10 January 2017
Michael Sean Winters
Be more than Sunday morning Catholics, warns new Archbishop of Newark
The economically diverse Archdiocese of Newark is home to 1.5 million Catholics
The Archdiocese of Newark received its first cardinal as Cardinal Joseph Tobin was installed as the city’s archbishop on 6 January. It was also the first time the US had witnessed the installation of a new archbishop who had already been given a red hat. Tobin, a Redemptorist, was named a cardinal in October and his transfer from Indianapolis to Newark was announced two weeks later.
In his sermon, Cardinal Tobin told the 2,500 people assembled at Sacred Heart Cathedral that he was not overly concerned with “hot-button issues” associated with the culture wars. “As noisy and divisive as those questions might be, they don’t worry me as much as a growing trend that seems to isolate us, convincing us to neatly compartmentalise our life, subtly seducing us to go to Mass on Sunday, and for the rest of the week, do whatever we think we need to do to get by.”
He warned: “If we permit the chasm between faith and life to continue to expand, we risk losing Christ, reducing him simply to an interesting idea or a comforting, nostalgic memory. And, if we lose Christ, then the world has lost the salt, light and leaven that could have transformed it.”
The archdiocese, which consists of only four counties in northern New Jersey, is home to 1.5 million Catholics and includes some of the richest and poorest neighbourhoods in the country. Tobin’s predecessor, Archbishop John Myers, was engulfed in criticism for a variety of reasons: failure to follow the norms on child protection, spending lavishly on a mansion for his own retirement, and adopting the address “your Grace,” which is not used in the United States.
The night before the installation, at a Vespers service for clergy and religious, Cardinal Tobin recalled another Redemptorist who became a bishop in the US, St John Nepomucene Neumann, who had been the object of a critical report by an official in the Vatican curia.
“It isn’t always a bad thing to get a negative report in Rome,” Tobin said, a reference to the fact that Tobin was sacked from his post as Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life four years ago and appointed to Indianapolis. The report on Bishop Neumann said he would be more suited to a missionary diocese, prompting Tobin to remark: “If there was ever a place for one to separate being a bishop from being a missionary, it can no longer hold.”
PICTURE: Cardinal Joseph Tobin greets prelates before his 6 January installation Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark.
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