Was it my bad luck that Joe Tobin had retired as Redemptorist Superior General?

Archbishop Joe Tobin of Inianapolis is the former Superior General of the Redemptorists. This extract is taken from a National Catholic Reporter account of a talk he gave recently in the U.S. I find his comments on ‘heresy’ and the importance of dialogue very interesting. I wonder would he have handled my situation differently if it had occured during his period as Redemptorist Superior General. I suspect he would.

In response to one question, Tobin even said some U.S. bishops are finding Pope Francis’ leadership style difficult to understand.

“What I’ve seen is how disruptive Pope Francis has been within the hierarchy of the United States,” said Tobin. “I was talking to a couple of brother bishops a while back and they were saying that bishops and priests were very discouraged by Pope Francis because he was challenging them.”

“I think there was a particular image, perhaps, of what it means to be a pastoral leader in this country, and Francis is disturbing it,” he continued. “I think there is some resistance to a different way of doing the Gospel mission of the church.”

The archbishop paused before continuing with a smile: “So, pray for Francis’ health.”

Tobin also responded frankly to a question about how to improve dialogue between members of religious orders and bishops.

The first step, he said, is to understand that bishops and religious orders think about the church differently, with bishops sometimes focusing on more local concerns in their dioceses and religious orders — which span across dioceses — focusing on universal issues.

The “precondition” for dialog between the two, said Tobin, is “to at least admit that we think about the church differently and are not ready.”

“Someone once said that heresy is always a reluctance to deal with complexity,” he continued. “And I think the risks of some of the ideology in the church today is simply that — it’s a reluctance to deal with complexity.”

“Dialogue happens when a bishop and consecrated people realize: ‘Yeah, we think differently, and let’s talk about it,'” he said.

If the Vatican had been open to that type of attitude I would now be working at the Esker Novena, which is on its third day!!!!