Archbishop Joseph Tobin to Lead Newark
By Olivia O’Mahony, Editorial Assistant
December / January 2017
Moderate clergyman Joseph Tobin was named the new Archbishop of Newark by Pope Francis in November as part of a larger effort to reformulate the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy in the United States. Tobin, who formerly served as the Archbishop of Indianapolis, is known for his supportive stance on the role of both women and refugees in Catholic society.
Before his time in Indianapolis, Tobin served as the second-highest official in the Vatican for matters involving priests, brothers and nuns. During this tenure he acted as an advocate for nuns over the course of two formal investigations into concerning individuals reported to have strayed from doctrine. “Women Religious see Archbishop Tobin as a friend,” said Sister Mary Pellegrino, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. “The folks I know in Newark are delighting in this, and that says a lot.”
Raised in a large Irish American family of 13 children in Detroit, Tobin learned early that “you can’t hog the bathroom” – a philosophy of sharing that shone strongly in 2015, when he publicly rebuffed then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence by insisting that Catholic charities should continue to settle Syrian refugees in America. Tobin was also among the 17 churchmen selected for elevation to cardinal status, making him the first cardinal to ever lead the Newark diocese. He expressed his surprise at being chosen by Pope Francis, telling the New York Times, “Sometimes I think the Pope sees more in me than I see in myself.” ♦