Pope Francis March 4 named Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin as a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, making him the second American now serving on the group tasked with advising the pontiff on which Catholic priests to appoint as bishops across the world.
Tobin effectively replaces retired Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, whose appointment to the congregation ended in November on Wuerl’s 80th birthday. Tobin now joins Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, who Francis appointed to the group in 2016.
The congregation, which traces its origins to the 16th century, is responsible for helping the pope review and then select possible candidates for the Catholic episcopate.
Its members are expected to come to Rome at least several times throughout the year, and are usually most influential in helping the pope determine who to appoint as bishops in their home countries.