Newark’s New Leader
The Latin root of Cardinal is cardo, meaning “hinge,” or something very important. In the Church, it came to mean “a clergyman of the highest rank, next to the pope.”
In early October, Pope Francis named seventeen new cardinals, including American Archbishops Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis, and former Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell.
Tobin, a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists), was then asked to serve as the sixth archbishop of Newark on November 7. He began his assignment January 6. It is the first time a cardinal leads the Newark Archdiocese and the first time in this country that a cardinal has been transferred from one archdiocese to another.
Tobin professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1973. He speaks English, Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese and reads several other languages. He has participated in five synods of bishops and has been a member of the Canon Law Society of America since 1985.
In Tobin’s opening statement to the Archdiocese of Newark, his sense of humor and practicality dominated.
“Two weeks earlier I discovered that the Holy Father had named me to the College of Cardinals,” Tobin said. “I am not sure my central nervous system can take much more news. You will forgive the occasional stutter or facial twitch.”
In addressing his plans for the future of the Church in Newark, Tobin shared some principles that would guide his ministry and convictions upon which his leadership hinges:
“The first is joy,” the cardinal said. “I am not talking about a sort of superficial giddiness but rather the joy which we experience daily, amid the little things of life, as a response to the loving invitation of God our Father, the joy that was promised us by Jesus, joy that is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“The second is transparency. I intend to be in regular and effective communication with the people of this archdiocese, city, and state. I will promote policies that recognize that we preach the gospel, not only with words but also with actions.
“The third quality is freedom,” Tobin said. “While believing people today have a justifiable interest in the cherished freedom of religion that is a part of our nation’s heritage, I am even more concerned that Catholics strive to be free from fear. As we grow in love of God and our neighbor, that love will drive out fear.”