Live from Indy
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Tobin's day began with Mass at the Indy church's college seminary named for its founding bishop, and come tonight the archbishop-elect will celebrate another liturgy and attend a fund-raiser in a Bloomington parish. Among other stops are slated to be tomorrow night's 75th anniversary gala for the local, Franciscan-run Marian University and a noontime Mass Saturday at St John the Evangelist, the downtown church that served as city's first cathedral.
With the Hoosier chair unusually being filled by a religious for the second tenure in a row, it's worth noting that while the 60 year-old pick's predecessor – Archbishop Daniel Buechlein (above left, paying homage to his successor this morning) – had a hearty presence of his Benedictine confreres nearby (his community of St Meinrad having been "gerrymandered" into the archdiocese at the founding of the diocese of Evansville in 1944), the Redemptorist announcement of the move notes that there are no members of the 5,300-man community Tobin led for 12 years currently "serving full-time in Indiana."
At least, that is, until now.
With this morning's move, seven Stateside Latin-church dioceses remain vacant, and another seven led by bishops serving past the retirement age of 75. For the time being, the latter figure will rise to eight on Sunday, as Bishop Joseph Latino of northern Mississippi's Jackson diocese reaches the milestone.
Back to Indy, meanwhile, as one local – not an easily impressed sort – texted back during Tobin's first appearance in the crowded cathedral, "Are you watching this? Wow!"
SVILUPPO: The first journalist to report the possibility of Tobin's transfer to Indiana way back in early June, it's worth noting that, both given the scoop and the high tensions surrounding the nominee's role at the Vatican until today, The Tablet's man in the Eternal City, Robert Mickens – as an alumnus of St Meinrad, no stranger to the Indy church – wrote the following on today's move in his "Letter from Rome," running in tomorrow's edition of the London-based international Catholic weekly....
More than four months after it was first mentioned in this column (2 June), Pope Benedict XVI has finally sent Archbishop Joseph Tobin, number two at the Congregation for Religious for only the past two years, to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The news has elated Catholics in Indiana. But it is likely to rekindle the feelings of mistrust and hurt that American nuns felt towards the Vatican back in December 2008 when it opened a systematic investigation into their communities.PHOTO: The (Indianapolis) Criterion/via Twitter(1); Archdiocese of Indianapolis(2,3)
Officially called a “visitation”, the inquiry was first launched by Cardinal Franc Rodé, then prefect of the Congregation. When Archbishop Tobin, a 60-year-old Detroit (Michigan) native and former worldwide head of the Redemptorist order, was appointed to assist the cardinal in August 2010, he set about mending fences with the sisters who had been already alienated. He got a huge boost five months later when Rodé retired and was replaced by the now-Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz of Brazil.
The Bráz-Tobin tandem immediately implemented a more respectful and listening approach towards religious orders. And the overwhelming majority of the orders’ members, especially the women, received this as their greatest gift and tribute from the Vatican in many years. Now they see Archbishop Tobin’s de facto removal as a rebuke – of efforts towards dialogue, mutual respect and trust. Powerful forces in Rome (and America) were never pleased with his conciliatory approach and were worried that he would quietly can the results of their year-long investigation into the nuns without demanding conservative changes.
Even though Tobin was one of only a few English speakers at the Congregation for Religion, don’t be surprised if he’s replaced with an Italian. In any case, the new man’s job will be to be Cardinal Bráz’s minder.