Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tobin's Orders: "The Congregation Is Not to Control Religious Life"

On Saturday, before a Red Sea surrounding the High Altar of St Peter's, Detroit-born Fr Joe Tobin, the highly-regarded former Superior-General of the Redemptorists, will be ordained an archbishop two months after being named #2 of the Vatican's "Congregation for Religious," the dicastery overseeing the church's greatest cadre of unsung heroes: its million-plus professed men and women worldwide.

Initially scheduled for the Altar of the Chair at the basilica's western edge -- the usual spot for rites of the type -- Saturday's ordination was moved to the central space given the large expected turnout for the four bishops-elect: besides Tobin, the group includes the new nuncio to Iraq Giorgio Lingua, the freshly-named rector of the Lateran University (and preacher of this year's papal Lenten retreat) Enrico dal Covolo, and the new president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the 73 year-old Spaniard of Opus Dei Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, an MD who's scored global headlines these last 36 hours with his protest of yesterday's Nobel Prize for Medicine to the "father" of in-vitro fertilization, the Englishman Robert Edwards, as "completely out of place."

Having struck no shortage of conciliatory notes since his appointment to the Curial post that, among other things, will oversee the conclusion of these shores' controversial Apostolic Visitation of women religious, late last month Tobin took his goodwill tour to the just-concluding chapter of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (whose business included the election of the order's US provincial, Buffalo-born Fr Louis Lougen, as its 13th Superior-General in an unprecedented YouTubed ballot).

Featuring a downright eerie opening line given a recent closing word 'round these parts, here's video of Tobin's appearance... a revealing turn in more ways than one:

PHOTO: L'Osservatore Romano