Cardinal-elect Tobin will be taking over for Archbishop John Myers, who will retire after having reached the age limit of 75 in July.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican announced Monday that recently nominated Cardinal-elect Archbishop Joseph William Tobin of Indianapolis will soon be taking over as the new head of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, Archdiocese.
Born in Detroit May 3, 1952, Cardinal-elect Tobin has served as the sixth archbishop of Indianapolis since 2012. He was ordained a Redemptorist priest in 1978 and served as the order’s superior general from 1997 to 2009.
On Oct. 9, Pope Francis named him as one of three Americans on his list of 17 new cardinal-elects, who will be elevated during a special Nov. 19 consistory set to coincide with the end of the Jubilee of Mercy.
Other Americans getting the red hat are Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago and Bishop Kevin Farrell, former head of the Dallas Diocese but who recently moved to Rome to carry out his new role as prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Laity, Family and Life.
As head of the Newark Archdiocese, Cardinal-elect Tobin will be taking over for Archbishop John Myers, who will retire after having reached the age limit of 75 in July.
Cardinal-elect Tobin’s appointment and elevation as cardinal will mark the first time the Archdiocese of Newark has been led by a cardinal in its 163-year history. It also signals the first time a member of a religious order will preside over the archdiocese, which serves roughly 1.2 million Roman Catholics.
The decision fits with Francis’ tendency to appoint cardinals to non-traditional “red-hat sees,” meaning dioceses that typically always have a cardinal, such as Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington.
Cardinal-elect Tobin already has an extensive tenure in and around the Vatican, as well as in leadership.
Prior to his appointment as archbishop of Indianapolis, he served in the Vatican as secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life from 2010 to 2012, where he helped oversee the more than 1 million men and women who are vowed religious.
During his time at the congregation, he conducted two separate investigations of American nuns. He was also responsible for the visit and reform of the male communities in Ireland during the sex-abuse crisis in the country.
In May, he was appointed by the Vatican as the delegate to oversee the ongoing reforms of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae after scandals involving founder Luis Fernando Figari were made public last year.
Archbishop Tobin also seems to share Pope Francis’ sympathy for migrants and refugees. He recently sparred with Indiana governor and Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence over the resettlement of Syrian refugees, saying he was determined to welcome them despite Pence’s objections.
Under his guidance, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has also set up several events to help foster Catholic-Muslim dialogue.
He has also been a papal appointee to five Synods of Bishops: 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2008, though he did not attend the 2014-2015 synod of bishops on the family.
In addition to English, the archbishop speaks Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese.