Pope Francis has named Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis as a member of the congregation of the Roman Curia that oversees vowed religious life.
“Together with the other cardinals and archbishops named to the congregation, I will try to advise the Holy Father and the cardinal prefect of the congregation on questions regarding religious life around the world,” Archbishop Tobin told The Criterion, the Indianapolis archdiocese’s newspaper.
On March 29 the Pope named the archbishop as a member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Archbishop Tobin will join other cardinals and archbishops on the dicastery; he is the only American named as a new member, though Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago were reappointed to five-year terms with the congregation.
Archbishop Tobin said he was “quite surprised” by the appointment, adding he was “grateful for the confidence of the Holy Father” and “pleased to honor his request.”
A Redemptorist who was superior general of his order from 1997 to 2009, he had become secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life 2010, and left that position when he was appointed Archbishop of Indianapolis in 2012.
Pope Francis also named the heads of several religious orders to the congregation for religious life, including the Master of the Dominicans, Fr. Bruno Cadore; the Capuchin Franciscans’ Minister General Fr. Mauro Johri; and the Comboni Missionaries’ Superior General, Fr. Enrique Sánchez González. He reappointed the Jesuit superior general, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, to the congregation.
The dicastery’s prefect is Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, and its secretary is Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo.
According to the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, in 2013 there were more than 720,000 religious sisters, 54,000 religious brothers and 135,000 religious order priests around the world.