Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin was included in a batch of new cardinals last month in a surprise move that made him the small Midwestern diocese’s first cardinal.
In another twist on Monday, it was announced that Cardinal-designate Tobin would become the new Archbishop of New Jersey. He replaces Archbishop John Myers, who is retiring aged 75. This will be one of the few occasions where a cardinal has been moved between dioceses in recent history.
What the media are saying
Like Indianapolis, the 163-year-old Archdiocese of Newark has never had a cardinal. Local media outlet NJ.com told its readers to expect a cleric who was “more moderate – and one prone more to pastoral outreach – than Myers, who has been criticised as a distant figure not in touch with his widely diverse base.” The news site observed the “dizzying reversal” in the fortunes of Cardinal-designate Tobin, who during his time at the Vatican’s Congregation for Religious had apparently angered superiors by siding with nuns facing a visitation.
Northjersey.com praised the new appointment, describing it as “an historic appointment of a leader who has close ties to Pope Francis, is a staunch supporter of social justice and has called for a greater role for women in the Church.”
What Catholic media are saying
Rocco Palmo, in his blog Whispers in the Loggia, noted that the new cardinal’s diocese was perhaps uncomfortably close to that of another cardinal, the Archdiocese of New York, led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Palmo wrote: “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.”
Fr Thomas Reese told the National Catholic Reporter that the move did not make sense. He said: “Newark is a big archdiocese and [Cardinal-designate] Tobin will have to take time to get to know the people and the priests. That will take time away from the work he could be doing as a cardinal advising the Pope.”
The most overlooked story of the week
✣ Vatican called in to end Venezuela crisis
Vatican-led talks between Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro and the opposition are being regarded as the “last best effort” to prevent political crisis engulfing the South American country.
Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli told media that the situation was “very ugly” and that the failure of talks could lead to bloodshed.
Why was it under-reported?
Venezuela has been suffering the worst economic crisis in its history. The British media tends to report little on South American affairs but the country has a severe shortage of food and medicine. On top of this there is political deadlock.
Opponents say 17 years of socialism have vanquished democracy, while the government says a US-backed elite is seeking a violent coup.
The Opposition has also termed the talks an “exploratory meeting” only, which could mean no solution will be found.
What will happen next?
President Maduro’s opponents accuse him of being a dictator. They are calling for a referendum and the release of hundreds of jailed opposition activists.
There is no sign so far that Maduro will agree to the opposition’s demands. Meanwhile, Venezuelans continue to suffer.
The dialogue between sides is also being overseen by US diplomat Tom Shannon. He said Washington would support talks as long “as long as it remains viable.” Talks were scheduled to resume today.
✣The week ahead
On Sunday, Holy Doors around the world will close as the Jubilee Year of Mercy approaches its end. British cathedrals will be holding services to mark the end of the Jubilee.
At St Peter’s in Rome (which does not close its door until November 20, the final day of the Jubilee Year), the Pope will celebrate Mass for the homeless.
Former Justice Secretary Michael Gove will give the Longford Lecture on Wednesday. He will speak on “What is really criminal about our justice system?” at 6.30pm at Church House, Great Smith Street, London. Book at longfordtrust.org.
Tomorrow evening the Vatican will host the second annual “Concert for the poor and with the poor”.
The poor are given front-row seats. This year’s concert will be given by the Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone, who will perform hits from his long career.