(Crux) Pope Francis on Sunday engineered what may prove to be a seismic shift in the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, elevating not one or two, but a full three new American cardinals seen as belonging to the centrist, non-cultural warrior wing of the country’s hierarchy.
The pontiff announced a consistory, the event in which new members are inducted into the Church’s most exclusive club, for Nov. 19, coinciding with the end of his special jubilee Holy Year of Mercy.
The list includes 13 new cardinal-electors, meaning those under 80 and eligible to vote for the next pope, and features three Americans after Francis bypassed the U.S. in both 2014 and 2015.
The three Americans are Archbishops Blase Cupich of Chicago and Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, as well as Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas, recently chosen by Francis to head his new “dicastery,” meaning a Vatican department, on Family, Laity and Life.
While none of these three figures would be seen as “liberal” by secular standards, they are perceived as belonging to the more progressive camp in the Catholic hierarchy.
Of the three, Cupich and Farrell were quasi-expected, although one never knows with the unpredictable Francis. Chicago is an archdiocese that’s long been held by a cardinal, and Farrell’s new Vatican post seemed to beckon a cardinal at the top.
Tobin, however, is more of a surprise. Indianapolis is not a traditional “red-hat” see, meaning a diocese typically led by a cardinal, and his name had not featured prominently in much of the speculation leading up to the consistory announcement. [More]