NCR has John Allen’s interview with the newest bureaucrat in the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Much is being made of the anger and resistance to Cardinal Rodé’s investigation. I can’t believe that Father Joseph Tobin is a response to all this, intending to tamp down the heat generated by American women religious.
Fr Tobin on making the best of it:
There’s a great deal of misunderstanding among American religious about the decisions of the Holy See, and in particular the visitation of women religious.
I’m not sure I’d characterize “misunderstanding” as the operative characteristic. I’d say “mistrust” is a lot closer. And women religious have a lot of company in the rest of the laity. On the other hand, the Redemptorist priest has a positive suggestion:
Maybe I can offer a different picture of American women religious than the one that sometimes has been presented in Rome. My own impression is extremely positive.
I suppose this concession means something. The LCWR thinks highly of him:
Fr. Joe Tobin is held in high regard by U.S. men and women religious. He brings a breadth of knowledge of matters impacting religious life and has a wide range of experience and expertise. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious looks forward to working with him in his new position.
Which might disqualify him in the eyes of the more radical Right. But it seems to be a good start. Maybe next time Rome will find itself able to promote a woman to CICLSAL secretary. That might be one positive thing to come from the Apostolic Visitation.