mere "flaw", according to right-wing Catholics.

Oh. Okay.

I wish that right-wing Catholics would simply be honest about their politics..."as a result of our support of the Republican party, it doesn't matter what the Republican presidential candidate says or does....we will make excuses for him...we will even overlook his support for abortion...we will categorize his support of evil as a mere "flaw."


Mark Thomas

Faithful Catholic said...

Mark Thomas:

You need to study Church teaching on this and also moral theology.

Is it permitted or allowable to vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion?

Answer: In certain circumstances it is permitted, yes.

When is it permitted or allowable to vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion?

In the circumstance where you have two or more candidates, ALL of whom are in favor of abortion, it is permissible to vote for the one whose position on the issue will promote the least harm. However, a Catholic would be guilty of formal co-operation with evil by voting for a candidate solely because of that person's pro-abortion philosophy.

Mark, you need to discuss his with someone who is knowledgeble in this area of Church teaching. Then get back to us.

You also have to look at how a person has conducted him or herself in positions of public trust. Has the person betrayed the public trust in corruption or other ways? Is the person more likely to nominate judges who will rule against laws restricting abortion?

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

It is sad you have gone over to the dark side. Bishop Paprocki of Springfield and Bishop Morlino of Madison, two of the most faithful and courageous Catholic bishops in the US, support Trump over the evil Hillary. Do you suppose YOU know more about the Catholic Faith than them? Bishops, who celebrate the TLM? By the way, did you know that when Barack Obama was a state senator in Illinois he voted AGAINST saving an unborn child's life who survived an abortion? Have you no decency, no honor, no Catholicism? Does George Soros pay you to post here to discourage faithful Catholics? May God have mercy on your soul.

Anonymous said...

Rev. K, thanks for the thorough (if disconcerting) explanation of selection of prelates. I still find it strange that interviews are not conducted---for example, to see if a candidate's health is good, or whether he has things back home that offer a busy upcoming year---like the completion of a new cathedral in Raleigh. And what happens if someone does not want to take a new position and stay where he is?

I suppose the selection of pastors is a similar process? I would not know as we have had the same one for years at my Atlanta parish---or actually decades.

Newark unfortunately is within a very secular state, as evidenced by the fact that New Jersey will easily back Clinton today---it hasn't gone Republican for president since 1988. Newark also was the site of the episcopate of one of the most notorious bishops in the Episcopal Church, John Shelby Spong, who served there from 1976-2000. He always had an ant-Catholic bent to him, such as on birth control and liturgy, and even denied---and got away with denying---core Christian beliefs like the resurrection and the Virgin birth. Not surprisingly, he is one reason the Episcopal Church numbers are way down from their peak in the 1960s.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Well, when the nuncio calls to say, "The Holy Father has chosen you to be bishop of Wagga Wagga," a priest can say, "No, thank you." As Card Ouelett notes, more and more priests are saying just that.

It would be tougher for a sitting bishop to decline a transfer, but he might tell the nuncio that his health is failing and, therefore, should not be considered for the move. The people who REALLY worry about the transfer of a bishop are the seminarians who are preparing for ordination. If their bishop is shipped out, the plans for their ordination can be disrupted. What usually happens is that a retired bishop or the bishop of a nearby diocese steps in for the ritual. Not ideal, but...

The Holy See knows if a bishop has a "big thing" coming, but that would not preclude his being transferred. It is unfortunate, but not really disruptive, for Burbidge to get translated to Arlington right before the new cathedral is open. I understand the consecration is set for July 2017.

Pastors can decline transfers, or might decline being named a pastor in the first place. More discussion is involved at that level, at least in smaller dioceses like ours, simply because it is more possible.

Spong was and remains a mess. One of my Episcopalian ecumenical colleagues noted that, in their policies and procedures, there's really no way to remove a bishop who, say, denies - or at least questions - the divinity of Christ...

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

We priests laugh at this... The only time a priest gets MORE than a bishop is when he (the priest) is named a bishop. Canonically, he has THREE months from the announcement date to get to his new diocese and get himself ordained.

If a bishop is transferred to another diocese, he gets only TWO months to get himself to the new posting!

Mark Thomas said...

TJM, I have moved to the dark side and am on George Soros' payroll for having noted that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton support abortion?

Yes, may God have mercy on my soul. May God also have mercy in regard to the following:

Donald Trump on Meet The Press:

Chuck Todd: "Should some form of abortion always be legal?"

Donald Trump: "Well, to me, I have exceptions. Rape, incest, if the mother's going to die..."

Donald Trump supports the murder of babies in the above situations.

TJM, please pray that Donald Trump will leave the dark side in regard to his support for abortion. Please pray that Hillary Clinton will also leave the dark side in regard to abortion.

I am pro-life. I refuse to vote for Trump, Clinton, or any candidate who supports abortion. If that has placed me on the "dark side", then so be it.


Mark Thomas