Cardinal Tobin: Refusing to deal with complexity in the church is a form of heresy

By Michael J. O'Loughlin, 20 January 2022
Cardinal Joseph W Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. Image: Archdiocese of Newark/Facebook.


Critics who dismiss an ongoing Vatican effort to consult Catholics around the world, part of the Pope’s efforts to reinvigorate church life, fail to understand how Francis is trying to reshape the church, one of his cardinal advisors said in a speech on Tuesday.

“Synodality is a way of being church, based on the idea, the ideal, that all the baptized are walking together with a shared attention to the Holy Spirit,” Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, said in a keynote address to the Cathedral Ministry Conferencewhich is taking place this week in Chicago.

In recent days, some critics of the upcoming synod, which has received relatively little attention in the United States, complained on social media that some keywords associated with the synod planning process shared in a tweet from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops seemed too corporate or jargony. At least one bishop weighed in, posting on his Twitter account, “If the synod process is to bear fruit, it has to focus on the person of Jesus Christ, Gospel values and a spiritual vision; and eliminate complex structures, mind-boggling instructions, and secular, corporate language.”

“I thought, how interesting that at this level of the Church, people are recognizing that there are no pat solutions for the challenges the church faces today,” Cardinal Tobin said, “and that the synod is not simply there to rubber stamp something, but to [ask], what is God saying to the churches today?”


To continue reading Michael J. O’Loughlin’s article, click here.

Michael J. O’Loughlin is the national correspondent for America and host of the America podcast “Plague: Untold Stories of AIDS and the Catholic Church.”

With thanks to Michael J. O’Loughlin and America magazine, where this article originally appeared.


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