Cardinal Tobin looks to bridge chasm between faith, life in anxious world

IMAGE: CNS photo/Bob Roller

By Beth Griffin

N.J. (CNS) — The chasm between faith and life is the greatest challenge facing
the Catholic Church today, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin said at his installation
Mass, and he urged the church to be salt for the earth so that the presence of
Christ does not become “a comforting, nostalgic memory.”

the homily during the liturgy Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany, Cardinal Tobin
said he wanted to head off “a growing trend that seems to isolate us,
convincing us to neatly compartmentalize our lives” as people attend Mass
on Sunday and then doing “whatever we think we need to do to get by”
the rest of the week.

Tobin said his appointment reminded him “that stakes are incredibly high” as he
assumes leadership of the richly diverse Archdiocese of Newark.

“If we
permit the chasm between faith and life to continue to expand, we risk losing
Christ, reducing him simply to an interesting idea of a comforting, nostalgic
memory. And if we lose Christ, the world has lost the salt, light and leaven
that could have transformed it,” he said.

He recalled
how the church is “the place where believers speak and listen to each other, and it is the
community of faith that speaks with and listens to the world. The church senses
a responsibility for the world, not simply as yet another institutional
presence or a benevolent NGO, but as a movement of salt, light and leaven for
the world’s transformation. For this reason, our kindness must be known to all.”

installation took place before more than 2,000 people at Newark’s towering
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Cardinal Tobin concelebrated the Mass
with six other cardinals and more than 60 archbishops and bishops. Five hundred
priests and deacons also participated.

After a
30-minute processional, Archbishop John J. Myers, retired archbishop of Newark,
welcomed participants and took special note of members of Cardinal Tobin’s
religious community, the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, his mother,
Marie Terese Tobin, and his extended family. Cardinal Tobin, 64, is the eldest
of 13 children.

Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States, recalled when St. John
Paul visited Newark in 1995, he described the nearby Statue of Liberty as a
symbol of “the nation America aspires to be.” Archbishop Pierre told Cardinal
Tobin, “We are confident that in imitation of the Good Shepherd, your episcopal
ministry will be both hospitable and welcoming.”

nuncio read the apostolic mandate from Pope Francis to the College of
Consultors to authorize Cardinal Tobin as the new archbishop of Newark. The
letter noted that Cardinal Tobin carried out his episcopal responsibility to
his flock in Indianapolis for four years “with prudence, decision-making and
much learning.” It also commended him to the protection of St. Patrick and St. Elizabeth,
patrons of the archdiocese.

the unfurled scroll with the mandate raised high in front of him, Cardinal
Tobin walked down the main aisle and was greeted with sustained applause.


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